American Whitewater would like to commend the Shoshone National Forest for expanding their roster of rivers protected as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation under their new Forest Plan. American Whitewater participated in their forest planning process and offered evidence and recommendations for several new eligible streams. All told over 82 miles of spectacular rivers receive new protections under the new plan.
Earlier today, Yosemite National Park released their Merced Wild and Scenic Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The new plan places paddling on equal footing with other activities in the Park, and we're very pleased to announce that the Park Service has improved and enhanced opportunities to enjoy Yosemite via kayak, canoe and raft.
Earlier this week we posted a quick article informing our community that American Whitewater would not pursue the Senate version of the River Paddling Protection Act, ending our exploration of a legislative solution to the management of paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. We’ve obviously gotten some questions about this decision and would like to offer a more robust explanation.
American Whitewater has decided not to pursue a Senate version of the River Paddling Protection Act, ending our exploration of a legislative solution to the management of paddling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Advocating for this legislation in the Senate with insufficient support would exhaust resources better spent on promising conservation projects, would damage valued relationships, and would be unlikely to produce a favorable outcome.
The River Paddling Protection Act, introduced by Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), passed the US House of Representatives on Thursday and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill grants the National Park Service three years to replace 60 year-old paddling prohibitions in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks with modern science-based management. Doing so would allow Americans to experience these iconic landscapes through non-commercial paddling in a low impact, sustainable, and carefully managed manner.
American Whitewater offered testimony on several so-called "low-impact hydro" measures before the Vermont House Committee on Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources. In reality, all hydropower has an impact on rivers, and even small hydropower projects can have significant adverse impacts. AW encouraged the Committee to require state agencies to seek out and consider input from stakeholder groups like American Whitewater before deciding whether to support projects.
A new version of the River Paddling Protection Act, HR 3492, was sent to the full House of Representatives yesterday when it passed in the House Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent. The bill will ultimately help thousands of Americans connect with the rivers flowing through Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in a healthy, low impact, and environmentally sustainable manner. We've included a list of Q&A's as a partial response to recent media articles.
Great News! Yesterday, Virginia's "Freedom to Float" bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill could now move to the full VA Senate for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week (1/28/14). It is more important than ever that every paddler that enjoys Virginia rivers contact state Senators.
Five days before Christmas, a Limited Liability Corporation initiated a lawsuit in South Carolina asking the court to declare a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River non-navigable. American Whitewater and the Foothills Paddling Club have filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the public's right to paddle this river and others.
We are pleased to announce the 2014 scheduled pulse flows on the Bear River's Black Canyon located in southeastern Idaho. Releases will vary from 900 to 1500 cfs based on inflows to the hydropower project, and offer outstanding Class IV and V paddling opportunities.
American Whitewater recently filed formal objections to proposed Forest Plans for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, and the Kootenai National Forest in Montana. The objections assert that the Forest Service ignored their own policies and the facts before them when they determined many spectacular whitewater rivers are not eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. If successful, we'll bring vital protection to many awesome whitewater streams in the Northern Rockies.
American Whitewater has consistently worked to restore flows to rivers in the Southeast that were previously de-watered by hydropower operations. In addition to vast opportunities for beginners and intermediates, we have helped create an incredible series of advanced paddling opportunities on the Tallulah, Cheoah, Nantahala, and West Fork of the Tuckasegee. Check out the awesome schedule for 2014!
American Whitewater and Vermont Paddling Club have filed a Motion to Intervene in hydropower relicensing application filed by Morrisville Water & Light for the Green River dam. We are asking FERC to require the utility to provide 8-10 annual releases on this scenic and challenging run in northern Vermont. While MWL has agreed to provide two scheduled annual releases, we are seeking additional boating opportunities through the relicensing process.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 9th for Wild Rivers Night! American Whitewater joins Northwest Rafting Company and our river conservation partners to bring you a fun evening of films, photos and presentations celebrating the wild rivers of Oregon. Doors open at 7 p.m....reserve your tickets today!
The BLM has recently announced a series of community listening sessions as part of the revisions for Resource Management Plans for Western Oregon. American Whitewater has engaged in this process and we will be advocating for river conservation and the value of whitewater recreation on BLM-managed lands. Some of the rivers include Umpqua, Alsea (and Drift Creek), Nehalem, Wilson, North Santiam, and Rogue. You can help by attending a meeting or contributing information to our database.
