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Water Quality Rollback Stopped, Issues Unresolved (CO)

06/19/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

At 5pm tonight, Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission voted not to rollback the antidegradation rule that has for decades helped to keep our rivers clean. However, they did uphold their ability to make arbitrary decisions on polluting Colorado’s waterways - like they did on the South Platte in 2020 - for the next ten years. The outcome followed a two-day hearing earlier this week, during which the antidegradation rule was discussed at length. While we still have a long road ahead, we were able to stop what would have been an atrocious rollback of protections for Colorado’s beloved streams. Thank you to those that stood up and took action on this issue - we could not have it done without you!

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FERC Approves Transfer of Klamath Hydropower License (OR/CA)

06/17/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Earlier today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the license transfer for the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation and the states of Oregon and California, as co-licensees. In addition to approving license transfer for purposes of dam removal, the Commission also issued Scoping Document 1 and outlined a public process for environmental review of the plan to remove the Klamath River dams. American Whitewater has been working collaboratively with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation and the States of Oregon and California to better understand how whitewater boating opportunities will change following dam removal. A public comment period is now open through August 19, 2021.

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Comments Needed - New Flow Management Proposal on the Trinity River (CA)

06/16/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater has taken the opportunity to gauge impacts of a proposal introduced by the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) known as the Winter Flow Variability Action. This new flow management proposal has the potential to impact summer recreational flows on 23 miles of the Trinity River including the Pigeon Point Run, Big Flat to Hayden Flat and Hayden to Cedar Flat. Overall, the main purpose of the new flow proposal is to help retore the fisheries of the Trinity River which have been severely degraded by dam construction and water diversions by mimicking a natural hydrograph. Based on this, American Whitewater finds merit in the Winter Flow Variability Action and encourages paddlers to weigh in as recreational stakeholders during the public scoping period so that the TRRP can better understand summer boating interests. Specifically, we encourage paddlers to highlight time spent on this section of the Trinity River during the summer and at what flow levels you enjoy measured at the Burnt Ranch Gorge gauge.

 

Photo of Theresa L. Lorejo-Simsiman on Hell Hole by Serendipty Snapshots  

 

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Mongaup River (NY) Settlement Agreement Expands Boating Opportunities

06/10/2021 - by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater, reached a Settlement Agreement on the relicensing of three hydropower dams on the Mongaup River that will double scheduled whitewater boating releases below the Rio Dam in Forestburgh, New York. The agreement will expand recreational boating opportunities in the river and on reservoirs, protect instream flows for aquatic habitat, remove Black Brook Dam, protect endangered species, and protect flows on the Wild & Scenic Delaware River. The Settlement Agreement is the culmination of four years of advocacy as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing of the Mongaup River hydroelectric projects. “The Settlement Agreement is a big win for whitewater paddlers, anglers, lake owners, and everyone working to protect the river ecosystem,” according to Bob Nasdor, AW Northeast Stewardship & Legal Director. The Settlement Agreement will assure that the new FERC license for the projects will protect all river uses for the next 50 years. A huge win overall for the river and the community!

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American Whitewater Spring Stewardship Update 2021

06/10/2021 - by Evan Stafford

American Whitewater’s Spring Stewardship Update for 2021is here! We are working hard to protect water quality in our nation's rivers, designate new Wild and Scenic Rivers, restore flows to rivers affected by hydropower dams, promote outdoor recreation for all on our public lands, and protect access to our favorite whitewater rivers – but we can't do it without your help. This stewardship work is possible only through your support, and your financial contribution plays a vital role in our success. Watch our regional stewardship update videos to get a more in depth view of the work you'll be supporting throughout the rest of the year. 

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Update on American Whitewater Events For 2021

06/09/2021 - by Evan Stafford

It’s been a tricky spring to plan events for American Whitewater but we are super excited to get back out on the water with you and to see you in person at a river in your region! All of our events will have a different flavor this year, but most importantly there will be water in the rivers and there will be paddlers enjoying themselves. Read on for the most current information on the Deerfield Fest, Gore Fest, Feather Fest, and Gauley Fest. 

 

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Tonic of Wild – Pacific Northwest Stewardship Event Wrap-Up

06/09/2021 - by Evan Stafford

On May 26th, 2021, we had an opportunity to gather the Pacific Northwest boating community online to celebrate American Whitewater’s river stewardship work in the region and build support for AW. Memberships and community support are essential to our organization and over the past year we’ve really had to get creative with ways to continue to engage paddlers in support of our mission. We’ve seen an incredible response and the Tonic of Wild event was a huge success. Thanks to all our sponsors, presenters and viewers! We signed up a ton of new members and raised a significant amount of funds towards our river stewardship program – a true testament to the community and big night for AW. If you weren't able to attend you can watch a recap of the night here. 

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New Mexico Access Update

06/08/2021 - by Hattie Johnson

In March of 2020, we updated our membership on a case our affiliate club, Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico, brought to the New Mexico Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the State Game Commission’s power to grant private landowners non-navigable certificates. At every level, the privatizing of streams and rivers in New Mexico has skirted due process, benefitted rich and largely out-of-state landowners, and is illegal.

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Fordyce Creek (CA) Spring Boating Opportunity

05/27/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Pacific Gas and Electric reached out to American Whitewater with an opportunity for boating flows on Fordyce Creek. We took the chance to respond to PG&E and communicate preferred paddling flows.

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How to Enjoy the Upcoming Savage River Release (MD)

05/24/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The Savage River releases are on the calendar for 2021 with some changes in how to enjoy them. Commercial shuttles are now a thing of the past on the Savage, and with that comes new responsibilities for paddlers. It is vitally important that paddlers visit the Savage River responsibly so these releases can continue. Enjoy!

