Flow Surveys Announced for the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers (CO)
American Whitewater needs your help to define stream flows that support the full range of recreational boating opportunities on the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers. Information collected by this study will be used to understand existing use on the river, quantify acceptable flows for all segments on the mainstem rivers, and assist in defining the economic impact river recreation has on the region. Please fill out the survey today! Click here for the Crystal survey and here for the Roaring Fork Survey.
AW Objects to Brookfield Refusal to Reschedule Cheoah Releases (NC)
The owner of Santeetlah Dam, Brookfield, has refused requests to reschedule eight spring releases on the Cheoah River that were cancelled because of Covid-19. Today, American Whitewater filed a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require Brookfield make up at least half of the cancelled releases later this year. The request comes after Brookfield delayed a meeting to reschedule releases for three months and then flatly refused to provide any make-up releases. Similar releases on nearby dams operated by other owners were rescheduled willingly and without issue, and offered the public valuable late summer and early fall paddling opportunities.
Help Designate Over 1000 Miles of New Wild and Scenic Rivers
We've got an opportunity to designate over 1000 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers and we need your voice to help make it happen. The must-pass National Defense Authorization Act has a package of key public lands and rivers protections attached to it, including new Wild and Scenic designations that the AW staff worked directly with key members of Congress to include, and for which we now need you to reach out to your representative in support of to ensure they're included in the final bill. We make it too easy with our super simple action form, but please remember, if you have an extra moment, personalizing your message makes it all the more impactful. This package, including protections for the Grand Canyon, Wild Olympics in Washington, the Dolores in Colorado, and several landscapes in California, is not guaranteed to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act - It's up to us to make it happen, so take action today.
Gauley Fest 2020 Coming to Your Home Sept 23!
In an effort to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and the communities that host our events as safe as possible, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel all AW events in 2020, including our traditional Gauley Fest throwdown in West Virginia. Not as rowdy, and in need of more support than ever, Gauley Fest 2020 is happening this year! Although a little differently… maybe a lot differently - we are going virtual. This decision was not an easy one to make, but we are excited for you to join the first-ever virtual Gauley Fest! We have speakers, films, BIG prize drawings, and fun, all designed to create an amazing event for everyone and help keep the Gauley spirit alive. The event will take place at 7:30 pm EST on Wednesday, September 23rd. Attendance is free and registering is easy http://bit.ly/GauleyFest_2020
Gore Fest 2020 – Virtual Edition
Thanks to our industry partner, Down River Equipment, and top membership drawing sponsor, Rocky Mountain Rafts, we were able to give away a full overnight raft set up to new and renewing Gore Fest members. When we first began planning this virtual event, we set our membership goal at a modest 100 memberships. We exactly doubled that goal, with 200 new memberships and over half of those at Ender Club level or higher. Our membership drawing was also supported by the generous donations from Pyranha, Hala Gear, Kokatat, and Yakima.
September Volunteer of the Month - Dave 'Hojo' Hajoglou--Presented by Kokatat
Dave Hajoglou - more commonly known as Hojo - is American Whitewater's September Volunteer of the Month. Hojo is an absolutely integral part of the Gore Canyon Festival every year. Providing his software genius through his company Wavemonkey Scoring, Hojo times the Gore Race and judges and scores the freestyle event at the Pumphouse wave all free of charge. He doesn't just show up with a computer either. Hojo is involved year-round in the planning and preparation, always looking for ways improve the smoothness and safety of our competitive events. However, most enjoyably Hojo has taken on the emcee role at the awards ceremony even going so far as joining the performing bands with a hot harmonica solo.
Improved Flow Releases Begin on Sullivan Creek (WA)
Releases from Sullivan Lake will begin ramping Sullivan Creek flows up to boatable levels immediately following Labor Day next week, and will maintain elevated flows for much of the fall. Historic fall drawdown releases were modified to be earlier in the fall, colder, at lower flows, and to have a slower ramp-up through a 2010 Settlement Agreement that American Whitewater worked on extensively. These changes make the draw-down releases better for fish, better for paddling, and more valuable to downstream water users and the local utility and rate-payers. The removal of Mill Pond Dam required the negotiated flow schedule be delayed for several years following approval. With the dam now removed, the new flows will begin.
Gauley Season 2020
While Gauley Fest has moved to a virtual format for 2020 due to Covid-19 and social distancing concerns, releases on the Gauley River will still take place. American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This information will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River for the 2020 season.
Upper Nantahala and WF Tuck Releases Rescheduled (NC) (CORRECTION)
This spring many dam releases had to be cancelled across the country due to Covid-19 related travel and staffing restrictions, including several releases on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee and Upper Nantahala. American Whitewater has worked with Duke Energy and other stakeholders to reschedule these releases for this fall! There will be rescheduled Upper Nantahala releases August 29 and September 12, and rescheduled West Fork Tuck releases October 17 and 25. Enjoy!
UPDATE: CALIFORNIA SCHEDULED RECREATIONAL RELEASES
In California during the midst of COVID 19, American Whitewater has made a commitment to work with local counties, state & federal land management agencies and hydropower utilities to get paddlers the most up to date status of scheduled recreational flows for 2020. Here is the status of scheduled releases for NF Feather Rock Creek, Pit 5 and SF Feather Little Grass Valley. The most up to date information can also be found on our calendar here:
Check Out the Deerfield Fest Virtual Edition 2020 Video
Northeast boaters came together to support American Whitewater at the (virtual) Deerfield Fest Membership Event on June 26th . The event celebrated 25 years of whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in Western Massachusetts and featured great music, local legends, awesome giveaways from our industry partners, and updates on our stewardship work in the region. Check out the archived event here.
