American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.
The Gore Canyon Festival is the premiere whitewater event in Colorado. Focused around the Class IV-V downriver race through Gore Canyon, GoreFest has brought the worlds elite whitewater athletes together for an awesome end to the Colorado boating season, but it also has events for everyone. From a family fun float through the class II/III Hartman Canyon (aka Little Gore Canyon), a freestyle rodeo at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, and SUP downriver and cross races to the party at Rancho del Rio feauturing camping, live music, movies, booths, food and drink, you're guaranteed to have a good time. To learn more go to our GoreFest18 page or check out our Facebook page.
American Whitewater is looking for information from paddlers that may have recently witnessed low-flying airplanes or helicopters over western rivers, so that we can share our members’ experience with the Federal Aviation Administration, Bureau of Land Management, and State agencies. Flying close to the river, surrounding terrain, or people on the river is prohibited.
Please take a moment to complete the following survey so that we can encourage compliance with these rules to ensure the safety of those on the water and ground.
American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Greg Lee, Rachel Jin and Alex Kerney as AW’s August Volunteers of the Month. This team worked together to create the new American Whitewater iOS app. The app is a great way to see which rivers are running near you and learn a bit about AW and it was an incredible gift to our organization and the paddling community. The app is a breeze to use, is getting great reviews, and we like it lot. Congratulations – and thanks!
August 2, 2018, the President's signature marked the exciting finale of nearly a decade of efforts to protect Montana's East Rosebud Creek from hydropower development and other impacts. Twenty miles of this beautiful stream were designated as a Wild and Scenic River as it flows from the rugged Beartooth Mountains between Big Timber and Red Lodge, Montana. East Rosebud is treasured by local residents, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and other visitors.
Over American Whitewater’s objections, Pacific Gas & Electric is again planning on a single four-day release on Pit 1 over the Columbus Day weekend. While we understand that this is their option per the language of the FERC license condition, we do not feel that PG&E's rationale for doing this again is in the spirit of the agreement negotiated during relicensing. Last year, the change by PG&E to move the fall releases to 4 consecutive days over Columbus Day weekend effectively reduced boating opportunity to two days since the overwhelming majority of paddlers could only boat on the weekend.
Submit your best photos for American Whitewater's annual calendar! It's super easy – just use our online submission form. Images must be submitted as high-resolution files (suitable for printing up to 10", at least 1MB) for inclusion in the calendar, without monetary compensation. Maximum 10 photo entries per person. We aim for diversity in seasons, boat types, river trip type, river difficulty, and geography. Got a snowy shot, fall leaves, or a steamy summer shot? How about photos of SUP, canoe tripping, or inflatables? Dont worry, we love kayaks too. Thanks!
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the creation of an endowment to promote safety education and outreach. The endowment will support “promoting whitewater safety, responsible on-river behavior, safety education and outreach, and maintenance of the American Whitewater Safety Code and Whitewater Accident Database.’ Anyone wishing to add to the fund can simply make a donation to American Whitewater here and include safety education in the comment field of the donation.
The Senate yesterday passed Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte’s bill that protects 20 miles of the East Rosebud in south-central Montana as part of the Wild and Scenic River System. Here at American Whitewater we are overjoyed by the bill's passage, and would like to thank the entire Montana delegation for working together in a bi-partisan way to protect this wonderful stream.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce that a free iPhone App is now available that shares realtime details on the over 5,500 whitewater runs in our National Whitewater Inventory. The new location-enabled app allows paddlers to learn about nearby rivers within a selected distance or state, and safely pick trips that meet their group’s skill level, flow preferences, and timeframe. It offers enhanced mapping and links paddlers to the rich crowd-sourced information and river-related news on the American Whitewater website.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 29th) in Friendsville it's time to recognize some people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore the Town of Friendsville for creating the parking lot. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, patronize local businesses, and contribute to AW's Access Fund in Sang Run or on line. And a special thank you to Don Millard who has mowed the access areas in both Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. If not for him you'd probably see a parking fee of $5 a head at both ends! Keep the good times coming! Don't forget to contribute!! Jeff Macklin photo.
