Changes to Upper Yough Permit Yield April Saturday Releases (MD)
The State of Maryland issued a new permit for the Deep Creek Hydroelectric Project earlier this fall that offered the river and its visitors some incremental enhancements to the flow release program. The State hosted several public meetings during 2020 and considered public comments to help shape the new permit, which typically lasts for roughly a decade.
The most important change for paddlers is that moving forward, recreational releases in April will be on Saturdays rather than Fridays. This proposal found unanimous support in meetings, was supported by 50 paddlers who submitted comments, and will benefit more paddlers. In addition to scheduled recreation flows, at least half of discretionary releases made for power generation at flows below 300 cfs at Hoyes must now include full stable flows for the first two hours of the release, rather than variable flows. This will help ensure adequate flows and a predictable descent for paddlers. Paddlers might also notice some small changes to temperature enhancement releases, including releases triggered at 11am being released at 11:30 rather than 12:30, and the season for theses releases extending to September 15. The State rejected proposals that would have prioritized reservoir levels over downstream releases.
These are well supported decisions that make the Upper Yough an even better place to paddle. Local paddlers and leaders like Roger Zbel and Jess Whittemore played leading roles in speaking up for paddlers, and Bob Allen represented American Whitewater as a local volunteer. Big thanks to these folks, all the paddlers who submitted comments, and the State of Maryland for keeping the Upper Yough awesome.
More information can be explored on the state permit webpage.