Posted: 04/14/2003
by Thomas J. Christopher


As of noon today AW received word the New England Army Corps of Engineers has
capitulated and reversed their earlier, faulty decision on whitewater releases
at Ball Mountain Dam on the West River in Jamaica, Vermont.

The full flows of 1,500 cfs have been restored for both days this spring,
instead of the abbreviated flow of 1,000 cfs they originally defined as part of
a new policy to support aquatic base flow recommendations from the U. S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. They have asked American Whitewater and New England FLOW to
meet with them later in May or June.

While this is good news for whitewater boaters and paddlers, this decision still
does not address conditions on other Corps dams throughout New England. The
Corps also did not address the popular fall releases held each September on the
West River.

A recent posting on "Boater Talk" suggested this decision was made because of a
"typographical error" on the part of the Corps, and there was no intent to
inhibit or eliminate these releases. This is not true, but a rumor started by
the Corps to quell the enormous amount of email being received from boaters
throughout New England and the US. In direct communication late last week by
telephone with AW Conservation Chair, Tom Christopher, Corps staff specifically
told him releases were being cut back. Now they are claiming otherwise.

One boater communication stated, " When my daughter told us she was being
married this fall, we told her to make sure it didn't conflict with the West
River releases".
This effort is a great example of how boaters can be successful in influencing
policy makers, when they work together. Christopher stated that he received
well over a hundred emails over the weekend from boaters.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to pull together--GOOD

Associated Projects

West River (VT)
Paddlers have long enjoyed and defended the few recreational releases on Vermont's West River. New hydro proposals may offer opportunities or impacts.