Great Falls of the Catawba Good and Getting Better! (SC)
11/27/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
We are happy to share a few updates on the Great Falls of the Catawba that we think you'll enjoy as we reflect on the river’s first year of restored flows. First and foremost the first season was very successful with lots of happy visitors, consistent flow operations, and relatively few safety issues. With this said, we are still learning a lot about the river and how people want to visit it. A recent survey and meeting shed light on what we are learning and how things are shaping up for next year.
2024 Southeast Advanced Release Calendar Announced!
11/20/2023 - 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. In this article you'll find the 2024 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers.
Utility Releases Fast-Track Plans for Removing Dams on California’s Eel River
11/17/2023 - by Scott Harding
The removal of two dams blocking Northern California’s Eel River is one step closer to happening. The owner of the dams, PG&E, just released its initial draft plan for dismantling the Scott and Cape Horn dams as early as 2028–a remarkably fast timeline. But PG&E also included a more complex alternate plan meant to satisfy irrigators, which could potentially delay the dam removal. Photo: Scott Dam by Kyle Schwartz.
Georgia Committee Considers Public Rights on Rivers
11/17/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
This fall the newly formed Georgia House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources sought public input on fishing rights on Georgia's waterways. As the Committee’s efforts come to a close this month, they may or may not recommend that the House of Representatives draft legislation regarding the public’s rights on rivers and streams in Georgia. Any such legislation, if adopted, could limit or confirm paddlers' legal rights to paddle rivers and streams in Georgia. American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Georgia Canoeing Association, and Georgia River Network recently wrote a letter to the Committee advocating for the long-held public right to paddle. American Whitewater and our partners will be closely following this issue in the weeks and months ahead, including reviewing any report issued by the Committee in the coming month.
Senator Tester Reintroduces the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act!
11/17/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
U.S. Senator Jon Tester reintroduced his Montana Headwaters Legacy Act (MHLA) on Thursday, setting the stage to double the number of protected river miles in Montana. If signed into law, the legislation would protect 20 rivers and 384 river miles in the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone river systems by adding them to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. A Wild and Scenic River designation is the highest form of federal river protection in the United States and would permanently protect the free-flowing nature, water quality, and outstandingly remarkable values of some of Montana’s most cherished rivers. Among the iconic waterways that would gain protection under the MHLA are the Boulder, Gallatin, Madison, Smith, Stillwater, and Yellowstone. We are asking for paddlers to encourage the other three members of Montana’s congressional delegation to get behind the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act in the coming weeks.
Help Protect Utah Mountain Creeks - DEADLINE TODAY!
11/16/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz
We need your help to protect the future of Utah’s creeks and the deadline is TODAY at midnight. The Manti La Sal National Forests have released a draft management plan for a 1.4 million acre landscape without any real protections for rivers and without a single mention of river recreation. The Manti mountains are home to unique Utah creeks, including Cottonwood, Ferron, Huntington and Left Fork Huntington creeks. Take Action Today to Protect These Creeks Using Our Easy Action Form!
A Vision for the Future of the Lower White Salmon River (WA)
11/09/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe
The Lower White Salmon Coalition, formed in 2016, is releasing its Vision Plan for the approximately five hundred acres of land owned by PacifiCorp along the lower White Salmon River representing the former project lands for the Condit Hydroelectric Project. For whitewater boaters this includes the Lower Gorge from Buck Creek to the Columbia River. “As a signatory to the settlement agreement for removal of Condit Dam, American Whitewater has long supported the restoration and conservation of the White Salmon River that provides critical coldwater habitat and a long paddling season that attracts paddlers from around the world,” said Thomas O’Keefe, the Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater. “We are pleased to join the broader community in presenting a vision that can guide future opportunities to meet community interests and protect the ecological integrity of the river.”
An Important Milestone on the Klamath – Removal of the Copco 2 Dam Complete!
11/09/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe
Crews spent October putting the final touches on the removal of the Copco No. 2 Dam on California’s Klamath River, removing the remaining diversion infrastructure, grading the river channel, and performing erosion control. Deconstruction of the dam structure was completed in September. This work prepares the river canyon for consistent river flows, something which the river canyon below the dam hasn’t seen in 98 years. Restored flows in this reach will provide new whitewater boating opportunities on a section of river that has been dewatered and inaccessible to the public. Only a handful of boaters have ever been able to experience this run. American Whitewater secured the removal of nearly 1,000 trees below Copco No. 2 as a part of the official dam removal project process. They were removed by helicopter in September in collaboration with area Tribes and without their removal would have created a significant hazard for river runners.
2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION - CURRENT MEMBERS PLEASE VOTE NOW!
11/09/2023 - 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, 2023. American Whitewater has three Director Nominees to fill three open seats in this election, and you may vote for up to three candidates on the slate. The ballot for our Board of Directors election is placed online here.
Crystal River Community Meets to Discuss River Protection
11/09/2023 - by Hattie Johnson
On October 26th, community members of the Crystal River Valley convened at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale to learn about a suite of approaches that would provide protections to the river. This was the second of two public meetings hosted by the Crystal Wild and Scenic and Other Alternatives Feasibility Steering Committee who have been meeting monthly since this past April. The group is chaired by Pitkin and Gunnison counties, Town of Marble, and the Colorado River Water Conservation District with the express purpose of hearing from diverse stakeholders as to what they hope to see for the future of the Crystal River.