American Whitewater is advocating for improved access conditions at New Bullards Bar Dam on California’s Yuba River. Access to the sections of whitewater below New Bullards Bar Dam involves putting in at the base of the Dam; a 0.75-mile-long, paved, private, gated road (posted “No Trespassing”) accesses the base of New Bullards Bar Dam. Absent legal access below the Dam, boaters are required to hike around the dam, scramble down a steep and unstable hillside or to hike in from side roads, which Yuba County Water Agency (YWCA) considers as trespassing on their lands.
On Tuesday July 17, 2018, the East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act passed the United States House of Representatives, clearing a make-or-break hurdle on the way to becoming law. Designation would protect twenty miles of East Rosebud Creek from hydropower dams and other impacts as it flows on Federal lands from the spectacular Beartooth Mountains in Montana. This broadly supported bipartisan bill would create the first Wild and Scenic River in Montana since 1976, on this, the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Just like the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, the Salmon-Challis National Forest will determine which streams to protect for potential Wild and Scenic designation through their forest plan over the coming year. The Forest Service needs to receive compelling photos, videos, and personal stories featuring these streams. Deadline is July 16, which is coming up fast!
American Whitewater provided Scoping Comments this week on the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In our comments we highlighted the fact that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and specifically the Coastal Plain, is one of the last truly wild landscapes in the United States. Oil and gas development activities that impact the unique visual and aesthetic values of the landscape and opportunities for an unparalleled wilderness-quality backcountry recreation experience—that includes unique wildlife-viewing opportunities—are of concern.
Interested in what we're up to at American Whitewater in 2018? Check out our Spring Stewardship Update! Designating new Wild and Scenic rivers, removing dams, pushing back against bad hydropower policy, protecting access to our favorite runs, and much more – we're getting it done in 2018, but we can't do it without your help. This stewardship work is possible only through your support, and your financial contribution plays a vital role in our success.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Tom Welander as June Volunteer Of The Month for his assistance analyzing data from our recent membership survey. He is a survey researcher with 25 years experience in the field. Tom's analysis was presented to the AW Board of Directors at a recent meeting and will be used in an upcoming strategic planning process.
From June 1st through the fall of this year, the Pine River (Florence, WI) will offer a rare opportunity for Wisconsin whitewater. During the maintenance drawdown, no water will be diverted around Breakwater Falls and gorge-rapids below the Pine Dam. The 12-foot lowering of water level, (started 5/21) will also expose additional rapids and both twin falls just upriver from the flowage.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering exchanging nearly 1500 acres of public lands to a private ranch along Colorado's Blue River. The proposal claims to improve public access to recreation opportunities along the river. This week, the BLM released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this proposal, which initiates a 45-day public comment period.
Your comments to the BLM on the proposal, will help the agency determine whether the exchange in in the public’s interest, or not. The BLM must receive comments by June 25.
Kittitas County has released a survey to gather input and data on how people are using the various portions of the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. It also seeks information from participants as to what improvements would be appropriate. The survey is part of an ongoing effort to develop a strategy for improving access along both river corridors. We encourage paddlers who paddle the Cooper, Cle Elum, and Yakima Rivers to take this survey.
Earlier today Duke Energy announced the pending sale of five hydropower dams in western North and South Carolina to Northbrook Energy. The pending sale includes the Tuxedo Hydropower Project, which regulates flows in the popular Green River below Lake Summit. Recreational releases and flow information will be continued under new ownership through a non-regulatory approach based on collaboration with American Whitewater and other leaders in the paddling community.
Earlier today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released their decision and accompanying final analysis regarding the future of dam releases on the wildly popular Ocoee River. TVA decided to provide a flow schedule nearly identical to the current schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee. Doing so will foster the robust recreation-based economy that relies on the river, and will protect existing ecological and recreational values.
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, a historic conservation bill protecting over one million acres of public land, and 98 miles of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah’s Emery County. American Whitewater worked to ensure that the Green River, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael are protected under the legislation.
