2021 Southeast Advanced Release Schedule Set!
11/24/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater and our affiliate clubs have spent the past 25 years working to restore flows to incredible Southeastern rivers impacted by dams. A lot of our work has focused on Class II and III rivers like the lower Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Hiwassee, and Catawba, but we also secured releases in some classic steeper reaches previously dewatered by hydroelectric diversions. Each year we meet with power companies and agencies to schedule future releases, review ongoing ecology studies, and discuss any issues with the release programs. We are happy to share the 2021 schedule!
2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION - CURRENT MEMBERS PLEASE VOTE NOW!
11/16/2020 - by Evan Stafford
Each year American Whitewater's membership ratifies Board of Director members to serve three-year terms. These candidates volunteer to serve on the American Whitewater Board. Current American Whitewater members can cast their votes through Midnight Pacific Time, December 15th. Currently, American Whitewater has four Director Nominees to fill four open seats for election, you may vote for up to four candidates on the slate. The ballot for our Board of Directors election is placed online here.
Update: Stream Access Case in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court
11/11/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
In April 2020, American Whitewater Affiliate Club and partner, the Adobe Whitewater Club (AWC), joined New Mexico Wildlife Federation and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers to petition the New Mexico Supreme Court to uphold the constitutional rights of the people to access our public waters, even where they cross private lands. We have been working closely with AWC since the issue arose in the summer of 2019 and you can read more about the evolution of this case here and a much more recent update here. While we wait for a decision from the Supreme Court, the New Mexico Paddlers Coalition - made up of AW, AWC, and New Mexico River Outfitters Association - have been meeting weekly to prepare for our next course of action whether the court rules for or against protecting the public's right to float the state's rivers and streams.
AW Works to Restore Boating Flows to West Canada Creek (NY)
11/11/2020 - by Robert Nasdor
American Whitewater is working to bring whitewater boating back to West Canada Creek in the Adirondacks as part of the relicensing of the hydropower dams at Prospect and Trenton. Over the past month, AW members have participated in two whitewater boating studies on the river demonstrating the importance of whitewater boating on the river.
Check Out the River Stewardship Work Your Engagement Supports
11/11/2020 - by Evan Stafford
American Whitewater has big stewardship plans for 2021, removing dams, securing new Wild and Scenic designations, enhancing access and protections for rivers on public lands, and protecting our bedrock river conservation laws such as the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. We continue to press forward with bipartisan opportunities to pass legislation that's good for our rivers, but we can't do it without your ongoing support to keep our work on track. Your membership dollars and donations will support our conservation efforts, from protecting large landscapes and the whitewater rivers that flow through them to securing protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, restoring flows to rivers impacted by hydropower to advocating for removing deadbeat dams, and protecting flows threatened by water resource projects to our access and safety work. We've got our work cut out for us in 2021. Take a moment to see what your contribution will support in every whitewater region across the country in our 2020 Winter Stewardship Update.
Chehalis Dam Proposal: Another Comment Period Is Currently Open
11/11/2020 - by Thomas O'Keefe
You may have already commented on the proposal for a massive new dam on the Chehalis River, but the Army Corps of Engineers has opened a new round of comment and it is important for the whitewater boating community to document concerns (and thank Governor Inslee for taking steps to chart a new course). Take Action Today
Changes to Upper Yough Permit Yield April Saturday Releases (MD)
11/09/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
The State of Maryland issued a new permit for the Deep Creek Hydroelectric Project earlier this fall that offered the river and its visitors some incremental enhancements to the flow release program. The State hosted several public meetings during 2020 and considered public comments to help shape the new permit, which typically lasts for roughly a decade. The most important change for paddlers is that moving forward, recreational releases in April will be on Saturdays rather than Fridays. Big thanks to paddlers who attended meetings and submitted comments, and to the State of Maryland for keeping the Upper Yough awesome.
Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved
10/15/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge
From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers. These great victories are the subject of his new book "Whitewater Wars." Dave was hired by outfitters on both rivers, and his efforts took him from the edge of the river to the halls of congress. On the Gauley a small cadre of private paddlers - Pete Skinner, Mac Thornton, Pope Barrow, Steve Taylor, and Charlie Walbridge - played important roles and later became the nucleus of an American Whitewater board that guided the organization towards it's current position as a national leader in river access and conservation. Dave ran the first Gauleyfest to help build support for protecting the river, and was excited to get 500 attendees! After the Gauley was declared a National Recreation Area the festival was passed over to AW. And the rest is history! It's a great read!
Gauley Season 2020
08/21/2020 - by Mark Singleton
While Gauley Fest has moved to a virtual format for 2020 due to Covid-19 and social distancing concerns, releases on the Gauley River will still take place. American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This information will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River for the 2020 season.
