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AW's Stewardship Program

River Stewardship is an integrated approach to the mission and program work of American Whitewater. Our stewardship program is made possible through on-going membership support.

  • Stewardship is an umbrella that covers the major project areas of AW.
  • Stewardship is the process for an integrated approach to AW mission work.
  • Stewardship includes an educational approach and tools for turning recreational users into conservation advocates.
  • Stewardship builds partnerships with land management agencies.
  • Stewardship enhances the public perception of boaters.

AW's stewardship program is managed by a National Stewardship Director who coordinates efforts between regional coordinators, volunteers, board members, and other staff members including our regional directors in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, California and the Northeast. Our Stewardship Team is in place to lead, train and support community-based activism representing the interests of boaters and the rivers we care for.

Our River Stewardship Team remains focused on our mission, “To conserve and restore America’s whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.” Staying true to our mission, we will continue to integrate our most valuable asset, AW member volunteers, into the issues at hand.


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Stewardship News

Dam Owner Offers No Releases on New River Dries

posted August 4, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Yesterday, the power company that de-waters the New River Dries with the Hawks Nest Dam proposed zero dam releases to mitigate their impacts on whitewater recreation and naturally variable flow patterns.  American Whitewater will be offering a balanced response to this extreme proposal that outlines the value and potential for restoring significant recreational and ecological values to the New River.  

Protecting Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands

posted August 3, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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The remote and wild landscape of the Owhyee Canyonlands of Southeastern Oregon is complete with deep red-rock canyons, wild rivers and plenty of opportunities for backcountry recreation. The region is also a stronghold to over 200 species, and has fascinating geology, unique ecology and deep history. American Whitewater is part of a coalition working to permanently protect 2.5 million acres of the Owhyee, and you can learn more about the region, our proposal to protect it and ways to support our efforts here! 
 

Hydropower Legislation Update & Action Alert!

posted July 24, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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Hydropower legislation is on the move in Congress and paddler’s voices are needed to protect our rivers. On July 22nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a comprehensive energy package, and the hydropower provisions hold many of the same dangerous outcomes for our rivers as the legislation we’ve been tracking in recent months. The bill opens the door for developers to dam and divert our nation’s remaining free-flowing rivers, and gives preference to hydropower operations over fish, wildlife and recreation values. Two markups are slated for the week of July 27th.
 

Hydropower Industry Continues to Push Legislation Threatening Your Whitewater

posted July 17, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The hydropower industry is pushing legislation that threatens your whitewater. We encourage paddlers to share their personal experience enjoying rivers where hydropower projects provide recreational flows. We oppose any bill that would undermine the public's ability to balance hydropower interests with non-power values like recreation, fish and wildlife.

Virginia Announces New Bridge Access Program

posted July 14, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Late last week, the Commonwealth of Virginia took a great step forward in enhancing public access to rivers and streams. Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a memorandum of understanding that directs three state agencies to work together to identify new potential public-access projects, particularly at bridge crossings and roads. American Whitewater applauds the efforts of Governor McAuliffe to keep Virginia residents and visitors alike connected to the Commonwealth's outstanding rivers and streams.

Take Action! Protect Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)

posted July 14, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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The BLM is considering whether to halt new mining activities for 5 years on roughly 100,000 acres in the Kalmiopsis region of Southwestern Oregon. This action, known as a "mineral withdrawal," would protect wild rivers like Baldface Creek, the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith, Rough and Creek and the Wild and Scenic Illinois from the threats of nickel strip mines. These rivers are not only whitewater gems, but also provide clean drinking water to downstream communities, are strongholds for salmon, and support the local economy. Paddler's voices from across the country are needed to support this effort.
 

Molalla State Scenic Waterway Public Meeting And Comment Opportunity (OR)

posted July 9, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Molalla River that includes the Three Bears run as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.

Chetco State Scenic Waterway Public Meeting and Comment Opportunity (OR)

posted July 9, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Last fall the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) solicited input on the designation of a segment of the Chetco River that includes the Chetco Gorge as a State Scenic Waterway. American Whitewater is actively supporting this designation. We encourage the paddling community to attend the meeting and file comments.

2015 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign Grant Deadline Extended

posted July 2, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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American Whitewater is extending the grant application deadline for the Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign to August 1st. Back by popular demand, this program is great way to help your club fund activities that enhance and promote river stewardship and safety. Funding for this program is provided by the Clif Bar partnership with American Whitewater. AW affiliate clubs have the opportunity to apply for one of two $1,250 grants. 

Submit Photos for the 2016 AW Calendar This Month!

posted July 1, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2016 Calendar now through August 1, 2015.  Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots.  Thanks to all of our contributors!