National Forest Rivers to Receive Protections in Colorado
11/09/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz
On the western slope of Colorado, twenty-two new rivers are poised to receive administrative protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Whitewater has been advocating for river protections on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) for nearly a decade and we are closing in on the finish line. While there is a lot to celebrate in the revised Forest Plan, this week, American Whitewater filed formal objections to the plan. We asked the Forest Service to acknowledge and protect the boating opportunities on Daisy Creek and the Slate River, calling them out for not considering the robust information American Whitewater and our members have provided on how special these rivers are. We also asked the Forest to implement stronger management measures on eligible rivers.
It’s Time to Support River Access in Colorado!
11/09/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz
Colorado Gives Day is happening now through December 5! Donate today to have your dollars go even further in supporting American Whitewater’s river access work in Colorado. American Whitewater works with landowners and managers, paddlers, law enforcement, and lawmakers to improve Colorado's river access laws and the ongoing threats to public safety. Colorado is the only state in the west that has yet to determine the extent of the public's rights to float and recreate on streams running through private property. American Whitewater is committed to finding long-term solutions for river access in Colorado and this program will support that work. Thank you for supporting our River Access Program in Colorado!
American Whitewater Secures Grant Funding for Wilson Creek USGS Gage (NC)
11/09/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to announce that we were awarded a Google Data Center Grant of $5,000 to help fund the USGS water level gage on Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek. American Whitewater worked in partnership with Duke Energy and the USGS on the construction and initial funding for the gage, which came on-line three years ago and has proven invaluable to the recreating public. The water level gage, which requires annual funding, supports thousands of diverse recreationists as they plan trips to Wilson Creek, which offers visitors crystalline water, sandy beaches, and sunny bedrock banks. The online US Geologic Survey gage requires an annual payment of approximately $7,400, and funding is now secured for 2024!
Index-Galena Road Providing North Fork Skykomish Access Repaired! (WA)
11/06/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe
Nearly 20 years ago, the Index-Galena Road which provides access to the North Fork Skykomish River sustained heavy damage in a high water event that washed away portions of the road between milepost 6 and 7. The onset of fall rains coincided with the opening of the new road this past weekend and whitewater boaters have been among the first recreational users to get out and enjoy the restored access. We are pleased that the sustained efforts of our members and many partners helped keep this project on track.
Paddlers' Opinions Sought on Catawba River's Great Falls (SC)
10/17/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater and our partners are seeking paddlers' input on how you used the Great Falls of the Catawba River (SC) in 2023, how you plan to visit the area next year, and what your impressions of the run are. We'll be meeting with Duke Energy and other partners like Catawba Riverkeeper in a few weeks to discuss lessons-learned from this year and to plan next year. Your input matters, and will help us maximize the recreational benefits of the Great Falls for years to come. To inform our planning meeting we've put together a survey for Great Falls paddlers. Let us know what you think! Take the survey here within the next week or so: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TZCYHWQ
PG&E PROPOSAL IMPACTS 500 MILES OF CA RIVERS
10/11/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) operates 22 hydropower projects on 500 river miles across California that American Whitewater has spent nearly 30 years of work to protect and restore. This includes whitewater reaches on the North Fork Feather, the Pit, the McCloud, Butte Creek, Fordyce, the South Yuba, the Bear, the Eel, the Mokelumne, the San Joaquin and the North Fork Kings. Now, in an application before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E is proposing to transfer all non-nuclear assets including these 22 hydropower projects to a new and separate subsidiary, Pacific Generation LLC (PacGen). American Whitewater, believes that the CPUC should not simply rubber stamp the largest, unprecedented, and “first of its kind” handover of hydropower assets. This asset transfer will impact dam safety and the operation and maintenance of multiple projects that restore ecological and recreational releases to our rivers. We need paddlers to help persuade the CPUC to take heed. Read on to learn more and find out how you can help!
Pit River (CA) Whitewater Boating Opportunities in September & October
09/04/2023 - by Scott Harding
Every late summer and early fall, it’s time for boating on California’s Pit River when the hydropower boating flow releases that American Whitewater has secured come into play. Here’s how it looks this season: there’s more whitewater than usual!
New EPA Rule Greatly Reduces Clean Water Act Protections
08/31/2023 - by Kevin Colburn
Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new federal rule that eliminates protection for a majority of our nation’s wetlands and estimated totals of well over a million miles of streams. The rule aligns the law with a recent Supreme Court Case that limited the kinds of wetlands and streams that can be covered by the Clean Water Act. American Whitewater joined an amicus brief in that pivotal court case, advocating for the science-based protection of these streams and wetlands, but the Supreme Court ruled against us. American Whitewater and the paddling community have been stalwart advocates for the Clean Water Act through decades of various rules, legislation, and litigation. This will not change: we'll seek opportunities to restore river protections at the state and federal level in the months and years ahead following this setback.
Protection for the Headwaters of the Illinois and North Fork Smith Rivers (OR)
07/27/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe
We are pleased to report that Representative Val Hoyle, the new representative for Oregon's 4th Congressional District has reintroduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act (SOWSPA) as her first piece of conservation legislation. This legislation will permanently protect the headwaters of Southwest Oregon’s outstanding collection of wild rivers—including the National Wild and Scenic Illinois and the National Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith, plus Pistol River and Hunter Creek—from the threat of mining in the headwaters.
Help Protect the Greater Grand Canyon Area!
07/10/2023 - by Kestrel Kunz
American Whitewater has joined a tribally led effort to protect 1.1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon as a National Monument. The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument would protect important landscapes and sensitive tributaries on the north and south rims. Use your voice now to help protect the Grand Canyon by signing this petition! Please reach out to email@example.com if you would like to volunteer as a local advocate for this effort in the greater Grand Canyon region. We need dedicated advocates to attend public meetings, author letters in local papers, and contact elected officials.