Storm Events Cancel Rec Releases SF American River below Slab Creek (CA)
03/13/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman
Scheduled releases for the South Fork American River below Slab Creek for this weekend March 18th and 19th have been cancelled and will be rescheduled to April 15th and 16th. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has informed American Whitewater that storm event modeling indicate impacts to their ability to physically control releases below Slab Creek Dam. Also, in anticipation of uncontrolled spill over the dam, SMUD elected to remove log booms from Slab Creek reservoir to protect them from high-water damage. Since the booms will not be in place and SMUD does not feel confident that they can control inflows, they have elected to reschedule. (See California Data Exchange Center Slab Creek information here)
American Whitewater River Safety Film Series Continues with New Films
03/09/2023 - by Evan Stafford
American Whitewater is proud to announce the continuation of our river safety films series, with two new releases available now! Tools of the Trade – Choosing Your Craft and Furthering Rescue and River Running Skills, offer short, up to date and easily digestible tips to help keep you and your friends safe on the water. Choosing the right vehicle for the right river is essential to safe river running, and we cover safety tips specific to individual crafts in our third film and we cover basic river running techniques, common rescue situations and simple solutions for solving them in our fourth film.
Designed to simply and effectively communicate the most basic elements of whitewater safety, these films provide a basis for the essential but not always accessible or readily available river knowledge that anyone wishing to spend time in a river environment should know. Produced by American Whitewater under a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard, directed and edited by Mountain Mind Media, and beautifully shot in locations across the country, there has never been a more approachable and compelling film series designed to increase basic river safety knowledge and understanding. Our hope is that everyone from professional instructors, outfitters, whitewater clubs, national parks and national forests to retail shops, whitewater centers and individual paddlers will adopt these films and share them with new and experienced paddlers alike, as we strive for a more knowledgeable and safe community. You can find all of our safety films at our YouTube channel.
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.
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
New Clean Water Act Rule Released, Rivers Benefit
01/04/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released a new final rule governing which streams and wetlands will be covered by the Clean Water Act. If this sounds familiar, it is for good reason: this issue has been the subject of perennial debate and changes made by various administrations and courts for at least the past two decades. But, for today, for rivers, it is time to celebrate! The new rule, which will likely take effect in 60 days, will restore protections for many of America’s wetlands and streams that had lost protection under the previous version of the rule. Desert rivers are particularly big winners under the new rule, as protections for many of these rivers were lost under the prior rule and will now return.
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.
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.
American Whitewater Opposes Legislation to Undermine Clean Water Act
09/23/2022 - by Bob Nasdor
Local Coalition Celebrates Commission Ruling to Protect Colorado's Waters
09/09/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clackamas River Open for River Runners (OR)
05/01/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe
We are pleased to report that the Clackamas River corridor is now open and available to the
public. Oregon Highway 224 above Estacada was re-opened Sunday May 1st after a closure that was
implemented in September 2020 following the Riverside Fire and lasted 20 months. While we are
pleased that the river corridor has been re-opened, we believe the amount of tree removal was
excessive, the length of the closure was longer than necessary, and the Forest Service did not
appropriately engage the public. American Whitewater is actively coordinating with other user
groups and will continue to explore potential administrative and legislative actions to provide
greater accountability and transparency for how closures are implemented and communicated to the
Electron Dam Operator Signs Agreement to Protect Puyallup River (WA)
03/25/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe
A coalition of conservation groups has reached an agreement with the operators of the Electron hydroelectric project on the Puyallup River to preserve safeguards for threatened Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. The groups had sued over the facility’s illegal killing of these imperiled fish. The agreement will keep the project from operating until and unless operators can address the project’s unacceptable impacts to federally protected native fish threatened with extinction.
Klamath River Dam Removal Takes Important Step Forward (OR/CA)
02/28/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the proposed removal of four Klamath River dams, recommending that the dams be removed. FERC confirmed that dam removal will bring permanent and significant benefits to multiple resources, including fisheries, water quality, and recreation. This represents an important step for the project to move forward in 2023. The public is now invited to comment by April 18th [extended to April 25th] on the DEIS which describes the impacts and benefits of the project.
It’s Finally Time to Protect Colorado’s West Slope Rivers!
08/16/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz
Today, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Unit announced the much-anticipated release of the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft Plan materials were released on Friday, August 13, initiating a 90-day review period. The GMUG National Forest is home to gems like Oh-Be-Joyful Creek, the Taylor River, Norwood Canyon on the San Miguel, and numerous others. Many of these rivers are free-flowing and offer outstanding values, including paddling, breathtaking scenery, fish habitat, and profound history and culture. This point in the plan revision process is the most important time for the river community to engage and speak up to protect our beloved West Slope rivers in Colorado!
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