News Release from the Chief Administrative Office El Dorado County: The County of El Dorado and a coalition comprising American Whitewater, El Dorado County residents and businesses, and other conservation and recreation organizations today announced an agreement assuring continued access to Mosquito Road Bridge aka “The Swinging Bridge” and the South Fork American River. In the Memorandum of Understanding reached on May 9, 2017, the County agreed to allow year-round, unencumbered pedestrian and vehicle access to the South Fork American River at the bridge dawn to dusk unless a closure is required for emergencies or maintenance.
Over the past week National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act have generated considerable discussion in our nation’s capitol. First the Trump Administration released an Executive Order on April 26th that directs Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. The House Natural Resources Committee followed with a hearing on National Monuments. A public comment period will begin on May 12th.
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 10. GiveBIG is a one day event through the Seattle Foundation that makes your donation to American Whitewater go further.
Come one, come all! American Whitewater has teamed up with the CAN'd Aid Foundation and Avid4 Adventure to host a river float and cleanup along the St. Vrain during the 2017 Lyons Outdoor Games festival in Lyons, Colorado. Register online to volunteer @ http://bit.ly/2oQNcBv. Join us at Bohn Park at 9:30am for Hotbox Roasters coffee, donuts, and registration. After the cleanup, we'll head to Oskar Blues Grill & Brew for some brews and apps on the patio. Each volunteer will receive one FREE Oskar Blues Brewery core beer. See you there!
The EPA is asking the public which regulations they should repeal, replace, or modify. They were required to ask this question by a recent Executive Order. Here at American Whitewater we have a pretty simple response to which water quality regulations should be cut: "None." We hope you'll join us in telling the EPA to protect our health and our rivers by keeping water quality regulations strong and in place.
Paddlers planning on paddling the Dolores below Bedrock (Bedrock to Gateway stretch) between May 9 - May 19 need to be aware of intermittent river closures at the new Bedrock Bridge at Colorado Highway (CO) 90. CDOT and SEMA Construction will begin lifting large precast members for the bridge beginning Tuesday, May 9. River users will encounter intermittent half hour river closures at this location just north (downstream) of the Bedrock boat ramp.
The May/June issue of the AW Journal is available
in the "Library". This issue
features ‘As the Cherry Blossoms Bloom, American Whitewater Goes to Washington,
DC’. Read the issue now online or download your copy.
May 6th will be the first Saturday Upper Yough release of the year, and if water levels cooperate hundreds of white water paddlers will converge on the small town of Friendsville, MD. It's time to 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! Last weekend someone was wandering around the parking lot naked, prompting several calls to the Mayor. If you see this or other 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. Leave a few bucks at the Sang Run put-in to pay for the porta-potty and grass cutting. Have a great run, then take time to patronize the businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
This May 5-7th, 2017, American Whitewater will be at the 20th annual French Broad River Festival in Hot Springs, NC. Proceeds for the event get donated to American Whitewater and other non-profits. The French Broad River Fest has donated a huge amount to American Whitewater over the past 20 years so come on an out and have a great time showing your support!
The outdoor industry gathered in Washington DC for the annual Outdoor Industry Association Capital Summit event this week. American Whitewater joined our industry partners in support of important issues that impact public lands and waters. New economic impact data was released during the event, and it's HUGE! Americans spend $887 BILLION in consumer spending in outdoor goods and services.
Earlier this year, two spillways at Oroville Dam on the Feather River in California became severely compromised, prompting the evacuation of approximately 188,000 people. The impact of the failure of these spillways continues to have a significant impact on the river and downstream communities. Those who live downstream of Oroville Dam–along with citizens across the country who live in the shadow of high-hazard hydropower dams–deserve to understand what happened, the full impacts, and what is being done about it. American Whitewater is joining with others to call for a Congressional hearing into these issues and ensure that the public has a voice in the process. Learn more about how you can help our efforts…
Dolores, CO - Releases into the lower Dolores River will begin to ramp down starting Sunday May 7 until minimal boating flows of 800 – 1200 CFS are reached. A high flow event of 4000 cfs is still planned for May 5th, but the duration of the event may be cut down to two or three days. Forecasts continue to drop and may not produce releases that reach into June.
California is officially in the wettest season on record giving the state a plethora of paddling choices throughout the year. Here are some of the paddling opportunities that American Whitewater helped negotiate and implement with hydropower projects across the state including the South Fork American below Slab Creek, South Fork Silver below Ice House, North Fork Feather Rock Creek and Pit 5.