Last week the River Paddling Protection Act, HR 3492, was discussed in a hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee. This bill aims to lift a 60-year-old federal-level ban on paddling rivers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in favor of normal and flexible river management. Aaron Pruzan testified on behalf of conservation-oriented paddlers, and we are actively working to improve and pass this landmark legislation.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Protected Areas Program protects about 20% of rivers in the Pacific Northwest from future hydropower development. Hydropower developers are working to weaken the Protected Areas Program, and paddlers' voices can help maintain this important river protection program. The Council is receiving comment on the initial recommendations through Wednesday, November 20th.
Yesterday, Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the River Paddling Protection Act, H.R.3492 , in the US House of Representatives. The bill would eliminate federal prohibitions on paddling small human-powered boats like canoes and kayaks on rivers within Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. American Whitewater will spend the next few days and likely weeks reviewing the bill and discussing it with our regional partners who share a commitment to the preservation and sustainable enjoyment of these special places.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the availability of two new online stream gages in the Sullivan Creek watershed in northeastern Washington. These gages are brought to you by a partnership between American Whitewater and the Pend Oreille Public Utility District, and will offer paddlers, anglers, and other visitors to the area vital flow information.
Paddlers that run the New River Dries (WV) between now and July 31, 2014 are encouraged to fill out a flow study survey after each day on the water. Submitting surveys will add important data to the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Study and will greatly help American Whitewater and others negotiate improved flows for the New River Dries.
American Whitewater is asking all paddlers and river lovers to take 5 minutes to read our 2013 Winter Appeal (pdf) and consider making a donation to our river stewardship efforts. In this appeal, you can learn more about the hard work we will be doing in the coming year on behalf of river lovers everywhere.
Last week the Federal government cancelled a permit granting North Hydro, LLC exclusive rights to persue a hydropower development on Idaho's Boulder Creek. The hydro project would have largely dewatered 2 miles of Boulder Creek, an otherwise highly scenic and ecologically valuable whitewater stream. American Whitewater is pleased to have played a role in successfully defending Boulder Creek from this threat.
After more than three years of waiting the access to the Powerhouse run on the Snoqualmie River is now open for public use. While this is a short run of less than a mile, it is a popular and important section of river less than 30 miles from Seattle.
The first three weekends of November in the southeast are scheduled Tallulah releases, a stapel of dixi boating. Here are a couple quick reminders for Tallulah releases.
As the US Government shutdown drags into a second week many of our members have reached out to us for assistance on river access issues. Impacts include closure of access points to several rivers, a halt to work on river access improvements we are working on with federal partners, and no federal agency participation in important dialogues over river management. We are working to raise the profile of impacts to our community and you can help us by weighing in.
In August, a hunter's illegal campfire exploded into the massive Rim Fire in California, burning forestlands throughout the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and private lands. Earlier this month, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on HR 3188, also known as the Yosemite Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act, which would expedite "salvage" logging in the national forest and Yosemite National Park. American Whitewater joined our with partners through Outdoor Alliance to weigh in on the issue.
Earlier this week the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Forterra announced the purchase of 50,272 acres along the Teanaway River and its three forks to be designated as the Teanaway Community Forest. Of importance to the whitewater paddling community, this acquisition will protect riverside lands, maintain water in the river, and keep the river open and accessible to the public.
American Whitewater, with the help of Merrimack Valley Paddlers and local boaters, has completed its effort to acquire, protect and donate property along the Contoocook River. AW has long been involved with the Contoocook and was active in the sucessful effort in 2004 that resulted in the removal of a dam that extended the whitewater section of the river near the takeout. The recent acquisition of land at the put-in will assure that paddlers will continue to have access to the Class III/IV section of the river which is a popular run in southern New Hampsire for paddlers throughout New England.
Releases into Piru Creek below Santa Felicia Dam in California have been cancelled this year due to low rainfall last winter. Unfortunately, this year Piru Reservoir did not fill, and is currently 70 feet below normal levels. As a result, United Water Conservation District will not be providing access to the creek this fall.
Eighteen months ago whitewater paddlers raised over $20,000 for off-road parking in Friendsville, Maryland. This small riverside town sees a large influx of paddlers running the Upper Youghiogheny on summer weekends. Work continues despite unexpected challenges that have greatly increased costs, but the town remains committed to the project. Click through to get the latest details:
Today, American Whitewater submitted recommendations for amendments to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program. The Program has significant influence over rivers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, and American Whitewater encouraged the Council to strengthen areas that are protected from future hydropower development.
