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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

American Whitewater Opposes Temperance Flat Dam (CA)

posted October 30, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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American Whitewater submitted comments this week to the Bureau of Reclamation in opposition of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam slated for the San Joaquin River in California. The proposed dam would inundate a reach of river that the Bureau of Land Management recognized as suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System for its cultral and scenic values. Temperance Flat Dam will have steep economic and resource costs while yeilding little water, and is not the solution to California's extreme drought.

Comment Opportunity on Upper Chattooga Access

posted October 28, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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The Forest Service is seeking comments on their Environmental Assessment and proposal to upgrade and designate the trails and access areas that paddlers and others use to access the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River. Comments are due by midnight, November 7, 2014.  Your comments can help encourage high quality and sustainable hiking and paddling opportunities, and help clarify that no permit should be requied to paddle the Chattooga River upstream of Green Creek.  

Friendsville Parking Lot Update

posted October 13, 2014
by Charlie Walbridge
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The Friendsville, Maryland paddler parking lot is being finished. This lovely town of 500 people, is doing what it can to accomodate the hundreds of paddlers who arrive here for summer releases on the Upper Youghiogheny River. The project owes much to the vision and leadership of long-time resident Jess Whittemore and the support of Mayor Spencer R. Schlosnagle and Town Council. American Whitewater helped paddlers raise $25,000 towards the lot and this "seed money" has helped attract over $200,000 in grants! We thank the town for their persistence, and their ongoing support for Upper Yough whitewater.

ACTION ALERT: Save San Joaquin River Gorge from New Dam (CA)

posted October 8, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is proposing to build another large dam on California's San Joaquin River. If built, the Temperance Flat Dam would have significant impacts to the San Joaquin River Gorge, including drowning several Class III-V whitewater runs, such as Patterson Bend. The BOR took a major step forward in bringing the dam into reality when it released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project last month. You can stand up for the San Joaquin by attending a public hearing during the week of October 13th, or submitting public comment by October 27th.

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.

Support Clean Water Protection–Comments Due Nov 14th

posted October 1, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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If you've enjoyed getting out on the water with more concern for your shuttle than whether the river you're paddling is polluted, you likely have the Clean Water Act to thank. Over the last eight years, there's been a lot of uncertainty about whether certain headwater streams and wetlands are covered by the Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are taking public comment through November 14th on a proposed rule that brings clarity to this issue. American Whitewater supports the proposed rule, and encourages you to weigh in!

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.

AW Weighs in on Forest Planning Process in California

posted September 29, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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California's Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are home to many rivers cherished by the whitewater community, including the Kern, Kings, and Merced Rivers and Dinkey Creek. On Monday, September 29th, American Whitewater asked the Forest Service to recognize the importance of these and other rivers for whitewater recreation activities, and to update and expand protections for them. Our comments come as the three forests begin the NEPA process for updating their forest management plans.

AW Wins Forest Service Appeals - Rivers to Benefit (ID & MT)

posted September 29, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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American Whitewater was recently notified that our appeals of the new Forest Plans for the Kootenai and Panhandle National Forests were successful.  These forests, in northern Montana and Idaho respectively, contain incredible whitewater streams where paddlers might see grizzly bears, 10-foot white sturgeons, or even a caribou. The result of our successful appeals will almost certainly be the protection additional rivers and streams from hydropower dams and other threats.

Adventuresport Institute Completes Successful Savage River Release Season

posted September 7, 2014
by Charlie Walbridge
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American Whitewater congratulates the Garrett College Adventuresport Institute for managing another successful season of Savage River whitewater releases. The river, which hosted the 1989 World Slalom and Whitewater Championships, offers five miles of very continuous Class III-IV whitewater that's a joy to paddle. Program Director Mike Mike Logsden and other Garrett College personnel arranged parking, shuttle service, put-in and take-out access, release of liability for the stake-holders, and the removal of dangerous river debris. Takeout procedures this year were re-designed to avoid a dangerous road crossing. Expenses related to the shuttle service and strainer removal was paid by donations from participating boaters. If you enjoyed yourself, send a brief thank you to michael.logsdon@garrettcollege.edu

Oregon State Marine Board Continues Dialogue With Non-Motorized Boaters

posted September 3, 2014
by Thomas O'Keefe
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After an initial round of meetings, earlier in the summer, the Oregon State Marine Board has announced that they will be doing another round of meetings and will continue to seek feedback on the needs of the non-motorized boating community. We encourage those who paddle in Oregon to join the conversation and provide feedback through the meetings or an online survey.

Sullivan Creek (WA) Releases Begin September 3, 2014

posted August 25, 2014
by Kevin Colburn
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This year's Sullivan Creek releases will begin September 3, and will continue each day for at least a couple months. These releases, the gage, and a related dam removal were the outcome of a collaborative negotiation between the regional Public Utility District that owns the dams, American Whitewater, and a suite of local, state, and national groups. 

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.

AW Supports Senate Bills to Protect Rivers in CO, MT & WA

posted August 5, 2014
by Megan Hooker
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On Monday, August 4th American Whitewater submitted testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks in support of three bills that, if passed, will protect important whitewater rivers in Colorado, Montana and Washington. These include the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act (S. 1794), East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (S. 2392), and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act (S. 2602). Our testimony follows the sub-committee hearing held on July 23, 2014.

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!

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.

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. 

 

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