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Southeast 2023 Advanced Release Schedule Announced!

11/25/2022 - 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 releases and access 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 strive to create a schedule with minimal conflicts to maximize recreational value. Below are the 2023 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers. 

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Federal Regulators Approve Removal of Four Klamath River Dams!

11/18/2022 - by Scott Harding

Nov. 17, 2022 Today, after twenty years of sustained advocacy and studies, federal regulators approved the removal of four outdated hydropower dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California. This will set free one of the most iconic whitewater rivers on the West Coast and help restore its imperiled fisheries, improve water quality  and river recreation, and address the injustices the dams have caused for Tribal people. This is the largest dam removal project in history, and work will begin soon!

 

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Upcoming Trainings About Public Input on SF Salmon (ID) Gold Mine Project

11/17/2022 - by Evan Stafford

A large-scale gold-antimony mine in the headwaters of the South Fork Salmon (ID), a major tributary to the Wild and Scenic Salmon River has been proposed by Perpetua Resources. The company is moving forward with plans to construct the Stibnite Gold Project despite concerns from the EPA that it would significantly harm the protected water quality of these Native American tribal fishing grounds and the classic whitewater paddling in the drainage. The Forest Service recently released a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the project, which describes the effects of the mine. Although Perpetua refers to the project as a restoration plan, the SDEIS shows that mining activities will actually degrade fish habitat and the vastly imporved water quality in this wild and pristine watershed enjoyed by paddlers from across the country and world. Our local partners in Idaho, the Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Save the South Fork Salmon are encouraging members of the public and businesses to closely review the SDEIS and voice their concerns during the comment period and at upcoming public meetings held by the Forest Service. Click the read more button to find the details on the workshops and webinars these support worthy organizations are hosting in Idaho and online. SF Salmon Image by Hannah Harris.

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An Evolution of American Whitewater’s Look and Feel

11/17/2022 - by Evan Stafford

American Whitewater has an incredible, storied history of river stewardship success over the past nearly 70 years. Our shared victories have not only benefited the whitewater recreation community, but truly all those communities whose rivers run through them. In an effort to continue this success and to further recognize our organization as the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States, we’d like to be the first to introduce you to our new visual identity. A true evolution in the look and feel of American Whitewater that took place over the last year, largely as a volunteer project.

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Southern Appalachian Whitewater Hall of Fame Inducts American Whitewater

11/17/2022 - by Evan Stafford

The Southern Appalachian Whitewater Hall of Fame and their parent organization, Southern Appalachian Paddlesports Museum, recently inducted American Whitewater into their Hall of Fame as an organization! From dam removals to securing whitewater release flows to developing and maintaining access areas, American Whitewater has had a lasting and positive impact on the rivers in the Southern Appalachians. It's honor to be recognized by our community and we enjoyed the opportunity to have Mark Singleton, our former Executive Director and Kevin Colburn, our current National Stewardship Director be the guest speakers during the Hall of Fame presentation. Thank you!

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Contribute Your Stories, Images, and Art to the American Whitewater Journal

11/17/2022 - by Evan Stafford

Have a short story to tell? Maybe you've got some opinions about the latest in paddlesports? Advice for beginners? River poems? Thoughts on how to make the river a safer place? Our community wants to hear from you and the American Whitewater Journal is the perfect venue for your writing and photos! The Journal is a volunteer publication that relies on paddlers and river lovers to submit the content that fills it. Submit your content today!

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2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION - CURRENT MEMBERS PLEASE VOTE NOW!

11/12/2022 - 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 13th. 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.

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Request for Proposals – Redesign and Update the AW River Safety Code

11/08/2022 - by Evan Stafford

With a recent grant from the United States Coast Guard, American Whitewater is launching a project to update our whitewater safety code. We are issuing this Request for Proposals for assistance in this effort from a graphic designer or graphic design team. Redesign will include the production of a new Safety Code and associated outreach materials that are concise, visually compelling, and informational, covering necessary equipment, identifying hazards, and on-water safety skills and techniques for whitewater rivers. To learn more or apply please click the read more button below. 

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Water Right Modifications Threaten the South Fork American River (CA)

10/14/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Please take the time to protect flows on the South Fork American River. Use this easy Action Alert here to tell the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) Board that changing water diversion points along one of the most popular rivers in California is a bad idea.

EID has a new point of diversion proposal for Water Right Permit 21112 and is asking for public comment by October 20, 2022. This current proposal still has the potential to impact over 50 miles of whitewater recreational flows on the South Fork American River one of the premier and most used year-around whitewater recreation waterways in the United States. Changes in flow levels could reduce opportunities to paddle reaches like the easily accessible Kyburz section or the iconic Golden Gate section. It could also impact scheduled recreational flows required by the hydropower licenses for Slab Creek and the year around recreational flows below Chili Bar.

 

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Supreme Court Dives Into Clean Water Act Scope

10/03/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning on a case that will likely shift the balance of which wetlands and perhaps streams are covered under the Clean Water Act. A permit is required to dredge, fill, or discharge pollutants into waters that are covered under the Act. Waters not covered under the Act lack this federal review. Now, just days from the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Supreme Court considered this request to significantly weaken the effect of the landmark law that is largely responsible for the remarkable restoration of our Nation’s rivers. 

