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AW's Stewardship Program

AW’s strong conservation and access program was recently refocused and transformed into River Stewardship, an integrated approach to the mission work of our organization. In addition, stewardship recognizes that we have an ongoing commitment to the resources we work to protect and restore.

  • 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, and California. 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

Breaking News: Cheat River Canyon Purchased and Protected!

posted April 11, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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Thanks to the tireless work of The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund over 3,800 acres of the Cheat River Canyon were recently protected. The acquisition covers a 7 mile stretch of the Cheat River between Albright and the high bridge at Jenkinsburg, the famous “Cheat Canyon” whitewater run.  Great news for the Cheat!

West Fork Tuck Beta and Alert (NC)

posted April 7, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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2014 marks the second year of restored paddling opportunities on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee.  The first of 7 releases this year will be on April 19 and 20, and we would like to share some important facts and lessons we’ve learned about the river to help paddlers know what to expect. First and foremost, be aware that this run requires Class IV/V skills and a commitment consistent with wilderness rivers given the remote nature of the gorge and private property.

April Volunteer of the Month Presented by Kokatat

posted April 1, 2014
by Mark Singleton
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American Whitewater is pleased to announce our April Volunteer of the Month, Jess Whittemore. For his leadership in securing additional boater access at the Upper Yough (MD) takeout Jess will be receiving a custom Kokatat Woolcore Shirt!

New River Dries Flow Study - Participate Online

posted March 25, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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.    

Yosemite Releases Tuolumne River Plan

posted March 21, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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On Friday, March 14th, Yosemite National Park released their Final Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, announcing that boaters will have the opportunity to enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne by kayak on a trial basis. While we’re pleased that the Park has placed boating on equal footing for this reach, we're disappointed that the plan continues to prohibit boating on the rest of the river.

New Protections for Outstanding Wyoming Streams

posted February 20, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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. 

Yosemite National Park Releases Final Merced River Plan

posted February 14, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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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.

Yellowstone Bill Passes the US House of Representatives

posted February 8, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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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. 

AW Testifies on Vermont Low-Impact Hydro

posted February 5, 2014
by Robert Nasdor
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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. 

AW, VPC Intervene in Green River (VT) Relicensing

posted January 6, 2014
by Robert Nasdor
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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. 

 

Snoqualmie Powerhouse Run, New Access Opens (WA)

posted October 23, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Fall 2013 Tallulah (GA) Release Reminders

posted October 10, 2013
by Mark Singleton
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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.

Teanaway River Protected (WA)

posted October 4, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Friendsville - Upper Yough Parking Lot Update

posted September 23, 2013
by Charlie Walbridge
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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:

Visiting the Elwha (WA)

posted August 26, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie Legislation Continues to Move Forward (WA)

posted August 1, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

State Board Rules: Similkameen Falls Deserve Water (WA)

posted July 31, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

Dam Proposed For South Fork Skykomish Would Be An Economic Loser

posted July 16, 2013
by Thomas O'Keefe
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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.

American Whitewater 2012 Annual Report

posted June 18, 2013
by Mark Singleton
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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.

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