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AW Launches Hiwassee Dries (TN/NC) Flow Survey

Posted: 10/30/2019
By: Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has long had an interest in restoring flows to the 13-mile long, biologically diverse Hiwassee River Dries. This section of river is severely dewatered by the Apalachia Dam's hydropower diversion tunnel. This beautiful stretch of TVA-managed river stands in stark contrast to other privately dammed rivers in the region that have been restored through the Federal dam relicensing process. American Whitewater is gathering information on the recreational, hydrological, and ecological attributes of the river in order to create a science-based vision for a restored Hiwassee Dries. We plan to collaboratively explore opportunities to bring this vision - and the river - to life through working with regional decision-makers and natural resource experts.

One part of our inquiry is to better understand recreational flow preferences on the river. During occasional times of very high inflows or hydropower project maintenance the Dries roar back to life as water is released directly through the gates of Apalachia Dam. Paddlers have taken advantage of these flows over the years and made numerous descents of the Class III/IV river. If you have paddled this reach we want to hear from you with your honest assessment of the flows you have experienced or can estimate. We have created an online survey to hone in on the recreational flow preferences of paddlers. Ultimately this will help us create proposals for flow restoration that meet ecological and recreational goals in an integrated manner.

If you have paddled the Dries, please take just a few minutes and fill out this survey:

We'd like to share a big shout out to American Whitewater intern Katie Schmidt (pictured) for helping with this survey and the Hiwassee Dries Project!

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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