Salt Lake City - The State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL) is developing the first comprehensive management plans (CMPs) for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan (MLP) for these sovereign lands. Paddlers are encouraged to attend.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Department of Natural Resources Library, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddle for a cause this summer in beautiful central Idaho! The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest will determine which streams to protect for potential Wild and Scenic designation through their forest plan over the coming year. Many of the streams under consideration are exceptional in part because they are remote and hard to access. That is where you come in. The Forest Service, the public, and politicians need to receive compelling photos, videos, and personal stories featuring these streams. If you are planning a trip into the wilds of Idaho this summer, you can help protect some amazing streams by sharing your experiences.
American Whitewater continues to play an important role in negotiating and implementing the recreational flows provided by hydropower licenses throughout California. Here are some of the scheduled recreational releases for 2018. Enjoy!
Spring is in the air and as another great paddling season comes into focus, we hope that you'll consider making a contribution to American Whitewater on GiveBig Day – Wednesday, May 9. GiveBIG is a one day event through the Seattle Foundation that makes your donation to American Whitewater go further.
The May/June issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue
includes 'Kids and Whitewater. . .fun for all ages on the
water! Read the issue now online or download your copy.
Current members - Read the issue now!
Not a current member - Join or Renew!
We still have space available for our annual Rogue River trip with Northwest Rafting Company. Come out and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with American Whitewater staff and similar likeminded river lovers. For the past few years, the staff of America Whitewater has joined with a number of our members to participate in a four-day float trip on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This trip has been a great opportunity to connect with members in ways that build a lasting understanding of the role of recreation in fostering a stewardship ethic.
May 5th is Cheatfest Weekend; it's also the first Saturday Upper Yough release of 2018. If water levels coopperate hundreds of white water paddlers will converge on this fabulous class IV-V run and the small town of Friendsville, MD. American Whitewater maintains access points at Sang Run and Friendsville to make getting on the water easy. We remind everyone that we are guests in this beautiful town. Please be courteous when using the parking area. Don't drink alcohol in public, change clothes, or relieve yourself where others can see you. Use the change house and the porta john! If you witness disrespectful behavior, please tell the offender to stop it immediately! Stay on the gravel in the parking lot as much as you can; the perimeter can be torn up after rainstorms. Don't park in residential areas along the river. And contribute to our access work by leaving a few bucks at the Sang Run collection box to pay for the porta-potty and grass cutting. Have a great run and take time to patronize the businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize attorney Ryan Kane and the Law Firm of Tarrant, Gillies & Richardson for their extraordinary effort to protect whitewater boating on the Green River in Vermont. The firm tirelessly and skillfully represented AW and Vermont Paddlers Club during a 2-week trial in April on their appeal to the Vermont Superior Court of state restrictions on whitewater releases from the hydropower project on the Green River.
American Whitewater works to protect the public's rights (your rights) related to recreational use of private and public lands which the nation’s rivers and streams run through. Fortunately for whitewater paddlers and other recreational users, every state in the nation has enacted laws that greatly limit both private and public landowner liability. In Washington state one of these recreational use immunity laws was challenged when a cyclists was injured on public land. American Whitewater joined with a coalition of recreation groups to enter a, “friend of the court” or amicus brief, urging the Washington state Supreme Court to uphold the law. We’re proud to report that in a unanimous decision, the Court affirmed that Washington’s recreational use immunity law covers any lands opened for free public use, regardless of if the land in question is used solely for recreational use or if the land has been opened up to other uses.
THIS WEEK ONLY! American Whitewater is happy to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition Nankoweap granaries trail inspired river stewardship T shirts and hoodies available this week only! For every shirt sold FLOAT will donate $8 to American Whitewater to help us restore rivers. Head on over to www.float.org and shop today – lots of styles and colors to choose from!
Gateway, CO - This week, a Colorado water court approved instream flow water rights protecting up to 900cfs during peak flows on a 33-mile stretch of the lower Dolores River. The State applied for these rights in 2015, and the court approval creates the largest flow protection for the Dolores.