Savage River Releases Coming Up

posted June 22, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Two Savage River recreational whitewater releases are sponsored by the Adventuresport Program at Garrett College in McHenry, MD this year: Sunday, July 5 and Saturday, September 26Permission to use the take-out over VERSO property for future events depends on paddlers utilizing the shuttle, so please participate in this great service.  Come visit the Savage and find out what the excitement is about!

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

posted June 2, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy. 

Annual Deerfield Riverfest Planned for July 11th

posted May 29, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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The 21st Deerfield Riverfest will be held on July 11th in Charlemont (MA). The annual event celebrates whitewater boating on the Deerfield River that resulted from the historic settlement agreement signed by AW, FLOW, AMC and others which provides 106 whitewater release days on the Fife Brook section and 32 releases on the Dryway section of the Deerfield River. The festival is AW's biggest fundraiser in the northeast and supports our stewardship work in the region. See you at the Fest!

Support The New Clean Water Rule Today!

posted May 27, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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Today, the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released the new Clean Water Rule. The rule will continue longstanding water quality protections for our nation’s rivers, headwater streams and wetlands. American Whitewater supports the rule, and asks paddlers to take action to support the rule today! 

Cedar River Corridor Plan: Opportunity for Public Input (WA)

posted May 18, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Please save the date of Monday, June 15th, from 5:30-8:00 PM for a Cedar River Recreation Workshop. King County is developing the Cedar River Corridor Plan to address multiple objectives related to floodplain management and salmon recovery including consideration of impacts and opportunities for recreation in the corridor. Input from paddlers is important.

Take Action: Hydropower Industry Legislation Hearing May 13th

posted May 8, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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On Wednesday, May 13th the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about the draft "Hydropower Regulatory Modernization" Act, which proposes to gut important environmental and public interest protections in the Federal Power Act. These are the very tools that American Whitewater and our partners have used to put water back in rivers across the country that were once completely devastated by the impacts of hydropower. If passed, all of the whitewater and access gains we've made over the last 25+ years could easily become a thing of the past. We encourage everyone to contact their Representatives and make their voices heard.  

Flathead National Forest River Protections Open for Comment (MT)

posted May 8, 2015
by Kevin Colburn
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The Flathead National Forest has released the list of streams they propose to protect as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation in their forthcoming revised Forest Plan.  Paddlers with opinions on the list are encouraged to send the Forest an email or letter before the May 15, 2015 comment deadline. Your comment could help protect spectacular rivers and streams.  

Nooksack Recreation Plan Completed (WA)

posted May 4, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Following a two and a half year process, the  Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan, has been finalized. This new, comprehensive plan will help guide the management of recreation and natural resources along the upper Nooksack River system in Washington state. The plan recognizes and supports the economic and health benefits of recreation, along with protection and restoration of the natural and cultural values of the upper river basin.

Merced in Yosemite–Officially Open at Last!!

posted April 27, 2015
by Megan Hooker
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On Friday, April 24, 2015, the Merced River in Yosemite National Park was officially reopened to paddlers! Even though the new Wild and Scenic River Plan was finalized a year ago, the actual rules and regulations for the Park were finally updated on Friday. This marks the culmination of seven years of sustained engagement by American Whitewater with the National Park Service and other stakeholders. 
 

Ocoee River (TN) Needs Your Help

posted April 23, 2015
by Mark Singleton
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The current agreement for water in the Ocoee River with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) expires in 2018. A new agreement is needed. TVA is exempt from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s requirements because of its uniques structure as a quasi federal agency. Write your representatives today supporting a legislative solution that would require water for releases.

Sultan River Whitewater Opportunities to Begin (WA)

posted April 1, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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On Saturday April 25th, Snohomish PUD will be providing a whitewater recreational opportunity on the Upper Sultan River. This class IV gorge is a great piece of whitewater in a spectacular setting. If you wish to check it out, be sure to sign up with Snohomish PUD.

2015 Northeast Whitewater Release Schedule Set

posted March 27, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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Northeast boaters are celebrating the end of a long, cold and snowy winter and are making boating plans for the year. Here is the 2015 Northeast Release Schedule

Deerfield River (MA) Hydro Relicensing: Building on Past Success

posted March 24, 2015
by Robert Nasdor
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Twenty years after reaching a historic settlement agreement on the Deerfield River hydropower relicensing that has transformed northeast paddling opportunities, we began another relicensing process this spring that will likely result in improvement in flows, access and facilities for boaters in the region.

