Earlier today American Whitewater filed comments on the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) proposal to largely maintain the existing whitewater release schedule on both the upper and middle Ocoee River for the next 15 years. These comments are on the "scoping" stage of TVA's analysis in which they ask the public which issues and alternatives TVA should study in an Environmental Assessment or Impact Statement.
American Whitewater asks TVA in our comments to ensure that no net loss in releases occur and that no new fees be imposed on private boaters. We ask that they study the economic benefit of the Ocoee River release program, as well as consider the benefits the releases are known to have on a rare plant species. Lastly, we ask them to consider improved takeout facilities on the Middle Ocoee River and expanded put-in parking hours on the Upper Ocoee.
Our comments were informed by a survey of paddlers that we conducted last year that drew over 760 responses. Thanks to all the paddlers that participated. Today (7/19/17) is the final day that TVA is accepting comments, but paddlers will have the opportunity to comment on TVA's analysis again when they release their draft environmental assessment sometime in the next year or so. To file a last minute comment or learn more about TVA's initial thinking, click here.
A big shout out to NRS for their support of our work on this project!