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Year Two of Releases on Utah's Weber River Set

05/30/2023 - by Kevin Colburn

This year marks the second year of recreational releases on the Scrambled Eggs section of the Weber River in Utah! American Whitewater negotiated these releases over the past few years and is excited to celebrate year two, and wow what a different year it is! Unlike last year when getting a minimum paddling flow on release days was a minor miracle, this year release days could be quite high, after a long season of high flows. This year’s releases will be June 10 & 17 and July 1 & 15, between 10 and 2 pm. Enjoy! 

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Supreme Court Narrows Clean Water Act

05/25/2023 - by Robert Nasdor

The Supreme Court today issued a decision that significantly narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act protection of wetlands adjacent to rivers. The Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency that only wetlands that have a “continuous surface connection” to a river are subject to the Clean Water Act. The decision effectively prevents the EPA from requiring a permit for filling, dredging, or polluting wetlands that are next to a river and hydrologically connected.

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Grand Canyon Flow Management Delayed Again (AZ)

05/25/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz and Hattie Johnson

On May 22, the federal government announced it was postponing planning efforts for the Colorado River basin in order to assess a new proposal brought forward by the lower Colorado River Basin states. This is a big turn of events since we reported on this two weeks ago and called you all to take action. While it’s important that consensus was made to reduce consumptive use by the lower basin states, there are a lot of unanswered questions and much more work to be done. The best thing that you can do is to be ready to continue to engage on this when the next draft plan is released and help ensure the voice of river enthusiasts is heard loud and clear. 

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Proposing to Restrict Access at State Wildlife Areas

05/24/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission will consider public comments submitted by May 24th about a proposed change to regulations on use of state wildlife areas (SWA). The proposed changes would restrict the use of any vessel on state wildlife area property to ones being actively used for hunting or fishing. This would affect river access such as the Granite SWA property that includes access to Pine Creek on the Arkansas. Please provide your comments by signing up and submitting through the online portal at

Image: Rio Grande Box Canyon

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Take Action to Protect Grand Canyon Flows

05/10/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz and Hattie Johnson

On April 14, 2023, the Bureau of Reclamation released a three-alternative plan for the short-term management of the Colorado River at Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams, and in doing so, initiated a 45-day public comment period. This is the most important and impactful time to engage on the near-term future of the Colorado River between now and 2026. We need your voice to speak up for the Colorado River itself and ensure the river isn’t just treated as a system of pipelines. We have made it super easy for you to make your voice heard using this easy action form here. Adding your personal stories and thoughts is incredibly impactful and important here, please use the bullets in the action form to guide your personalization. Comments are due on May 30, 2023.

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Colorado Stream Access Oral Arguments May 2, 2023

05/09/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

American Whitewater, along with Colorado River Outfitters Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, filed an amicus brief to the Colorado Supreme Court on a case the State of Colorado asked the high court to weigh in on determining an angler’s ability to wade fish in a section of the Arkansas River. The case has wound its way through state and federal courts discussing the anglers ability, or standing, to bring the lawsuit against the landowners who harassed him by throwing rocks and threatening arrest while he fished in the river that ran through their property. American Whitewater was eager to engage in this stage of the case as the key question raised was whether a member of the public could question Colorado’s restrictive river access laws. The following paragraphs are a summary of the case and oral arguments that took place on May 2nd, 2023 from our pro-bono attorneys on the case, Samantha Caravello and Lori Potter of Kaplan, Kirsch, and Rockwell.

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American Whitewater Opposes Brookfield Effort to Weaken Clean Water Act

05/09/2023 - by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater has intervened in a legal appeal brought by Great Lakes Hydro (GLHA), a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable, challenging state authority to protect rivers at Shawmut Hydroelectric Project in Maine. GLHA's appeal in the Shawmut case is the first time a hydro dam owner has challenged a state's certification denial under new EPA rules that significantly weakend state authority to protect rivers from the harmful effects of hydropower dams. American Whitewater is committed to protecting the ability of states to assure that hydropower dams meet state water quality standards.

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Updates about the Dolores River (CO) Releases

05/03/2023 - by Hattie Johnson

The following includes the information from the Dolores River Spill team and is posted on the Dolores Water Conservancy District’s website. They update their release page every Tuesday and Thursday during a release season with a lot of information on expected flows. American Whitewater will continue to share those posts when there are significant changes is flows from McPhee dam. Please note that the Dove Creek Pump Station road is open and is currently releasing 3400 cfs from McPhee dam.

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California 2023 Scheduled Recreational Releases & Opportunities

05/01/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

California paddling adventures abound during this wet water year! Here are the confirmed recreational releases or forecasted whitewater opportunities ordered by date for the North Fork Mokelumne River, South Fork Silver Creek, North Fork Feather River, Pit River, and the San Joaquin River. American Whitewater coordinates these whitewater releases and opportunities with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Southern California Edison (SCE). All scheduled recreational flows can be viewed on the American Whitewater calendar here. 

Photo by Trevor Croft - Rafting Magazine - Whitewater paddlers at American Whitewater's Annual Feather River Festival


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New NC Forest Plan, Cause for Both Celebration and Disappointment

02/20/2023 - by Kevin Colburn

On February 17, 2023, the US Forest Service released their long awaited new management plan for the 1.1 million acre Nantahala Pisgah National Forest, which will set the course of federal management of the area for the next two decades or longer. The Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership (the Partnership), a collaborative group of which American Whitewater is an active member, has spent the past decade developing recommendations for the Plan to improve the management of the Forest. The Plan has both reasons for celebration and reasons for concern when it comes to the future of these special lands and the rivers that flow through them. While we’ll be doing a deep analysis of the Plan, we have some early reflections to share.  

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Washington Legislature Paddlesports Education Program Shelved (updated)

02/17/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

For the past several years the Washington State legislature has had an interest in improving paddlesports safety and reducing fatalities. It’s a good thing to have the legislature interested in boating safety and we are pleased that it has helped raise the profile of Washington State’s Boating Safety Program. While the interest in boating safety is appreciated, the specific legislative proposals introduced over the past few years have had issues and not advanced out of committee and that was again the case this session. Various ideas have included a Boater Education Card, vessel registration, and mandatory requirements to wear a Personal Floatation Device. With a new session underway, the legislature came back with SB 5597 and HB 1781, legislation that would establish a new boater education card and $10 fee for paddlesports that effectively represents a license to paddle

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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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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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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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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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