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Klamath River Devastated by Wildfire-Related Fish Kill

08/09/2022 - by Scott Harding

The Klamath River in far northern California is currently experiencing an unprecedented crisis borne of wildfire and extreme weather that has thickened the river with mud for 155 miles, causing a massive fish kill. It is one of several wildfire-related emergencies simultaneously affecting the river, its two largest tributaries-the Salmon and the Trinity-and multiple river communities right now. Twenty whitewater runs totaling 293 miles are impacted. Photo: Karuk Tribe Fisheries.

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American Whitewater Supports Return of Klamath River Land to the Karuk Tribe

08/02/2022 - by Scott Harding

American Whitewater is actively supporting the return of 1,000 acres of land along the Klamath and Salmon rivers in California to the Karuk Tribe. The land, which was forcibly taken from the Tribe, has deep spiritual significance to the Karuk people, and its return is a long overdue act of reconciliation. Legislation to return this land has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and we are supporting its prompt passage.

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AW Wildfire Info Map Keeps Boater Updated on Rivers Affected by Fires

08/02/2022 - by Scott Harding

It's peak fire season in much of the country and active wildfires are currently burning along several whitewater rivers in the West. Be sure to check the American Whitewater Wildfire Information Map for the latest details on whether there's an active wildfire that could affect your boating trip or safety. It's the only map that combines detailed information on whitewater runs with constantly updated fire locations, air quality info, and more.

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A Big Win for Rivers in the Sierra & Sequoia National Forests (CA)!

07/25/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

The Sierra and Sequoia National Forests have released final forest land management plans containing protections for 498 miles of rivers found eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Since 2013, American Whitewater has been engaged in this forest planning process with the goal of getting California's whitewater resources included in the eligibility inventory and recognized for their outstandingly remarkable values. As a tenet of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, managing agencies like the Forest Service (USFS) provide interim protections for eligible river's free flowing character and outstandingly remarkable values until they can be designated by Congress. 


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Gore Fest 2022 is ON!

07/21/2022 - by Angus Harley

Gore Fest is on! The classic downriver race through Gore Canyon and Upper Colorado SUP Race is scheduled for Saturday, August 27th with a freestyle rodeo on the morning of Sunday, August 28th. This year’s festival will be held at Pumphouse campground and camping will be first come first serve, be sure to pay all fees to BLM. There is no reserved camping associated with Gore Fest. All racers MUST register online - REGISTER HERE. Registration closes 6pm on August 26th. Each race entry includes a discounted one-year membership with American Whitewater, a race bib, t-shirt, insurance, and BLM fees. There will be a cash purse for winners of each class, $10 of each registration will go towards that purse. Each registration is $85.

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Deerfield Fest August 6th: All Together Now

07/19/2022 - by Robert Nasdor

After a 2-year hiatus, the northeast whitewater boating community will come together on August 6th at Deerfield Fest, a celebration of nearly 40 years of whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts. This year's festival will be held at Berkshire East Mountain on August 6th. Deerfield Fest commemorates the historic 1994 Settlement Agreement that requires scheduled boating releases on the Fife Brook and Dryway sections of the Deerfield. The event supports American Whitewater's river stewardship work in the norttheast.

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Senator Bennet (CO) Introduces Legislation to Protect the Dolores River Canyon

07/19/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

For over a decade, American Whitewater has worked with a diverse and collaborative group to find consensus on how to provide durable protections to the outstandingly remarkable values of the Dolores River while honoring local concerns around the protection of existing water and land uses. Years ago, the group identified a federally designated National Conservation Area as the best means to preserve the Dolores River Canyons, its recreation, wildlife, and scenery. Yesterday, Colorado’s senior senator, Michael Bennet, introduced that legislation. This is an exciting and important step toward permanent protection and is the result of coordination with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal government; a diverse subcommittee including counties, water managers, conservation groups, and more. Please join us today in thanking Senator Bennet for his commitment to this important river canyon! Ponderosa Gorge Image credit: Rig to Flip

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Take Action: Provide Comment to Restore the Snake River

07/06/2022 - by Thomas O'Keefe

American Whitewater supports breaching the four lower Snake River Dams and believes the environmental and social justice costs of these dams outweigh the services and benefits they provide. In addition to benefits for salmon and steelhead, breaching these dams would open up a new segment of free-flowing river in a region where current demand for river-based recreation exceeds capacity. We also believe the removal of these dams is a more effective solution to address struggling salmon runs than limits that have been placed on recreational boaters. Governor Inslee and Senator Murray are currently soliciting public comment through July 11th on the Lower Snake River Dams: Benefit Replacement Draft Report.

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K.M. Collins: Volunteer of the Month, Presented by Kokatat

06/30/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

Writer and raft guide, Krystal Marie Collins (K.M. Collins) is our American Whitewater June Volunteer of the Month. K.M. was American Whitewater’s lead volunteer event organizer at our recent Bend Community Reception in May and we couldn't have done it without her. She’s also helped us out with a signage project, and she’s done publicity work for Aboriginal Outfitters and their efforts to remove Enloe Dam and restore the Similkameen River.

We want to take a moment to spotlight her enthusiasm and to say ‘Hey! Thanks” by honoring her as our June AW Volunteer of the Month presented by Kokatat.

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Addressing public safety at low head dams

06/28/2022 - by Hattie Johnson

American Whitewater’s database of whitewater accidents and fatalities, maintained since 1972, documents that 10% of river fatalities nationwide are a result of individuals getting caught in a low head dam hydraulic. These dams are generally defined as a manmade structure, up to about 25 feet in height, built across a river or stream channel from bank to bank. Powerful hydraulics and hard to see horizon lines create a dangerous hazard. Most paddlers have had a run in with a low head dam in some capacity, whether is a nasty surf, a tough portage or worse. American Whitewater has been working at the local, state and federal level to address this public safety issue. Understanding the location, utility, public safety hazard, and ownership of these structures can not only better inform recreationists, but also help to better identify structures for removal or retrofit.

