AW Requests Study of New River Dries (WV)
On Friday, American Whitewater formally requested several studies as part of the relicensing of the Hawks Nest Dam, which significantly de-waters the New River Dries in West Virginia. In addition to our study requests, we offered evidence of the hydropower project's effects on whitewater recreation.
Hydrologic analysis conducted by AW volunteer Adam Rettig found that over the past five years the hydropower project eliminated likely paddling opportunities on an average of 239 days annually. The hydropower project also disproportionately eliminates summer, predictable, and low to moderate volume flows in the river.
Based on this analysis, American Whitewater requested three studies to help inform forthcoming decisions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that will define a new flow regime for the river reach. First, we requested a full whitewater flow study to define the flows, access, and flow information needed to support various forms of paddling. Second, we requested a hydrologic study to assess the ecological value of flow restoration alternatives. Lastly, we requested a study of the anticipated economic benefits of flow restoration alternatives.
We will be working with the power company and other stakeholders over the next two years to complete these studies (assuming FERC grants our requests) and to collaboratively expore opportunities to restore significant flows to the New River Dries.
Our comments can be downloaded and read here, and we would like to express our gratitude to Adam Rettig for helping us with this analysis!
New River Dries (WV)
The Hawks Nest Dam de-waters six miles of the New River most of the time, and the relicensing of the dam began in 2012.