(Pilar, NM) Mother's Day Rio Grande Whitewater Races, the second oldest, organized river race in the country, will once again host kayakers and rafters, canoeists, spectators, campers, and Dutch Oven Cook-off competitors, from May 11 to 13. The races will be held on the 4.5-mile, Class III section of the rio Grande known as the "Racecourse", which begins just south of Taos, in Pilar, and runs along NM State Road 68. The three-day event is being hosted by the New Mexico River Outfitters Association, The Adobe Whitewater Club, American Whitewater, and the American Canoe Association.
Take the Verde River (AZ) Optimal Flow Survey! Help the University of Arizona and the Forest Service determine what minimum river flows are appropriate to sustain and protect high-quality recreation experience opportunities on the Verde. http://bit.ly/2GuJOS8
Our friends at California Canoe & Kayak are ready for the 6th Annual Opening Day on the South Fork American River benefitting American Whitewater – are you? Sponsored by Jackson Kayak and Ninkasi Brewery, this year’s Opening Day proceeds will be specifically earmarked for legal efforts to improve safety and conditions at Ward’s Ferry Bridge (the take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River). Come join in the fun!
It's that time of year folks! Colorado Event Season is soon upon us. Whether you've been training all winter in preparation or whether you just enjoy a good show and boating with your friends, these classic Colorado river events are not to miss!
In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 24 - 26. Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.
American Whitewater is searching for a Membership Director to begin work in the fall of 2018. This is a once in a decade opportunity to join the full-time staff working in a fulfilling and highly productive work environment. It’s a big job for the right membership services guru.
Browns Park, Utah - American Whitewater has asked the Utah Division of Water Resources to reject the latest attempt to pump water from Utah's Green River, and send it across the Rocky Mountains to Denver and Colorado's Front Range. The Water Rights Export Application is speculative and assumes availability of water with no consideration of impacts to downstream needs. In its letter, American Whitewater urges the Division to act with prudence and reject the application.
Rejecting the idea that their hydroelectric project causes any impact at Ward's Ferry Bridge, Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts filed a request for trial-type hearing before an administrative law judge that challenges the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary conditions to improve the long-standing whitewater take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River.
This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
The State of Utah is developing the first comprehensive management plans for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan for these state lands. This effort will determine how these rivers are managed and where mining, oil, gas, and hydrocarbon leases will be allowed. Paddlers are encouraged to speak up!
Time is running out for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to consider the South Umpqua for designation as a State Scenic Waterway, but it’s not too late. Your voice can help support the agency in taking steps to protect this river in 2018. With its free-flowing waters and exceptional scenic, natural and recreational values, the South Umpqua meets the criteria for designation as a State Scenic Waterway.
Conditions in the Dolores River basin this year are 38% of average for this time of year. Without additional snow storms, this number is likely to drop and there won’t be water available for boating releases. If the trend continues into April-June, there will be no water available for boating or the downstream environment.
Arkansas River, Colorado - The latest lawsuit over who owns the bed of a river, this time on the Arkansas River, resurrects an issue that many western states are tackling: does a river used for commercial purposes at the time of statehood grant the public rights to use the river for recreational purposes?
Reprinted from Water Education Colorado
News Release: March 16, 2018 – River advocacy groups filed a petition in federal court today against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging its recent decision to extend construction deadlines on the Enloe Hydroelectric Project on the Similkameen River in north central Washington. Through the petition the groups seek to ensure FERC complies with clear requirements of the Federal Power Act and allows for meaningful public participation when making its decisions.
Northeast boaters! Here's your 2018 release schedule for the Moose, Black, Beaver and Raquette. Our upstate New York Rivers offer some of the best paddling anywhere. AW was instrumental in negotiating settlement agreements that made these releases possible.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has produced a draft Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Report as part of their forest plan revision process. The public can comment on the eligibility report in support of the Forest Service protecting a suite of streams as "eligible" for future Wild and Scenic designation. This week, American Whitewater submitted our own comments, and we encourage paddlers to explore the Forest Service's proposed river protections and send in a comment.
