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Southeast Advanced Release Dates for 2020

Posted: 12/18/2019
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 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. Our flow restoration work in the region continues as we work towards restoration of the Great Falls of the Catawba in 2022 and the Hiwassee Dries on an unknown timeline.

Below are the 2020 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers. The most common question we get is why the releases overlap, and can't instead be spread out across more weekends. The answer is that each river's releases have specific requirements for the months or weeks in which they can occur that are written into the dam license based on ecological, recreational, and water supply reasons. For example there must always be some Cheoah, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah releases in April, and there are too many releases to not have some overlap. American Whitewater strives to reduces overlap as much as possible when we work with our partners to schedule these flows.

We'd like to remind paddlers to support local businesses when you paddle these (and other) rivers if you are so inclined. In our meetings on the Cheoah for example, Graham County and the Town of Robbinsville have shared that they are very interested in welcoming paddlers to stay, shop, eat, and drink in their communities. When you roll up to a restaurant with boats on top of your car people notice, and it helps rural business owners as well as our work to restore rivers in partnership with local leaders.

Enjoy these releases, big thanks to all the volunteers and agency staff that make these releases possible, be safe out there, and we appreciate your support of this work.


2/22: Cheoah @1000 8am-12pm, 600 12pm-5pm (note 2/23 is @ 200cfs)


3/21: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm, 600 4pm-12am

3/22: Cheoah@600 12am-12pm, 300 12pm through 3/23


4/4: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm; Tallulah @ 500 8am-4pm

4/5: Cheoah @1000 8am-2pm & 850 2pm-4pm; Tallulah @ 700 8am-4pm

4/11:Tallulah @ 500 8am-4pm

4/12:Tallulah @ 700 8am-4pm

4/18: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm; Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 250 10am-4pm

4/19: Cheoah @1000 8am-2pm & 850 2pm-4pm; (Note 4/20 is @ 300 until 4pm); Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 350 10am-4pm

4/25:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm 

4/26:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm 


5/9: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm

5/10: Cheoah @1000 8am-2pm & 850 2pm-4pm

5/23: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm

5/24: Cheoah @1000 8am-2pm & 850 2pm-4pm


6/6:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm

6/12: Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 250 4pm-7pm

6/20: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm

6/21: Cheoah @1000 8am-2pm & 850 2pm-4pm


7/10: Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 250 4pm-7pm

7/11:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm

7/24: Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 250 4pm-7pm

7/25:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm


8/8:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm

8/14: Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 250 4pm-7pm

8/22:West Fork Tuck @ 250 10am-4pm


9/5: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm

9/26:Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 300, 10am-5pm

9/27: Upper Nantahala / Cascades @ 425, 10am-3pm; @ 250 3pm-5pm


10/24: Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm


11/7: Tallulah @ 500 8am-4pm

11/8: Tallulah @ 700 8am-4pm

11/14: Tallulah @ 500 8am-4pm; Cheoah @1000 8am-4pm

11/15: Tallulah @ 700 8am-4pm

11/21: Tallulah @ 500 8am-4pm

11/22: Tallulah @ 700 8am-4pm

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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