While paddling the Elwha River is a fascinating way to experience restoration and recovery of a free-flowing river in action, it's not the only way to get a first-hand look at one of the nation's most ambitious and fascinating restoration projects.
With more than 2,500 miles of roads, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has an extensive road system that supports a variety of public needs, from recreation to resource extraction. Current budget resources are insufficient to support maintenance needs for this road network. American Whitewater is encouraging paddlers to participate in the public process to develop a vision for the future of the roads on this Forest.
Do you enjoy boating on the Nooksack River? If you do, please tell us about your experience. American Whitewater is working with several partners through the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program to develop an updated recreation plan for the upper Nooksack River basin. Your input will help us guide development of this plan.
In an effort to better understand the recreational impacts of the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project that would dam the Susitna River upstream of Devil's Canyon, a recreational survey is underway for those who have experienced this stretch of river. We encourage our members who know this river to take the survey.
The first of a series of flow study dates have been rescheduled for 28 and 29, 2013 due to excessive flows predicted this week. The study aims to assess the recreational flow needs for whitewater paddling on the New River Dries in West Virginia. This flow study was requested by American Whitewater and other stakeholders, as part of the relicensing of the Hawks Nest Hydroelectric Project. Paddlers with suitable skills are encouraged to sign up to participate.
Earlier this week a massive piece of industrial equipment was shipped through the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River Corridor, against the wishes of the US Forest Service, the Nez Perce Tribe, and river advocates. As the shipment moved towards the Wild and Scenic River corridor though, the US Forest Service failed to take any actions to stop its progress. The result was high profile protests, and now a lawsuit against the Forest Service for failing to act.
The University of Connecticut announced selection of Connecticut Water Co. as the preferred option to provide additional water needed for the Storrs campus. This option had been opposed by river watershed organizations at the local, regional, and national levels including American Whitewater. The Farmington River, including the Tariffville Gorge section, site of the annual New England “Triple Crown,” is an important paddling river.
Legislative momentum continues to build for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (S. 112, H. R. 361). Following passage of the bill by unanimous consent in the Senate, the House formally took up the legislation with a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.
The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board issued an order directing the Department of Ecology to do an aesthetic flow study if Okanogan PUD decides to build its economically troubled Enloe Dam project on the Similkameen River in Washington State. Of significance to the paddling community, the Order recognizes the critical importance of considering impacts to aesthetics and recreation in decisions that impact water quality.
Recent high flows have moved wood and even boulders around in the West Fork of the Tuckasegee, requiring extra caution during this weekend's recreational release. A previously cancelled release has been rescheduled for August 11, making a two-day weekend of releases.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is hosting a public meeting to discuss a new management plan for the Green River Gamelands on the evening of August 1, 2013. The new plan will inform how the Green River is protected and managed for at least the next decade. The meeting announcement specifically welcomes kayakers and other recreationists to attend the meeting and offer their opinions.
AW has filed comments with FERC in response to proposed study plans for the Connecticut River filed by FirstLight and TransCanada. Based on testimony and comments filed by AW, New England FLOW, AMC and other groups, FERC directed FirstLight and TransCanada to study the potential for whitewater boating at Turners Falls, Bellows Falls, and Sumner Falls along the Connecticut River. AW recently filed comments asking FERC to address certain deficiencies in the proposed studies so that the licensees can more completely assess the potential for whitewater boating and through paddling along the Connecticut River.
Today, numerous partners joined American Whitewater in filing comments in opposition to Snohomish PUD No. 1's proposed hydroelectric project on the South Fork Skykomish river at Sunset Falls in Washington. Our comments highlight the significant impacts the project would have to fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity, recreation and scenic values, and call out the questionable economics of the project.
The Town of Henniker Board of Selectmen voted to accept the donation of a 10-acre parcel of land on the Contoocook River in New Hampshire. The parcel, which is used by paddlers to access the Class III/IV section of the river, is being purchased by AW in order to permanently protect access to this section of the river.
A new economic study of the controversial Sunset Falls Dam on Washington’s South Fork of the Skykomish River, reveals the power generated at the proposed site would cost 2.3 times more than the Snohomish County Public Utility District (SnoPUD) estimates.