Governor Inslee Directs State Agencies to Cease Chehalis Dam Efforts (WA)
07/25/2020 - by Thomas O'Keefe
This past week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee directed Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Chehalis Basin Board to cease planning efforts and environmental review of a proposed new dam on the Chehalis River and instead develop and present a basin-wide, non-dam alternative to flood damage reduction. American Whitewater appreciates the Governor's decision that is responsive to concerns we raised throughout the environmental review process.
HELP US STOP HYDRO DEVELOPMENT ON BIG CANYON (AZ)
07/07/2020 - by Kestrel Kunz
In the ongoing saga of hydro dam developments proposed within striking distance of Grand Canyon National Park, American Whitewater is asking for help from the paddling community to stop a development that would impact the greater Grand Canyon area and its tributaries. Back in October 2019, we wrote an article outlining the proposal submitted by Phoenix-based hydroelectric company Pumped Hydro LLC to place two dams on the Little Colorado River, a tributary of the Colorado River's mighty Grand Canyon. This proposal was met with a large amount of pushback for the cultural impact on indigenous tribes, ecological impacts, and water use. To address these concerns, Pumped Hydro decided to file an alternative (yet equally problematic) proposal for a hydro development on Big Canyon, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. The Big Canyon project permit application has been accepted into the Federal Energy Regulation Commission's (FERC) registrar, initiating a public comment period on the project ending August 1 and we need members of the paddling community to step up and make their voices heard!
We Need your Help to Protect Paddlers’ Access to New Mexico Rivers and Streams
07/07/2020 - by Kestrel Kunz
Rivers once promoted by the New Mexico State Parks Division in their publication "New Mexico Whitewater - A Guide to River Trips" are now being blocked by private landowners with barricades, cables and No Trespassing signs. This includes upper Chama and Pecos river segments. Privatizers have filed additional applications that would close several other river segments in New Mexico, and their lawyers are threatening an "immense wave" of constitutional "litigation" in the event that "any action by the Court, the Legislature, the Department, or the Commission… restrict[s] landowners' rights to prevent the public from using their streambeds underlying public waters." American Whitewater has been working with our local partners in New Mexico to ensure that this new Rule is rescinded. We need your support to win this battle. If you're in a position to contribute, doing so will help us with legal expenses for our partners and outreach.
Senator Wyden Introduces Legislation to Invest in Public Lands
05/12/2020 - by Thomas O'Keefe
As the impacts of COVID-19 ripple through the economy, Members of Congress are seeking ideas for what economic recovery looks like. Several Congressional offices have reached out to American Whitewater to solicit ideas for projects and initiatives that would benefit public lands and outdoor recreation while putting people to work. Over the past two weeks we have been working with our colleagues at Outdoor Alliance to develop some specific proposals. We are thrilled to report that Senator Wyden from Oregon has taken some our ideas and stepped up in a big way to make investment in public lands and the outdoor recreation economy a personal priority.
Great American Outdoors Act Introduced
03/10/2020 - by Thomas O'Keefe
It's been a wild ride this past week for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Restore Our Parks Act all initiated by a tweet from the President that began with these words: "I am calling on Congress to send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks." We just got back from a week in DC working to make it happen and all indications are that we are on the cusp of getting legislation passed that directly benefits and provides resources for river access. The bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, introduced yesterday by 55 Senators, combines the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and Restore Our Parks Act with some key changes and additional funding we requested. Use our easy action form to reach out your representatives today and help us make sure this incredible opportunity for funding river recreation and conservation does not pass us by!
American Whitewater Releases New River Access Planning Guide
12/05/2019 - by Evan Stafford
In a joint project with the River Management Society, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), and National Park Service (NPS), American Whitewater has published the River Access Planning Guide. American Whitewater is regularly called upon to assist with river access projects. Some are a spectacular success, while others are a disappointment. Over the past three years, American Whitewater has been working with the NPS Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Programs to better understand how success comes about when a river access project is developed and provide guidance for a step-by-step process that leads to projects that meet user needs and are sustainable both ecologically and financially.
Owyhee Canyonlands Legislation Introduced (OR)
11/08/2019 - by Thomas O'Keefe
This week's introduction of the Malheur County Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act (S. 2828) represents a historic move to protect over 1.1 million acres of public lands as wilderness in Malheur County centered around the Owyhee Canyonlands. The legislation also includes protection for an additional 14.7 miles of the Owyhee River as Wild and Scenic.
Recreation Not Red Tape Act: a bill to benefit outdoor recreation
10/05/2019 - by Thomas O'Keefe
For the past several years American Whitewater has worked with our partners on the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S.1967). This is among the most important piece of positive policy we expect to see this Congress in terms of improving outdoor recreation and our access to rivers on public land. Senator Wyden originally approached us on the idea of a bill to benefit outdoor recreation to encourage sustainable use and enjoyment of public lands and waters. Learn more and take action to join us in supporting this legislation.