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Explore Northern Rockies Rivers with Purpose This Year

05/14/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

Documenting your experiences on rivers in the Northern Rockies this summer could help secure lasting protections for those rivers. Several key landscapes are under review for protections by Congress and the US Forest Service, but we lack the kind of compelling descriptions and photos that can inspire and inform decision makers to offer rivers and their enjoyment key protections. So we need your help. As you explore rivers in the focal areas noted in this article, we encourage you to paddle with a purpose: take photos highlighting river values, take video, and take notes on recreational and ecological values - then share your content with American Whitewater. 

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Take Action to Protect Water Quality in Colorado

04/28/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

Colorado’s waters are at stake. From our high mountain streams to the backyard of urban communities, water quality is threatened state-wide. The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission has proposed a change to the antidegradation rule that would allow for more pollution into higher quality waters without review or justification. The proposed rule would go against the very premise of the Clean Water Act, which the Commission is tasked with implementing and overseeing in Colorado. Help us protect the antidegradation policy by signing on to this petition to the Water Quality Control Commission. 

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Final Bear River (ID) Release Moved to September

04/27/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The final 2021 release on the Black Canyon of the Bear River has been rescheduled to September 11 and 12, 2021. This shift was made possible because the dam owner will be conducting maintenance work this summer and fall that will increase base flows in the river, which decreases ecological concerns with late season paddling releases. The same rescheduling occured last year as well. Our partners in managing the Bear River graciously supported this change, which was requested by American Whitewater and was popular with regional paddlers last year. 

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Comments Needed on River Protection in the Arctic

04/06/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

A new proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) management plan for 55.7 million acres in Northern Alaska would fail to protect any of the 11 rivers their analysis finds to be eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. If you have paddled any of the affected rivers in this area we strongly encourage you to review the planning documents and submit comments in support of protection of Wild and Scenic River values in the Central Yukon Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Deadline is June 9, 2021.

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Black Canyon Put-In Closed for 2021 Season (CO)

04/06/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

The National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that the East Portal Road which serves as the put-in for the Black Canyon section of the Gunnison River will be closed for maintenance for the duration of the 2021 season. While the road closure is an unfortunate obstacle for many this season, the needed maintenance of the road will lead to fewer unexpected road closures due to rockfall and will improve access to the Black Canyon for the long term. American Whitewater will track the status of the road closure and we will share an update as soon as access to the Black Canyon is reopened.  

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Train Operations in Eagle and Arkansas Corridors to Require Full Review (CO)

03/25/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

This morning, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) made a much-anticipated decision on the revival of the Tennessee Pass Rail Line - a 160-mile rail line that follows the Eagle and Arkansas Rivers between Sage and Parkdale, Colorado. The STB formally rejected Colorado, Midland and Pacific Railway’s (CMPR) request to be exempt from oversight and regulation of their proposed operation on the line, which would be leased under an agreement with Union Pacific. This decision comes nearly three months after CMPR filed a notice of exemption on December 31, 2020, as people were bringing in the new year. 

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Whitewater Flows Secured in New Weber River Dam License! (UT)

03/24/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

A new 40-year license for a dam on Utah's Weber River includes four Saturday paddling releases each year prior to July 15, as well as flow information, accesss, and fish passage enhancements. This outcome is the result of American Whitewater staff and volunteers collaborating with the power company and other stakeholders over the past several years. The releases will provide relatively rare paddling opportunities near Ogden, Utah, in a region where dams and diversions have limited or eliminated many paddling opportunities. The new license requires a recreation plan be developed and other measures that will delay the initiation of releases until 2022. Big thanks to all our partners on the Weber, our lead volunteer Charlie Vincent, and the numerous volunteers who helped us collect data and solve legal and other challenges over the years! See you on the Weber next year! 

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The Nolichucky Needs You Again (NC/TN)

03/12/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The Nolichucky area has several new Senators and Representatives that have never heard from the public about designating the Nolichucky as a Wild and Scenic River. They need to hear from you to learn about the river and your feelings on designation. At the same time, the new Congress is setting state and national level priorities and the Nolichucky does not yet have a bill to designate it as a Wild and Scenic River. The next two years mark an incredible opportunity to designate the Noli as the region’s next Wild and Scenic River, but first a designation bill needs to be introduced, and soon. Personal letters and calls are key to getting a bill introduced. 

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North Fork Skykomish Road Repairs to Start (WA)

03/11/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe

After years of engineering and environmental analysis, and some legal challenges at the end, reconstruction of the Index-Galena road is about to get underway this spring. This road provides the primary access to the North Fork Skykomish, which was one of the most popular class IV runs in the Skykomish River drainage prior to major flooding in 2006.

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Over 1,000 Miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers is Back in Congress

02/24/2021 - by Evan Stafford

Late last year you may remember our push to pass over a thousand miles of Wild and Scenic designations and millions of acres of protections for some of the most storied whitewater landscapes in the West, including the Grand Canyon (AZ), the Dolores (CO), the Olympic Peninsula (WA), and several whitewater rich watersheds in California (Trinity Alps, Central Coast, San Gabriels) under the banner of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act (PAWA) and by attaching it to the end of year must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. Ultimately that play was unsuccessful, however now this legislation is back under the Protecting America’s Wilderness And Public Lands Act (PAW+) and it’s headed to the House floor for a vote this Wednesday February 24th. Your Congress person needs to hear that these river protections are important to you and as usual we make it super simple with our easy-action form. The details of the river protections included in this bill can be found in this prior article we wrote when this package was first introduced in Congress. 



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