Bill Restricting Access to Washington's Rivers Introduced

posted January 24, 2015
by Thomas O'Keefe
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The legislative session is underway in Washington State and earlier this week we were shocked to learn of a bill that would severely limit access to the state's rivers and shorelines. Specifically the bill would prohibit water access on small parcels of public land that do not provide formal parking.

Congress Passes River Conservation Bills

posted December 13, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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In the final days of the 113th Congress, several river conservation measures have been passed designating significant new Wilderness Areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers in areas vitally important to the paddling community.

Hydropower Project Proposed for Talkeetna (AK)

posted October 7, 2014
by Thomas O'Keefe
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Northwest Power Services recently filed a preliminary permit application to construct a hydropower project on the Talkeetna River. The Talkeetna is known to many as Alaska's best backcountry whitewater trip. The developer proposes to construct a 2300 feet long and 370 feet high dam located in a scenic canyon just downstream of the confluence of Disappointment Creek. A public comment period is now open for this project.

Mining Water Right Denied–NF Smith Headwaters (CA/OR)

posted September 30, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has denied Red Flat Mining Corporation's application for a water right for exploratory mining activities in the headwaters of Baldface Creek and the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River! The international mining company seeks to develop a nickel strip mine in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area, which is one of the most remote and expansive backcountry areas in Southern Oregon. This is an important victory in the effort to protect the crystal clear waters of Southern Oregon, however our work is far from over.

Gauley River (WV) Open Letter to Boaters 2014

posted August 15, 2014
by Mark Singleton
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Gauley season is just around the corner and in preparation for fall releases American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area informing boaters of planning efforts for this season.

Avoiding Collisions on the Gauley River

posted September 21, 2010
by Charlie Walbridge
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River outfitters and American Whitewater joined together decades ago to protect the Gauley River from hydro development. The success of these business enterprises were one of the key reasons that the river was protected as a National Recreation Area. But with success has come new challenges. Professional guides find the number of kayakers on the Upper Gauley overwhelming at times and kayakers also find the number of rafts intimidating.  Regardless of any “right of way”, it’s everyone’s job to avoid crashes! Here’s what you can do to avoid collisions with commercial rafts. 

Ausable Study Finally Released (NY)

posted April 11, 2007
by Kevin Colburn
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The report on paddling access to the Ausable River has finally been issued: late, incomplete, biased, and erroneous.  All of the data in the study support year round paddling access, and the data is generally accurate and defensible.  The dam owner, New York State Electric and Gas, has maintained its position however that no access should be allowed to the beautiful Class IV river.  It is now up to FERC, and AW and KCCNY will be filing comments this week  requesting year round access.   

Team completes First legal upper Chattooga descent in 30 years

posted January 9, 2007
by Kevin Colburn
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January 5th and 6th of 2007 marked the first legal descent of the upper Wild and Scenic Chattooga River in over 30 years. A team of kayakers and canoeists took two days to explore the river, traversing countless rapids and small waterfalls as they traveled through a remote and beautiful valley. What they found echoed the findings of the very first exploratory paddling trips made over three decades ago, which inspired the US Congress to designate the Chattooga as a Wild and Scenic River in 1974. Their photos and stories reveal a forbidden national treasure.

AW Partners with BLM on New River Database

posted September 28, 2006
by Kevin Colburn
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The Bureau of Land Management recently announced the completion of the National BLM River Database.  The database is a product of a successful partnership between American Whitewater (AW), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the River Management Society (RMS), and is now available online.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison to Get More Water (CO)

posted September 19, 2006
by Kevin Colburn
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Trout Unlimited and Western Resource Advocates recently won a court victory overthrowing an agreement between the US Department of Interior and the state of Colorado.  The agreement would have allowed all flows over 300 cfs removed from the river for various out of channel uses.  The judge found the agreement to be arbitrary, capricious, nonsensical, and illegal.

Future of Hells Canyon Up For Debate

posted September 14, 2006
by Kevin Colburn
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is accepting written public comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement it prepared as part of the relicensing process for the 3-dam complex on the Snake River, on the Oregon-Idaho border.  These dams and upstream land management severely impact the once great Snake River in many ways, including impacts to the incredible class IV Hells Canyon reach immediately downstream.

Twelvemile River Dams Likely to be Removed (SC)

posted February 15, 2006
by Kevin Colburn
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A settlement was recently signed that if approved will lead to the removal of two dams on the Twelvemile River as early as this year.  The settlement also provides funding that could lead to the removal of a third dam on Twelvemile.  AW Regional Coordinator Kevin Miller was directly involved in this issue and many paddlers weighed in to support dam removal.  Additional comments are now needed for support. 

Stewardship director
Dave Steindorf
4 Baroni Drive
Chico, CA 95928
Phone: 530-343-1871