American Whitewater is pleased to share that we were recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to support professional facilitation for the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership. The Partnership is made up of a diverse range of regional interest groups working together to create a shared vision for the future management of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.
The March/April issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue features ‘Does Hydropower Have a Place in the Renewable Energy Future? Read the issue now online or download your copy.
American Whitewater is an organization that prides ourselves on getting work done, both effectively and efficiently. Eighty-one cents of every dollar we see goes directly to our stewarship work, and in 2017 we succeeded in turning that work into favorable outcomes on projects across the country. For a concise and graphic look at the work we accomplished together last year, check out this one page document that will be a part of our 2017 Annual Report – Our Work Together in 2017.
The South Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho is under threat from a massive mining proposal. As many of you know, the South Fork is a magnificent river with an incredibly wide range of whitewater opportunities on numerous stretches, including the East Fork, all the way through a Wilderness multi-day run that takes you to the confluence with the Salmon River at Mackey Bar on the Main Salmon wilderness run. We're collecting stories and photos of the South Fork for use in ours and our partners campaign to raise awareness about the imminent threat that this classic whitewater river faces.
Design for the US 101 Elwha River Bridge replacement project is proceeding forward and the Washington Department of Transportation is soliciting community feedback. Please provide a comment on this project if you use the Elwha River for recreation.
The Department of Agriculture recently announced that it will not review a 20-year prohibition on new mining development (i.e., a “mineral withdrawal) for over 101,000 acres of public lands in SW Oregon. The protection, which was implemented in late 2016, covers rivers cherished by the whitewater community including the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith and Illinois Rivers and their headwaters.
American Whitewater is an organization that has been serving paddlers for over 60 years. We are committed to meeting the needs of the whitewater community and our members by providing the highest quality of service and the best representation of the community’s stewardship needs. We strive to continually improve the services we provide paddlers, and every couple of years we ask the community to examine our current performance across a range of issues critical to our success. The best way for us to do this is by asking you to participate in a community survey and to provide input on how American Whitewater is doing meeting your needs and our mission “to conserve and restore America's whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.”
The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic Study Report. Recognizing the river's extraordinary scenic and recreational resources, the agency recommends that 37 miles be added to the California Wild and Scenic River System. The agency wants to hear from you about their recommendations by March 8th, and will hold a public hearing about the draft report on Thursday, February 15th in Mokelumne Hill.
There is no shortage of stewardship work for American Whitewater in 2018. We're working towards bringing 5,000 new miles of river under Wild and Scenic protection in the coming year. Our Top Ten Stewardship Issues for 2018 reflect this goal, with many of our top issues being Wild and Scenic in nature. Our Top Ten list highlights the areas that we think have the potential to be game changing and where we’ll focus a lot of our energy striving for positive outcomes. From national policy issues that affect water quality, landscape level river protections and our successful flow restoration programs, to local access, flow and conservation issues, you can count on American Whitewater’s stewardship team to lead the way.
Senator Stewart Greenleaf, a Pennsylvania State legislator known for his practical, problem solving approach to solving the State’s problems, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Mr. Greenleaf, 78, was first elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1976 and has served in the Senate since 1978. He is a long time member of the Philadelphia Canoe Club and his work was directly responsible for fall and spring white water releases on Tohickon Creek (1977) and summer releases on the Lehigh River (1999). For a behind the scenes story of this and other work on behalf of paddlers and more information on his long career, please follow this link:
American Whitewater is advocating for improved access conditions at Ward’s Ferry Bridge on California’s Tuolumne River, which is the take-out for the Wild and Scenic Meral’s Pool run above the Don Pedro Hydropower Project. Today the take-out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge is plagued by theft, vandalism and covered in graffiti. Operations of the Don Pedro Project cause water levels at Ward’s Ferry Bridge to fluctuate dramatically, and this has affected conditions at this take-out for decades by contributing to shoreline and trail erosion and creating a steep hike to get up to the road. It’s time to put on record that a safe and improved take-out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge is important to you, the private boater.