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Unprecedented Win for Water Quality in Colorado!

06/24/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

On June 14, Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission voted 7-1 to protect 520 miles on 25 streams across Southwest Colorado, adopting the first proposal of its kind. American Whitewater and our partners have been hard at work over the past three years to prove that these high quality rivers and creeks deserve protection. Our proposal included beloved paddling segments like the headwaters of the Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, and many others that were acknowledged for their exceptional ecological and recreational attributes. Under the Clean Water Act, Outstanding Waters provide the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. The designation acknowledges the high water quality that currently exists and ensures it is protected at that level for the future.

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American Whitewater Prevails in Case to Protect the Tuolumne River

06/21/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, American Whitewater and our allies prevailed to uphold the Clean Water Act in protection of the Tuolumne River. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act which requires that any utility applying for a hydropower license that may discharge pollutants into waters of the United States must receive state certification ensuring the project complies with all state standards for beneficial use, water quality, and anti-degradation of the waterway. The case brought forth by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts (the Districts) challenged a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order upholding California’s clean water certification for the Don Pedro and La Grange Hydropower Projects located on the Tuolumne River. 

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May/June AW Journal now available

06/10/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

The May/June AW Journal is hot off the press! In this issue we focus on Executive Director Mark Singleton’s legacy as he transitions away from AW. A few other highlights include:

-Access areas in California that were recently reestablished after significant action from our community
-An inspiring plan for a 1000+ mile journey tracing the Salmon River from its source to the sea
-First descent account from the Upper Little North Santiam in Oregon
-A safety reminder on the dangers of wood

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River Protections in Montana and New Mexico Hit Milestone in Congress

06/09/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

On June 8, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on two Wild and Scenic River bills that would permanently protect over 830 river miles in New Mexico and Montana. This hearing was a critical milestone for these bills and moves them closer to the President’s Desk and being signed into law. American Whitewater and our partners worked hard to secure the hearing and we are thrilled to celebrate this win with our members and supporters. 

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American Whitewater Announces New Executive Director, Clinton Begley

06/09/2022 - by Bethany Overfield

After conducting a nationwide search and interviewing several highly qualified candidates, American Whitewater announced today that Clinton Begley will be its new Executive Director. The Team at American Whitewater, including our Board of Directors and Staff, were recently able to meet the finalists for the position, including Begley, and there was unanimous support for his selection. Clinton will begin his Executive Director role on August 1st and plans to travel to American Whitewater events this summer and fall to meet up with our staff, volunteers, members and supporters in their home regions. Stay tuned for more information on his professional and personal background in coming weeks. We’re all excited to welcome Clinton aboard and are looking forward to working with him!

Read more below.

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AW Participates in EPA Roundtable on the Importance of Clean Water

06/09/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

On Tuesday, June 7, Kevin Colburn, American Whitewater’s National Stewardship Director, participated in a roundtable hosted jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Cahaba Brewing Co. on the importance of clean water protections in the Southeast. He joined stakeholders from a broad spectrum of land and water users who live or work in eleven Southeastern states, including a director of a water and sewer utility; general contracting and construction management executive; mitigation banker; faith leader; environmental justice advocates; farmers, including a Gullah-Geechee farmer; elected officials; representatives from conservation and environmental organizations; and clean water scientists.

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Over 50 Paddlers Enjoy Inaugural Weber River Releases (UT)

06/09/2022 - by Evan Stafford

This past Saturday, June 4, was the first of four negotiated Saturday releases that will occur annually between May-July for the Scrambled Eggs section of the Weber River (UT), a 1.8-mile roadside run south of the cty of Ogden. The release day was well attended and critically restored river flows to a region severely impacted by dams and diversions. American Whitewater has spent the past seven years working towards these releases and we hope paddlers enjoy them this year and into the future! Remaining release days for this year are June 18, July 2, and July 9, subject to change if unexpected conditions occur.

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A Big Win for River Protections in Arizona!

05/22/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

The Tonto National Forest in Arizona will receive robust protections for over 188 river miles. Rivers like the iconic Salt River and steep waterfall runs like Christopher Creek have been determined to be eligible for Wild and Scenic River protections, requiring the Forest Service to protect their free-flow character and their many outstanding values. American Whitewater and our members advocated for the protection of these streams and it’s time to celebrate this great outcome!

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Sign Petition to Protect Water Quality in Colorado’s Rivers!

05/18/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

Sign here to protect water quality in Colorado’s exceptional rivers and creeks! American Whitewater and our partners are working to protect water quality in 26 creeks and rivers in Colorado. The designation of Outstanding Waters provides the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. In order to qualify for Outstanding Waters designation, rivers must have existing high water quality, have exceptional ecological or recreational significance, and constitute a need for additional protection. These rivers include the Upper Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, Wolf Creek, and Roubideau Creek. We are also looking for members of the paddling community to provide written or oral testimony to the Water Quality Control Commission at the June 13 and 14 hearing. Please email Kestrel directly at to sign up to give testimony. 

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2022 Recreational Releases for South Fork Silver Creek and Slab Creek (CA)

05/13/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, American Whitewater and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) coordinate required recreational flows on South Fork Silver Creek below Icehouse Reservoir and South Fork American River below Slab Creek Reservoir.  The final water year forecast that will determine scheduled recreational flows will be released on May 9th. Recreational flows will vary depending on the final forecast which will either be a DRY or a BELOW NORMAL water year. 

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!