The spread of invasive aquatic plants and animals is an emerging threat on our rivers. To protect rivers from invasive species, and to avoid closures and limits, paddlers should make every effort to avoid transporting invasive species from one river to another. In this article we offer a friendly reminder to Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat and gear between rivers, and a cautionary tale from our nation's headwaters in Montana.
On Saturday, April 22nd, whitewater releases on the Schaghticoke Gorge section of the Hoosic River will resume after a long hiatus. The Schaghticoke consists of a Class V drop through the Gorge (for those into that kind of thing) followed by a friendly Class II/III section that can be accessed below the Gorge. Releases on the Hoosic are required under a settlement agreement with American Whitewater. Releases will resume on April 22nd from 1-4, and we need a good turnout from the boating community to increase the number of future releases.
Dolores, Colorado - The highly anticipated April 1st water supply forecast for the Dolores River has finally been released and for boaters, conditions are promising. With inflow into McPhee Reservoir forecast to be 142% of average, managed releases from McPhee Dam should provide 87 days of flows above 800 cfs, and 50 days above 2000 cfs. Releases have started - lets go boatin'!
Recently, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) made an unexpected move to advocate for policies that would undermine environmental protections in the Clean Water Act and the Federal Power Act. American Whitewater worked with SMUD and other stakeholders in negotiating a settlement agreement for the Upper American River Hydroelectric Project (UARP) that was signed by all parties in 2007. The final license for the project was issued in 2014 and included whitewater recreation flows to mitigate the impacts of its project.
American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.
A bill has been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature that aims to continue treasured recreational releases on the Ocoee River after current release agreements expire in March of 2019. The Ocoee River Recreation and Economic Development Fund Act would create a fund that would be used to pay the Tennessee Valley Authority for releases and to pay for other river management costs. Paddlers from TN can weigh in on the bill now, and all paddlers will have a chance to voice support or concerns with the TVA this spring or summer.
Attention all Dolores River Boaters!
Excited to Boat Colorado's Dolores River this year? American Whitewater and our partners are gathering your feedback on the 2017 boating releases from McPhee Dam. After your trip, Please Take Our Online Survey! Your participation will directly inform the next release from McPhee Dam. Make your voice heard!
Dolores, Colorado - After a cold opening weekend, McPhee Dam will continue to release 1,200 CFS until the runoff starts climbing again later in April. A new forecast comes out this week that we will combine with the early runoff to craft a new operating plan. Expect a release of approximately 250,000 AF over approximately 60 days.
After over a year's work American Whitewater has released an upgraded version of their Whitewater Accident Database. It's the largest collection of its kind in the world, with over 1600 fatalities and close calls dating back to 1972. Each report has been checked for accuracy and AW Webmaster Ryan Groth greatly improved the search capacity. You can now locate accidents by a dozen different categories and characteristics. Here's how this project came about, how it evolved, why American Whitewater reports accidents and how you can help us keep this project going in the coming years.
Dolores, Colorado - A warm March has started the runoff early and driving McPhee Reservoir elevations up, approaching 6915 and rising. Therefore releases will start ramping up March 29, 2017. The forecast for the Dolores River has dropped since March 1, but still promises plenty of water for a recreational release from McPhee Reservoir.
Southern Company announced today that they are cancelling (eg postponing) the spring recreational releases on the Tallulah Gorge. The cancellation occured because they decided to conduct emergency maintenance work on a spillway gate atop their 103 year old dam. Southern Company is required to reschedule these releases as soon as practicable by their federal license and the related settlement agreement with American Whitewater and other groups.
We have put together a schedule of whitewater festivals and events for the 2017 paddling season in Colorado. Get your calendars out, because this season is going to be one to remember! 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 25 - 27! Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.
March is the new June in Idaho, and early snowmelt has river flows booming. The dam that normally diverts almost all the water from the Black Canyon of the Bear River has begun to spill and boatable flows are likely for for the next couple weeks. Flows are likely to reach or exceed 1,500cfs which means a rare chance to experience the Bear at big Class V flows.
American Whitewater California staff Dave Steindorf will testify before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives at 1:15pm on Wednesday, March 15th, on behalf of the Hydropower Reform Coalition. The hearing will explore the opportunities and challenges of expanding hydropower generation in the US. Dave has over 20 years of experience negotiating environmental and recreational improvements at existing hydropower dams on behalf of the paddling community. Click through to watch the hearing.