The Washington State legislature is considering a bill that could significantly impact river access in Washington State. Under current state law, a County is prohibited from vacating right-of-ways that abut a body of water. House Bill 2521 and Senate Bill 6152 would add new language to state law that would allow a county to vacate a public right-of-way abutting a waterway “for the protection of public safety.”
The 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act marks an incredible opportunity to build positive awareness, support, and activism around the need to grow our one-of-a-kind system of protecting outstanding rivers. American Whitewater will be working to protect 5000 new miles of rivers and streams in 2018 by securing new Wild and Scenic designations via Congress, as well as new protections through National Forest and Bureau of Land Managment planning efforts.
Federal regulators recently gave Duke Energy the green light to move forward on the Catawba-Wateree recreation management plan. The plan includes public recreation requirements and agreements included in the new 40-year license FERC issued in 2015 for the Catawba-Wateree’s Hydroelectric Project. The project encompasses nearly 1,800 miles of shoreline along 11 reservoirs and multiple river reaches in nine counties in North Carolina and five in South Carolina. Projects include new picnic facilities, fishing piers, swim beaches, campgrounds, expanded parking, restrooms and additional boating access areas.
It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Each year we are part of a process to schedule these releases in an integrated manner that aims to maximize their recreational value. Check out the outstanding line up for 2018.
River enthusiasts will soon have new paddling opportunities on West Virginia's New River. Federal regulators issued a new 47-year license for the dam that dewaters the spectacular 5.5-mile New River Dries in the final days of 2017. The license requires significant new recreational and environmental enhancements in a river reach that has suffered from water withdrawals for well over half a century. American Whitewater played an active and leading role in securing these outcomes.
For over 35 years the National Paddling Film Festival has been hosting a competition to determine the best in paddle sport videos and images. This competition has provided the paddling community with a fun and profitable event to support American Whitewater and river stewardship. In that time, the NPFF has also helped to raise the quality of paddle sport entertainment by providing recognition of talent along with important and useful feedback for the artists who make the show a possibility. You can now purchase your tickets online.
If you haven't started already it's time to start planning for that big multi-day trip you've been wanting to do. American Whitewater's permit database can help you find the information you need.
American Whitewater has restored boater access to the Hoosic River at Schaghticoke through negotiations with Brookfield Renewable, operator of the hydro project. Brookfield had constructed a fence and locked gate that prevented paddlers from accessing the river below the dam. Negotiations with Brookfield over the past year resulted in a resumption of scheduled releases in the spring, and in addition, new procedures for boaters to gain access when natural flows are high enough for boating.
Earlier today Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte introduced legislation to designate Montana’s East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River! The bill matches bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this year by Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 2018, this popular bill is now well positioned for passage if the Montana delegation can shepherd it through Congress. We’d like to thank the delegation for championing this bill!
American Whitewater sprang out of the need to rally our community around our shared love for whitewater, to protect, restore and celebrate the rivers that have given us so much. When the President of the United States, announced his intentions to reduce in size Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by nearly half, we wanted to first see how the new borders would affect the protections these Monuments afforded several spectacular whitewater resources within their current boundaries. Read on to see how the Lower San Juan and several other rivers are affected.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers are expanding efforts to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This is the third opportunity since September to provide comment on a proposal that will impact Clean Water Act protections for our nation's headwater streams and wetlands. In this round, the agencies are proposing to retroactively add an effective date to the rule, making it easier to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule. It's important we continue to speak up for clean water...make your voice heard by Wednesday, December 13th.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has released their Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the future of the Ocoee River. The news is generally good. They support the continuation of the historic flow schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee River, minus 5 September weekdays on the Middle. The DEA finds that the releases benefit the local economy and at least one rare plant living on rocks in the riverbed. File a comment or join TVA at a meeting next Monday if you would like to share your thoughts.
Each year American Whitewater comes together for our annual Board of Directors meeting. Our stewardship staff spends a lot of time putting together presentations to our Board which detail all of the stewardship projects they are involved in and the stewardship issues they see on the horizon. Seeing all of the work American Whitewater does across the entire country at once really gives a true understanding of how much good work we do as an organization, and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to share those presentations with you. What we came upon with is this: A round of slides with three of our top projects in every region, plucked directly from our presentations to the Board.