David Hill has represented paddlers interests and helped drive the City of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio effort to decommission two dams located in the Upper Gorge of the Cuyahoga River. In recognition of David's efforts to decommission these two dams he will be receiving a Kokatat WoolCore shirt!
The town of Friendsville will welcome paddlers to Maryland’s Upper Yough this Fourth of July Weekend. If water levels cooperate this will be a busy day on the river. For Friendsville, MD (population 491) the influx of hundreds of whitewater paddlers is not without its problems. Plan to minimize your impact on the town by driving safely, being discrete while changing clothes, and by being careful when carrying boats along busy Maple Avenue. Remember that the town requests that paddlers not park along Water Street or Morris Avenue (the two riverside streets) unless you are patronizing local businesses. It’s not strictly illegal, but it’s the kind of neighborly consideration that country people expect.! Those invited by local residents on these streets to take out on their property should park completely off the street. American Whitewater maintains the put-in at Sang Run; our suggested donation, $2 per visit or $20 for the season, remains unchanged. For an update on the planned boater parking lot, click the link below.
Earlier today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) cancelled the permit that had granted a limited liability corporation exclusive rights to study and pursue de-watering Boundary Creek, located in Northern Idaho. The proposed hydropower project would have severely impacted over 6 miles of the pristine and biologically vital stream in the wild Selkirk Mountains.
American Whitewater and Merrimack Valley Paddlers have reached an agreement to purchase a 10-acre parcel fronting on Contoocook River in Henniker, NH. The land serves as an important launch point for whitewater paddlers enjoying the popular section of the river that runs from Hillsborough to Henniker. This section of the Contoocook River contains rapids ranging in difficulty from Class II to Class IV.
American Whitewater releases the 2012 Annual Report. Your membership support allows American Whitewater’s river stewardship staff to work on important projects in their respective regions. Our team consists of professional staff supported by board members and volunteers from communities across the country.
The company that has been seeking permits to build three new hydropower projects in Montana announced today that they are abandoning their proposals - for now. This is a great relief for the many Montanans that care about the incredible paddling, fishing, and scenery of East Rosebud Creek, West Rosebud Creek, and the Madison River.
Only twice each year, American Whitewater appeals for financial support for our river stewardship work. To this end, we've put together the 2013 American Whitewater Summer Appeal (pdf). It details just how our supporter's money is spent and features a national listing of some of the major projects we're currently involved with. We sincerely hope you'll take the time to peruse this document and consider donating or joining/renewing with American Whitewater.
Earlier this month, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks released their draft plan for managing several new Wild and Scenic Rivers. They dismissed any consideration of allowing paddling on the rivers except where it is currently allowed. If you would like to be able to take a canoe, kayak, or pack raft trip down these Wild and Scenic rivers, please consider attending one of two public meetings June 4 and 5, 2013, or submit written comments.
On Tuesday, June 11th, California's State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will hold two public meetings about whether to permanently cancel summer flushing/whitewater flows through Northern California's Pit River Canyon. The Pit 1 reach is a valued whitewater resource, and it's important that boaters weigh in on the process, either by turning out to a meeting or submitting written comments!
Earlier this month American Whitewater filed comments on the "assessment phase" of the forest planning process for the two National Forests in Western North Carolina. We offered information on rivers that are regulated by hydropower dams, as well as advocating for protection of the region's remaining wild and free-flowing rivers.
In late 2012, PG&E directly challenged the authority of California’s water quality agency–the State Water Resources Control Board–to protect the beneficial uses of rivers impacted by hydropower projects. On Tuesday, May 7, American Whitewater and our partners testified at a hearing before the SWRCB, standing up for the agency’s authority to protect the public interest and respond to changing conditions in the future.
The long awaited first releases on the Missisquoi River in Sheldon Springs, Vermont, were cancelled due to a lack of rain in the northeast. The releases were scheduled for the first 6 weekend days in May, but we were forced to cancel the first three weekends while we wait for the rivers to rise. So put on your booties and do your best rain dance so we can enjoy this big water Class IV run in the bypass reach of the Sheldon Springs Dam.
This May and June join Paddle to the Sea – the Tuolumne River Trust’s popular paddle-a-thon where hundreds of river lovers and boating enthusiasts raft, canoe and kayak from the Sierra to San Francisco Bay. There is adventurous whitewater and mellow flat-water; fun one-day trips, or going the distance. Boaters of all skills and ages are encouraged to join.