Request for Proposals – AW Produced Short Films on Basic Whitewater Safety
With a recent grant from the United States Coast Guard, American Whitewater is launching a project to produce two films on basic whitewater safety. We are issuing this Request for Proposals for assistance in this effort. For details and to submit a proposal please see this document - RFP American Whitewater Basic Whitewater Safety Films 2020
Proposals are due September 11, 2020
Gore Fest 2020 Coming to Your Home on September 1
Gore Fest has the decades-long tradition of hosting one of Colorado's premiere downriver races. In the past five years it has expanded to include multiple events, bringing together kayakers, rafters, stand-up paddle boarders, families, and river enthusiasts from all over the region to celebrate a cornerstone river in the Colorado whitewater community. Unfortunately, due to concerns surrounding public safety because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have restructured the event to an online format. This decision was not an easy one to make, but we are excited for you to join the first-ever virtual Gore Fest! We have speakers, films, photo competitions, and prize drawings all to create an amazing event for everyone. The event will take place at 7 pm MST on Tuesday, September 1st. Attendance is free and to register follow this link.
SUBMIT YOUR BEST PHOTOS FOR THE AW CALENDAR BY AUGUST 14TH
Submit your best photos for American Whitewater's annual calendar! The deadline is August 14th, 2020. Use this online submission form and we look forward to seeing your entires. You'll get a free copy of the calendar if your photo is chosen, and you'll know you helped support AW's river stewardship projects as we sell these calendars as a fundraiser. Images that feature rivers with current, past or future American Whitewater projects, and images that represent a diversity in season, craft type, river trip length, river difficulty, and/or geography, will be given the highest consideration, but all compelling photos will be considered. Thank you!
Protect Flows at the New Fort Collins Whitewater Park (CO)
Take action to protect instream flows in the Poudre! The Larimer County Commissioners are reviewing the 1041 permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and accepting public comment right now. NISP will remove peak flows from the Poudre River for the next 20-30 years at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon, and disrupt invaluable ecological and recreational resources like the Poudre River Whitewater Park. In late 2019, the City of Fort Collins officially opened the Whitewater Park, and since then hundreds of people a day can be seen paddling and enjoying the access to the river the whitewater park provides. If NISP is approved, this brand new and highly popular recreational area will be rendered nearly useless for boaters, and would reduce the appeal of visiting the river district in general. Use this easy action form to let the Larimer County Commissioners know that they should vote to reject this permit and work towards a plan that protects recreational flows through the County.
**If you live in Larimer County, you should also consider providing testimony on this issue at the August 24th County Commissioners meeting. Thank you!
New Watauga River Put In Open! (NC)
Today marks the official opening of the new Guy Ford River Access Area on the Watauga River. The paddling community has long sought permanent public access to the classic Watauga River Gorge which serves as a staple for Class IV+ paddlers throughout the region. American Whitewater owns and manages the Sherwood Horine Takeout thanks to donations and volunteers, and worked closely with the many individuals and organizations that purchased and developed the new put in. We'd like to offer our special thanks to volunteer Edgar Peck for his role in facilitating the new access site, and to all the paddlers who donated funds for its purchase. Check out a great write up of the new access site, and enjoy using it!
Governor Inslee Directs State Agencies to Cease Chehalis Dam Efforts (WA)
This past week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee directed Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Chehalis Basin Board to cease planning efforts and environmental review of a proposed new dam on the Chehalis River and instead develop and present a basin-wide, non-dam alternative to flood damage reduction. American Whitewater appreciates the Governor's decision that is responsive to concerns we raised throughout the environmental review process.
New Hydropower Legislation; A Bad Deal For Rivers
The recently introduced "Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act" by Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) represents a short-sighted effort that would roll back critical river and clean water protections, cut the public out of decision-making in hydropower licensing, and put whitewater rivers at risk. This legislation would undermine our ability to successfully restore river health and opportunities for whitewater recreation. It is counterproductive to finding collaborative solutions that meet our nation's energy needs in a manner that adequately considers environmental impacts of hydropower. We stand ready to work together with the hydropower industry but this legislation represents the wrong approach.
Bear River Releases Rescheduled for Late Summer (ID)
Recreational releases were cancelled on many rivers this spring due to Covid-related travel restrictions and concerns, including several releases on the Black Canyon of the Bear River in Idaho. American Whitewater has worked with the dam owner to reschedule Black Canyon releases for late summer, specifically August 29 & 30, and September 12 & 13. These releases offer paddlers a rare opportunity to enjoy the Bear River late in the recreation season. In addition, irrigation flows of approximately 200-500cfs are currently being delivered through the Black Canyon all summer, creating additional and rare lower-water paddling opportunities 24-hours a day for the rest of the summer through the second week of September.
New River Dries to Flow Free This Fall (WV)
The owners of Hawks Nest Dam on the New River Dries is undertaking a thorough inspection of the Hawks Nest Tunnel this fall, something that has not been done since completion of the tunnel over 85 years ago. This work, slated to begin on September 8, 2020 and last for 60 days, will require drawing down the reservoir 20+ feet and will result in 2 months of natural flows in the New River Dries. The drawdown may also expose seldom-seen rapids on the New River beneath the Hawks Nest Reservoir. Enjoy this special fall Dries season!