Arizona - The Tonto National Forest, home of the Wild & Scenic Salt River and Verde River, is now accepting formal comments on a Preliminary Proposed Plan. The Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP) is the first step in revising the current land and resource management plan - including Wild & Scenic Rivers, Wilderness, and Special Uses. Comments on the Preliminary Proposed Plan should be submitted by January 12, 2018.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) are revising their Forest Plan. The new Forest Plan will dictate how recreation, wildlife habitats, watersheds, timber projects, grazing, and more will be managed on the GMUG for the next 20-30 years. We need your involvement to protect important whitewater resources and the special landscapes throughout the Forests. Public Comments are due on the draft by December 8th.â€¨â€¨
In late 2016, a 20-year ban on mining protected the pristine waters of many rivers in Southwest Oregon. Earlier this fall, Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, asked for a process to reverse this federal protection. Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative DeFazio and California Representative Huffman have been working to protect the headwaters of the North Fork Smith, Illinois and Rogue Rivers, as well as Hunter Creek, and recently pushed back on Bishop's letter. Join us in thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to do all they can to permanently protect this special place.
American Whitewater is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition river stewardship T shirts available this week only! For every shirt sold FLOAT will make a donation to American Whitewater to help us restore rivers.
The U.S. EPA and Army Corps are continuing the process of reversing and replacing the 2015 Clean Water Rule that offered protections for our nation's headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are receiving preliminary recommendations through Tuesday, November 28th about which water bodies the Act should cover instead. As paddlers, we understand first-hand how important it is to protect headwater creeks and streams, and we encourage you to weigh in!
For the past few years, the staff of America Whitewater has joined with a number of our members to participate in a four-day float trip on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This trip has been a great opportunity to connect with members in ways that build a lasting understanding of the role of recreation in fostering a stewardship ethic. As one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers in the country, the Rogue is an outstanding classroom for American Whitewater’s river stewardship program.
Each year American Whitewater’s membership elects Board of Director members to serve three-year terms. These candidates volunteer to serve on the American Whitewater Board. Current American Whitewater members can cast their votes through Midnight Pacific Time, December 19th. American Whitewater is very fortunate to have Board members with a passion for our mission and a mix of appropriate skills to help guide AW and meet the challenges we face, both now and in the future.
On November 8th, 2017, the House passed H.R. 3043, the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act.” H.R. 3043 undermines the current hydropower licensing process, which is a key tool for protecting and restoring rivers impacted by privately and municipally owned and operated dams. The bill moves to the Senate next.â€¨â€¨ You can help by reaching out to your Senators and encouraging them to stand up for rivers as they consider hydropower legislation.
The House is scheduled to vote on the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act” (H.R. 3043) during the week of November 6th. The bill amends the Federal Power Act as it relates to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) hydropower licensing process, undermining the ability of the public and of state, federal and tribal agencies to protect and restore rivers impacted by hydropower dams. As your Representative considers how they’ll vote on H.R. 3043 this week, it’s critical that they hear from you today.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our 2017 Holiday Membership Offer – a one year AW membership paired up with our 2018 AW calendar or AW Klean Kanteen. . .and all for just $45! Giving a great gift and supporting your favorite non-profit at the same time. . .great river karma! Under “membership Level” just select ‘$45 – Holiday Membership Offer’ and give the gift of American Whitewater.
ARKANSAS RIVER, Colo. - The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is revising their Management Plan for the first time since 2001. The new Draft Plan was made publicly available in October and the AHRA is accepting public comments through November 10, 2017 (next week!). In order to design effective and productive comments, American Whitewater has thoroughly reviewed the Draft Plan, discussed the Plan with our local Affiliate Clubs, attended AHRA Public Open Houses, and reached out to key members of the local paddling community. To make it easy for you to SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS, American Whitewater staff have compiled our key concerns and comments for your review.