Idaho Power announced today that "flows of 10,000 cfs or greater in the Class V whitewater Milner Gorge Reach (Milner Mile) below Milner Dam on the Snake River are likely to be available during April 2017." In most years the hydropower project removes so much water from the Milner Gorge that whitewater paddling is not possible at any time. In high water years like this one though, the power company must release flows into the big, powerful Class V run known to paddlers as the Milner Mile.
Cortez, Colorado - American Whitewater and local interests in Dolores Water sat down again this month with the most current snowpack, water supply, and McPhee Reservoir storage data, to determine how releases, if possible, can be timed to provide the best boating opportunities, while doing good things for fish, and the health of the River. Releases for the lower Dolores River will happen in 2017 and the forecast for great flows is looking very good right now!
We would like to recognize Violet Jakab for being a vocal community advocate in our efforts to save Mosquito Road Bridge. No stranger to adversity, as a young woman, Violet escaped communist rule in Romania in the back of a refrigerator truck. She immigrated to the United States and worked hard for a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Hydraulics at California State University, Long Beach. When not boating, Violet can be found with Yinky and Maggie her German Shepherds that serve as certified therapy dogs spreading joy among young and old alike.
Originally built in 1867 the “Swinging Bridge” a.k.a. Mosquito Road Bridge over the South Fork American River has long served as a crucial intersection for avid recreationalists. Yet a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) recommended removing access at the river and demolishing the bridge once a new $65 million bridge replacement project was completed. Never a debate of either a new Mosquito Road Bridge or the old Swinging Bridge a coalition of recreational stakeholders dared to ask the question why not both?
The State Highway 49 Bridge over the South Fork American River in Coloma is set to be replaced during construction of a $22 million Caltrans project in partnership with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission. Construction for this project will begin on March 8, 2017 and will continue through Spring of 2019. For paddlers, this bridge is one of the few remaining free public access sites to the river. American Whitewater worked through the stakeholder process to preserve public access once the new bridge is complete.
The Wild Olympics Coalition, a locally-based coalition that includes American Whitewater, cheered the reintroduction of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer to permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries, a total of 464 river miles, as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Yesterday, President Trump issued an order to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review and replace a federal rule that protects our rivers from pollution. This action will start a multi-year public rulemaking process that will decide the safety and health of our nation’s waterways. Paddlers will have an important role to play in speaking up for the value of clean water and healthy rivers.
The Oregon State Marine Board proposal to establish a Non-Motorized Boating Program is moving through the state legislature and is set for a hearing on March 1st. We encourage our Oregon members to share their thoughts with their representatives in the state legislature.
The state of Utah is currently proposing to eliminate their current rule that allows boaters to bring a throw bag on trips instead of a throwable personal flotation device. Federal Coast Guard rules require that all boats greater than 16 feet in length contain a throwable PFD. American Whitewater would like to see the state of Utah and the Coast Guard work together to change the Coast Guard's rules as they relate to river travel in order to allow for a throw bag to be carried instead of a throwable PFD. Utah's existing policy seems like a superior one to us, and we'd like to see it adopted nationally rather than eliminated.
Our colleagues at Tuolumne River Trust along with Groveland USFS, local outfitters and local volunteers are working together to implement long overdue improvements at the put-in for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River at Meral's Pool.
Cortez, Colorado - Last week, American Whitewater met with local water managers, fisheries biologists, an other interests in Dolores River water, to start negotiating releases from McPhee Dam - like we do every spring. This year, things are looking very good for the Dolores...
Eagle, Colorado - The new Eagle River Park, “connecting the heart of Eagle to the soul of the river”, aims to improve river recreation opportunities for local Eagle residents, as well as visitors from around the nation. After a year of working on the design of the whitewater features, S20 design and the Town of Eagle released updates on the plan yesterday. The updates include a photo album of Existing Conditions at the Eagle River Park site, new descriptions of the four whitewater features, and a recap of the latest Steering Committee meeting, including the guiding principles for the park design.
PG&E announced on February 2, 2017 that it was withdrawing its application to relicense the DeSabla – Centerville Hydroelectric Project on Butte Creek and the West Branch Feather River. PG&E engaged in a fifteen year relicensing process, spent tens of millions, only to determine that the energy from this project has been replaced by solar power.