Last week a federal judge ruled in favor of the US Forest Service in the case regarding the management of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The decision upholds the current USFS policy of allowing paddling December through April, above 350cfs, on 15 miles of the 21-mile-long upper Chattooga. While the legal decision is a disappointment, this new management plan is clearly a victory for the paddling community, and is the direct result of over 15 years of advocacy that included an active legal strategy.
May 4th (CheatFest Weekend) is the first scheduled Saturday release on Maryland’s Upper Yough! If water levels cooperate this will be a busy day on the river. For Friendsville, MD (population 491) the influx of hundreds of whitewater paddlers can cause problems. Minimize your impact on the town by driving safely, being discrete while changing clothes, and by being careful when carrying boats along busy Maple Avenue. Remember that there is no parking along Water Street or Morris Avenue (the two riverside streets) unless you are patronizing local businesses. Those invited by local residents to take out on their property should park completely off the street. American Whitewater takes care of the put-in at Sang Run; our suggested donation, $2 per visit or $20 for the season, remains unchanged. For an update on the planned boater parking lot, click the link below.
To date, Yosemite National Park has conducted an extensive amount of public outreach on the Draft Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan. Today the Park announced that they are extending the deadline for the public to submit comments to Tuesday, April 30th. American Whitewater submitted comments today, and you can read them here!
Scheduled releases occur the first two weekends in April and the first three weekends in November. Check out this article for the most up to date information on how to enjoy the river.
On Thursday, April 4th, the Department of Interior recommended removing four dams on the Klamath River, listing the action as the Preferred Alternative for a long-term solution to address native fishery and water resource issues in the Klamath Basin. The recommendation was set forth in the Department's Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which provides a comprehensive review of whether partially or fulling removing four dams owned and operated by PacifCorp will help to restore salmon runs to the Klamath River.
Thanks to everyone who submitted comments for the Tuolumne River Plan last month! Now is your chance to weigh in on how the Wild and Scenic Merced River in Yosemite National Park will be managed in the future–comments are due April 18th. With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening this stunning and amazing river to the public!
On Thursday, March 28th, the Nevada Assembly Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on AB 396, which is a bill that will ensure access for recreation on Nevada's lakes and streams. Strong access laws are especially important if you enjoy spending time on rivers, and paddler's voices are important in this process for Nevada. You can participate a number of ways…
Yesterday, Federal approval was granted for the removal of Millpond Dam on Northeast Washington’s Sullivan Creek. Millpond Dam has blocked Sullivan Creek since 1909, and removal should be completed within the next 5 years. In addition, streamflows will be improved for paddlers and fish from nearby Sullivan Lake Dam. American Whitewater has played an active role in the collaborative effort leading to this dam removal and other improvements since it began in 2008.
Efforts to roll back the boundary of California's Wild and Scenic Merced River are picking up again. H.R. 934 was recently introduced in the House, and if passed it would open the door for Merced Irrigation District to increase the height of the spillway at New Exchequer Dam by 10 feet and expand McClure Reservoir. Not only would this drown a segment of an outstanding river, but it would be the first time in the 45 year history of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that a designated reach would be shortened in the name of development.
Tallulah releases for spring 2013 are going to be held on April 6, 7 and 13, 14. Releases begin at 9:30 am and all boaters must start down the stairs by 3:00 pm to beat the flow down to the lake. Releases on Saturday are 500 cfs and Sunday releases are 700 cfs.
In a bipartisan effort last month, the Senate introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 (S.338). The Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported many projects that provide access and protect important rivers, including the White Salmon (WA), New and Gauley (WV), Illinois (OR) and Snake (ID). If passed, the bill will reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support similar projects into the future.
In response to calls by American Whitewater, New England FLOW and the Appalachian Mountain Club, FERC today ordered FirstLight and TransCanada to study the potential for whitewater boating on the Connecticut River at Turner's Falls and Bellows Falls. The companies are seeking to relicense their projects at the Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon dams in New Hampshire and Vermont, and at the Northfield Pumping Station and Turner’s Falls Dam in Massachusetts.
The U.S. Army Corps Engineers' Philadelphia District will host a meeting to announce the 2013 Francis E. Walter Dam recreation program on March 7 in White Haven, PA. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Mountain Laurel Resort off of Pennsylvania Route 940. The Water goes through the Class II-III Lehigh River Gorge, one of the most popular intermediate runsin the Mid-States. Paddlers in the area should support these releases by attending the meeting.For more information, visit the USACE Philadelphia District web site or the Francis E. Walter Dam Facebook page.