Aspen, Colo. - On November 8 & 9, please join the City of Aspen and Pitkin County for a presentation and discussion of the Upper Roaring Fork River Management Plan. This is an opportunity for community members to find out about river management planning efforts and engage in discussions about their priorities for a healthy river. The planning effort, the tools being developed, and the final report will lay the foundation for the City and County to develop management alternatives that address priority issues with support from water users and community stakeholders.
This holiday season, make your online shopping mean something for the rivers you love. American Whitewater is participating in the Amazon Smile program. Amazon has committed to send proceeds from eligible purchases to American Whitewater and other eligible non profits. It won’t cost you anything extra to use Amazon Smile. Plus, there’s no cap to how much you can use the service.
Gunnison, Colorado - Last Wednesday, Matt Brown - longtime river guide, adventurer, and pillar of the Gunnison Valley community- passed away tragically after an accident in Moab. Matt was so much to so many. At the request of his family and friends, contributions in Matt's memory can be made to American Whitewater’s River Access work in Colorado. Matt was a strong ally and advisor in our work to protect the public’s rights to float and fish in the State. We miss him immensely.
American Whitewater has big plans for 2018, with a goal of securing permanent protections for over 5000 miles of streams in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic River Act. We see a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact by protecting some of our best remaining freely-flowing rivers, but we can’t do it without your ongoing support to keep our work on track. Take a moment to see what your contribution will support in every whitewater region across the country in our 2017 Winter Appeal.
Make your online shopping mean something for the rivers you love. American Whitewater is participating in the Amazon Smile program. With each purchase through Amazon Smile a small percentage is passed through to American Whitewater supporting river stewardship.
The American Whitewater Store has just received some new arrivals you don't want to miss. The special edition 2018 Calendar celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is ready to order and, back by popular demand, we have the pink “Lady Bird Tees,” made of 100% organic cotton and fit just right for a woman. We’ve also got sharp looking hoodies, “Dam Busting Tour” t-shirts, Klean Kanteen steel pints, hats, books and much more. So stop in the web store today and wear some American Whitewater gear proud, knowing all of the items in our store go to support our mission.
This week, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill to effectively eliminate the Antiquities Act as a core conservation tool for landscapes that include many rivers important to our community. Over more than a century, the Antiquities Act has served as the mechanism to protect some of our country’s most iconic paddling destinations that include the Colorado River through Grand Canyon (AZ), Black Canyon of the Gunnison (CO), Brown’s Canyon of the Arkansas River (CO), San Juan River through Bears Ears National Monument (UT), Middle Fork Tule in Giant Sequoia (CA), Green and Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument (UT), and East Branch Penobscot in Katahdin Woods and Waters (ME). Please take a moment today to write your Representative and share your thoughts on this legislation.
Paddlers might have noticed that flow releases on the Cheoah River were getting a bit skinny over the past couple years, until the juicy release this September. At the urging of American Whitewater, the dam owner had USGS come out and recalibrate the gage this July, and the results confirmed the dam owner had been under-releasing by approximately 100-150cfs. In our annual planning meeting last week, they committed to adjusting their releases to comply with their federal license, and actually began the new release protocols in September.
American Whitewater is pleased to release the first of two planned films on the removal of Mill Pond Dam in northeastern Washington. This short film explores the history of the dam and the early stages of its removal through on-site interviews and footage of the removal process. Over the next two months the removal of the dam will reveal a section of Sullivan Creek not seen for over a century, and we will then produce a follow up film of the newly uncovered stream.
We are saddened to report the passing of Oz Hawksley last month at the age of 97. One of American Whitewater’s original co-founders and co-chair of our organization’s first Conservation Committee, Oz was a lifetime advocate for wild rivers who understood the power of bringing together outdoor enthusiasts for effective advocacy. He developed his passion for rivers through the experiences he enjoyed and was at the forefront of early exploration and conservation of the Clearwater, Flathead, Main Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon, Yampa, and Green along with many rivers in the Ozarks. Oz was a leader in the establishment of the Wild and Scenic Rivers system in 1968.