Gateway, Colorado - Last month, American Whitewater, in partnership with local property owners, conservation and wildlife agencies, kicked off a multi-phase project to remove and rehabilitate a low-head diversion structure on the Dolores River. The Project, funded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will improve boater safety and enhance fish and riparian habitats along one of the mosty highly valued rivers in the Southern Rockies.
Dotsero, Colorado - A key river access point on the Upper Colorado river, once threatened with closure, has now been permanently protected through a partnership between BLM and Eagle County.
With so much news and change coming out of Washington DC over the past week, we put together a quick recap of recent actions that we think will affect whitewater rivers. We also put together some options for sharing your opinions on these issues with lawmakers.
The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to protect the Methow Headwaters from an industrial-scale copper mine above the town of Mazama. The proposed mine would negatively impact the incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Methow Valley. A strong show of public support will be required to secure protection for this river valley.
We have a once in a generation opportunity to restore one of the greatest river systems of the
world–the Columbia and the Snake–by removing four outdated and expensive dams on
the lower Snake River. Federal agencies are accepting public comment on the future of the
Columbia and Snake River dams through February 7th, 2017, and your voices are important to this
process! Unlocking the lower Snake River is not only the single most effective thing that we can
do to restore wild salmon runs, but it will also restore whitewater opportunities on the mainstem
Snake and enhance them in key upper tributaries.
For 35 years the National Paddling Film Festival has been hosting a competition to determine the best in paddle sport videos and images. Come see American Whitewater and the year's best photos and videos at the National Paddling Film Festival (NPFF)! This year's NPFF will be held on February 17-18 in Frankfort, KY at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Tickets are $20 online or $25 at the door.
There is only one more day left to share what you value most in the Browns Canyon National Monument planning area! The Bureau of Land Management, U.S Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to develop a Coordinated Management Plan for Browns Canyon National Monument. In order to design a plan that most benefits citizens and visitors of Colorado, the agencies designed an Online Survey and Mapping Tool to understand how the public interacts with the Browns Canyon planning area and what aspects of the area are most important to the public.
The AW Journal wants YOU to send us your river stories in 2017!
On January 12, 2017, the BLM and Forest Service announced a 20-year halt to new mining activities in the watersheds of the North Fork Smith, Illinois, Pistol River and Hunter Creek in Oregon. American Whitewater celebrates this important milestone with the conservation and recreation partners that we've worked with, and thanks Representatives DeFazio and Huffman and Senators Wyden and Merkley for their dedication to protecting this place. And we thank YOU too for standing up for these wild rivers!
After several years of implementing interim management measures, the Coconino and Tonto National Forests are preparing a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for Fossil Creek. The CRMP will provide detailed direction, implementation actions, and monitoring to protect and enhance river values. A preliminary comment opportunity is open through Friday January 27th (recently extended from January 13th) on alternatives the Forest Service is considering.
Colorado - American Whitewater has released a new study on whitewater recreation in the San Miguel River Basin. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts for the San Miguel River. Montrose County acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in hopes of building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. American Whitewater worked with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals would have on existing recreational opportunities.
The State of Colorado is asking lawmakers to approve $25 million for developing Stream Management Plans around the State to protect environmental and recreational values while providing for our increasing water needs. The funding proposal will be reviewed on Wednesday, January 11th, and there will be opportunities for YOU to support this important work to save our rivers.
As re-construction of the Tusher Dam and boat chute on Utah's Green River comes to a close this month, American Whitewater is working with the State of Utah and US Natural Resources Conservation Serivice to provide updates on the Project. Here's the latest news on installation of boater warning signs, and the ‘Flow Allocation Agreement’ which commits flows for recreation at the boat chute.
In June 2017, American Whitewater members will have an opportunity to join American Whitewater staff and board members for an exclusive trip on Oregon's Rogue River. We invite you to come learn more about what we're up to while having a great time enjoying one of our nation's first Wild and Scenic Rivers.
Federal decision makers are accepting comments on their plans for the New River Dries until January 8th. American Whitewater has proposed a schedule of 41 annual releases that will be great for the river, paddlers, and other stakeholders. Individuals are encouraged to comment, as are clubs and businesses.
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. Enjoy these incredible opportunities, and be safe out there!
This week, President Obama declared the Bears Ears region of southeast Utah a National Monument, permanently protecting this incredible region that includes the San Juan River. American Whitewater is especially proud to announce that the National Monument Proclamation specifically acknowledges whitewater paddling as an appropriate and valued recreation activity.