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American Whitewater Opposes Legislation to Undermine Clean Water Act

09/23/2022 - by Bob Nasdor

On September 21, Sen. Manchin (D-WV) released the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, long-anticipated legislation seeking to speed up environmental review and approval of energy projects under the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act. The proposed legislation would weaken Section 401 of the Clean Water Act undermining our ability to advocate for instream flows below hydropower dams.

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Local Coalition Celebrates Commission Ruling to Protect Colorado's Waters

09/09/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

During this year’s World Water Week, a coalition including community members, anglers, recreation groups, and conservation organizations are celebrating the finalization of the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission’s decision to designate over 520 miles on 25 streams across Southwest Colorado as Outstanding Waters. The coalition came together from across the state, dedicating three years to demonstrating that these streams have high water quality, exceptional recreational and ecological values, and that they warrant protection. The Commission’s designation of these waterways marks the adoption of the largest community proposal for Outstanding Waters in Colorado’s history.

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Klamath River Dam Removal Takes an Important Step Forward (OR/CA)

08/27/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just released a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which recommends the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. This is the final step of analysis, and a federal decision to authorize removal of the dams is expected later this year, with dam removal taking place in 2024. This would be the largest dam removal project in the world.

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Volunteers Work Hard on Upper Yough Accesses

08/26/2022 - by Charlie Walbridge

Although a broken dam curtailed Upper Yough water releases this year, it's been a great season for American Whitewater volunteers. On the left, Jesse Shimrock is AW's new Upper Yough Access Manager. A lifelong resident of Garrett County, he learned to paddle here as a teen. After years on the freestyle circuit he built a house in Sang Run and is ready to look after the interests of river runners. AW has maintained the site for decades thanks to an agreement with Maryland State Parks. Jesse has plans for upgrades and improvements; if you want to help, contact him on FB. And don't forget reliable Don Millard, on the right, who has mowed the grass in both Sang Run and Friendsville for many years! He does a great job and saves AW thousands of dollars each year!


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A Big Win for Rivers in the Sierra & Sequoia National Forests (CA)!

07/25/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

The Sierra and Sequoia National Forests have released final forest land management plans containing protections for 498 miles of rivers found eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Since 2013, American Whitewater has been engaged in this forest planning process with the goal of getting California's whitewater resources included in the eligibility inventory and recognized for their outstandingly remarkable values. As a tenet of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, managing agencies like the Forest Service (USFS) provide interim protections for eligible river's free flowing character and outstandingly remarkable values until they can be designated by Congress. 

 

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Take Action: Provide Comment to Restore the Snake River

07/06/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

American Whitewater supports breaching the four lower Snake River Dams and believes the environmental and social justice costs of these dams outweigh the services and benefits they provide. In addition to benefits for salmon and steelhead, breaching these dams would open up a new segment of free-flowing river in a region where current demand for river-based recreation exceeds capacity. We also believe the removal of these dams is a more effective solution to address struggling salmon runs than limits that have been placed on recreational boaters. Governor Inslee and Senator Murray are currently soliciting public comment through July 11th on the Lower Snake River Dams: Benefit Replacement Draft Report.

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Unprecedented Win for Water Quality in Colorado!

06/24/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

On June 14, Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission voted 7-1 to protect 520 miles on 25 streams across Southwest Colorado, adopting the first proposal of its kind. American Whitewater and our partners have been hard at work over the past three years to prove that these high quality rivers and creeks deserve protection. Our proposal included beloved paddling segments like the headwaters of the Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, and many others that were acknowledged for their exceptional ecological and recreational attributes. Under the Clean Water Act, Outstanding Waters provide the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. The designation acknowledges the high water quality that currently exists and ensures it is protected at that level for the future.

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American Whitewater Prevails in Case to Protect the Tuolumne River

06/21/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, American Whitewater and our allies prevailed to uphold the Clean Water Act in protection of the Tuolumne River. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act which requires that any utility applying for a hydropower license that may discharge pollutants into waters of the United States must receive state certification ensuring the project complies with all state standards for beneficial use, water quality, and anti-degradation of the waterway. The case brought forth by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts (the Districts) challenged a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order upholding California’s clean water certification for the Don Pedro and La Grange Hydropower Projects located on the Tuolumne River. 

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2022 Recreational Releases for South Fork Silver Creek and Slab Creek (CA)

05/13/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, American Whitewater and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) coordinate required recreational flows on South Fork Silver Creek below Icehouse Reservoir and South Fork American River below Slab Creek Reservoir.  The final water year forecast that will determine scheduled recreational flows will be released on May 9th. Recreational flows will vary depending on the final forecast which will either be a DRY or a BELOW NORMAL water year. 

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Great Falls Catawba Releases Delayed Until Next Spring (SC)

05/10/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

The start of flow releases on the Great Falls of the Catawba have unfortunately been delayed from this August to next spring. The pace and scale of work being done on the hydropower project and related lands to support releases is extraordinary, and while disappointed we are confident that the delay is merited. American Whitewater will continue to work with Duke Power and the community of Great Falls to be ready for releases next March. Starting in March releases will occur every week or two through October, at nearly 3000 cfs in each channel. 



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