American Whitewater and the Vermont Paddlers Club today filed comments with FERC calling on Morrisville Power & Light (MWL) to schedule releases on the Green River in Vermont. In their comments filed today with FERC, AW & VPC called on the MWL to provide five weekend 2-day releases from the dam in order to provide additional paddling opportunities.
Federal regulators have recently approved study plans for the proposed Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project that would impact Ernie's Gorge on the North Fork Snoqualmie River. As an initial step in the study process, all paddlers who run this reach in 2013 should report their runs and fill out the survey.
Earlier today, Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) re-introduced a set of wilderness bill including the Oregon Treasures Act, legislation that would protect the Chetco River, Molalla River, Rogue River, and Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock sections along the John Day River.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2013 schedule of releases for the typically de-watered West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, located near Glenville, North Carolina. These releases are the direct result of negotiations between American Whitewater, our affiliate clubs, Duke Energy and other regional stakeholders.
American Whitewater is reaching out to our membership to encourage participation in a study of boating conditions and recreation safety conducted by consultants working with the Yakama Nation Fisheries program. The study reaches include Nason Creek, Twisp River, and Chewuch River. The overall purpose of the study is to identify known and anticipated river users and evaluate riverine hazards as habitat restoration projects are planned and implemented.
Yosemite National Park is currently seeking the public's input on how the Wild and Scenic Merced and Tuolumne Rivers will be managed in the future, including the question of whether to open them up to paddling. While we're pleased to see the park is considering lifing the ban in some areas, the preferred alternative for both rivers keeps the long-standing prohibition on paddling in place for the Tuolumne and on sections of the Merced. With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening these stunning and amazing rivers to the public!
Yesterday a landmark stream recreation bill for the commonwealth of Virginia was reported out of subcommittee and will now go to the full Senate for a vote. The vote could come as early as next week, and supportive paddlers are encouraged to call their Senators as soon as possible. This is the closest the public has come to gaining clarity on our rights to float down Virginia's rivers in a very long time.
American Whitewater, along with New England FLOW and the Appalacian Mountain Club, filed comments and provided testimony this week at FERC scoping meetings held in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to discuss the five dam relicensing proposals filed by TransCanada and FirstLight for hydroelectric projects on the Connecticut River.
The Bureau of Reclamation seeks to raise the height of the dam by 18.5 feet, further inundating the McCloud and Upper Sacramento Rivers at great cost to California taxpayers. American Whitewater submitted comments today opposing the proposal because of the negative impacts to recreation and riparian habitat. Comments are being accepted through Monday, January 28th, and we encourage you to weigh in!
Western Maryland is home to the Marcellus Shale formation, now infamous for burgeoning natural gas production accomplished by a controversial technique known as hydaulic fracturing or "fracking." Currently no permits for fracking have been issued in Maryland, and state legislators will soon be introducing an official legislative moratorium that will restrict permit issuance of permits until up to 14 studies are funded and completed.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA8) have reintroduced their Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions and Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 361/S. 112) along with cosponsors Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA1). This legislation will help ensure the future of some of Washington’s most popular backcountry recreation areas by designating more than 22,000 acres of wilderness adjacent to the existing Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and protecting nearly 30 miles of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and 10 miles of the Pratt River as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
American Whitewater has filed comments opposing the further diversion of water from the Farmington river in Connecticut by the Metropolitan District Commission. The Commission is proposing to divert up to 5 million gpd in order to supply the water needs of the University of Connecticut. The proposed diversion would reduce river flows and potentially affect paddling opportunities at Tarrifville, a valuable whitewater resource.
On January 15th, American Whitewater submitted comments in support of clean-up activities at two inactive mines near Battle Axe and Opal Creeks in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. The mines operated until the late 1980's, and are located 2 miles east of Jaw Bone Flats in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area. Waste rock and soil from the mines has the potential to contaminate nearby rivers and streams through leaching and mass wasting events. American Whitewater provided comment to support clean up activities so long as they are protective of all uses, including whitewater boating.
The Wall Street Journal published a story today outlining the debate over the possible de-designation of the Wild and Scenic Merced River. We believe that this type of coverage will help highlight the threat to the Merced and Wild and Scenic rivers everywhere.
The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 2.5 million acres in western Oregon. Currently the BLM is updating their management plan for these lands and the associated rivers. As part of this process they are evaluating rivers for their eligibility as wild and scenic rivers. We are encouraging the paddling community to participate in this process by participating in a public survey that is currently underway. The survey affords paddlers an opportunity to identify and express the recreation and other values the rivers under analysis have.
The lack of clarity regarding the rights of residents and visitors to paddle Virginia's certain rivers and streams has long been an unnecessary source of conflict. Virginians are now ready to change that by clarifying that in Virginia people have the widely supported right to float down rivers. Thanks to this grassroots effort, a new stream access bill has recently been introduced in the state legislature that needs your support.
On December 19th I represented American Whitewater at the annual meeting of their Whitewater Advisory Committee for Summersville Dam . The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the project, has worked closely with whitewater interests for many years. Their management plan takes into account both lake and downstream recreation (and their associated businesses) as well as lake and downstream fisheries, power generation, flow augmentation, and other matters. This year's realeases were very successful, and we're looking for another great season in 2013. For information on river gauge changes, fisheries management, and other matters please click the link below:
AW is pleased to announce that Bob Nasdor has accepted our offer to become American Whitewater’s Northeast Stewardship Director. Bob is based out of Massachusetts and has been an avid paddler of the rivers of the Northeast for the past 10 years. Bob brings a wealth of experience to the position from his 20-year career as a public interest attorney.
On December 6th, American Whitewater filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Black Canyon Hydro's proposed hydroelectric project on Washington's North Fork Snoqualmie River. FERC is currently in the process of considering study requests required for the project.
Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the key causes of degraded water quality on rivers throughout the country, and this fall, American Whitewater joined with other conservation and recreation groups to defend the Clean Water Act in the Supreme Court. We filed a "Friend of the Court" brief in support of NRDC and Santa Monica Baykeeper's efforts to ensure that municipalities clean up polluted stormwater. The case focuses on the L.A. and San Gabriel Rivers, and has implications for rivers that flow through towns and cities across the country.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently announced the commencement of relicensing proceedings for the Tomahawk and Grandfather Falls Hydroelectric Projects in Wisconsin. We are pleased to report that FERC has identified whitewater recreation as one of the issues requiring study and analysis and has proposed a whitewater flow study. Paddlers have the opportunity to attend next week's public meeting and file written comments.
Yesterday a hearing was held in US District Court in South Carolina regarding the Forest Service's illegal bans and severe limits on paddling 21 miles of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River. The Judge ruled in favor of conservation-oriented paddlers and charted a schedule to resolve the case early next year.
Charity Navigator has recognized our diligence in adhering to strict financial accountability for the third straight year (something that only happens to the top 9% of non profits they rate). It is an honor to receive this top rating three years in a row for our philanthropic efforts in river conservation. At American Whitewater, we strive to maintain the high standards set forth by Charity Navigator and work hard to earn the trust and respect of our members.
American Whitewater helped launch a new website today to celebrate Montana's rivers. The blog-style site asks people to share a special story that took place on a Montana river. AW hopes paddlers enjoy the great photos and stories, and take a few minutes to share some of their own. You might just win some great stuff too...
The first season of legal paddling on portions of the Wild and Scenic upper Chattooga River since 1976 is nearly upon us. The Forest Service will begin allowing paddling on December 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013, under various restrictions. This article will help you jump through all the hoops and enjoy the river!
On Friday, American Whitewater formally requested several studies as part of the relicensing of the Hawks Nest Dam, which significantly de-waters the New River Dries in West Virginia. In addition to our study requests, we offered evidence of the hydropower project's significant effects on whitewater recreation.
Earlier this week, Free Flow Power willingly surrendered permits that had granted them exporation and development rights associated with two proposed new dams on New York's Black River. These dams, if built, would have inundated 4.8 miles of the Black River that is currently free flowing. The surrender of these permits is good news for the Black River.
More than two decades after we first investigated the recreational potential of a restored White Salmon River, and a year after a blast of dynamite punched a hole in the base of Condit Dam, the river is now navigable from the headwaters all the way down to the Columbia River! The White Salmon Narrows is a technically challenging new stretch of whitewater that is officially open to paddlers with the skill set to enjoy it safely. Paddlers running this section of river should be solid Class IV boaters who are comfortable running unfamiliar sections of river.