The Green River, from the Flaming Gorge Dam to its confluence with the Colorado River, is known for its beautiful and iconic multiday paddling trips enjoyed by boaters and anglers. For as long as any of us can remember, the only man-made obstruction to boaters and fish on this stretch has been the Green River Diversion Dam (i.e., Tusher Dam), located just over 6 miles upstream of the town of Green River, UT and more than 120 miles above its confluence with the Colorado River. Since it was first built in 1913, the Tusher Dam and the keeper hydraulic it created forced boaters to either portage around it or run the unsafe hazard, while negatively affecting fish migration patterns.
A new proposal to allow the development of a 90- acre open pit mine in Eagle County at the gateway to the Colorado River has local river users asking questions. We encourage everyone to attend an Open House December 6 at 6 PM at the Gypsum Recreation Center, and to make your voices heard at the Town Council meeting where they will discuss the application on December 13 at 7 PM.
For the past five years the Oregon State Marine Board has been engaging with the non-motorized boating community to learn how the Marine Board can better meet the needs of the community. The state's Non-Motorized Boating Advisory Committee made a unanimous recommendation to institute a Non-Motorized Boating Program that includes elements to address access, safety, education and funding. As an outcome of this process the Marine Board is proposing legislation for the 2017 legislative session that includes a new fee for paddlesports. We are seeking paddler input on this proposal.
In a strong statement of bipartisan support for the value of the outdoor recreation economy, the Senate and House have now both unanimously passed legislation that will count outdoor recreation jobs as part of Gross Domestic Product.
The agreements that provide recreational releases on the wildly popular Ocoee River expire at the end of 2018. American Whitewater has created a survey to help us better understand and advocate for the interests of paddlers as TVA reconsiders releases. If you paddle the Ocoee, please take 5 minutes to share your thoughts with us.
Organizational governance and the continuity of such governance are key responsibilities of our Board of Directors. American Whitewater is very fortunate to have Directors 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. Please place your ballots for Directors to fill four open seats. Current American Whitewater members can cast their votes for Directors through Midnight Pacific Time, December 15th.
The Chehalis Basin is the second largest river basin in Washington State. It is a uniquely fertile and abundant river basin, but it has suffered from devastating flooding for decades. One proposal to address the chronic flooding issue is construction of a new dam that would represent the largest new dam in Washington State in years on a currently free-flowing river. A public comment period is now open on this project through November 14th.
Your gift matters! American Whitewater is working hard to protect and restore flows to Colorado’s rivers. With your support, we’ll defend the public’s ability to fish and float Colorado’s rivers and keep working hard to ensure that the Colorado Water Plan will protect the state's rivers and the communities that rely on them for years to come.
On October 29-30, recreational releases on the Pit 1 reach of the Pit River marked the end of another amazing year for restored boating opportunities at hydropower projects in California, with over 100 days of whitewater releases this year alone. While all this is very good news for paddlers and rivers, there is bad news looming on the horizon. Some members of Congress are pushing to pass a comprehensive energy bill and we need your help to stop it.
Last year our friends at REI started a movement for people to reconnect outdoors over the holidays. At American Whitewater we enthusiastically join our partners at REI in the belief that A Life Outdoors Is a Life Well Lived. We encourage all our members to join in building on the momentum of #OptOutside to start a new tradition the day after Thanksgiving.
American Whitewater has been working with our partners to protect cherished whitewater rivers in SW Oregon and NW California from mining threats. Many of you have helped by reaching out to your Congressional representatives and speaking up during agency comment periods. This fall, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are considering temporariliy stopping new mining claims in the region for 20 years and are receiving public comment by December 29th. We need your voices again. Learn more here and take action today!
American Whitewater works to protect and restore whitewater rivers across the country, and we rely on your ongoing support to keep our work on track. In the upcoming months, we will continue our stewardship work on the rivers you love, and ensure that everyone has more opportunities to enjoy them safely. We thank you for becoming an American Whitewater member or making a charitable donation today!
Are you looking for that special Holiday gift for the paddler or river enthusiast on your list?
How about a one year AW membership paired up with our 2017 AW calendar. . .and all for just $40! Giving a great gift and supporting your favorite non-profit at the same time. . .great river karma!
Northeast boaters can celebrate that another beloved whitewater gem has been protected. Paddlers on the Winnipeseaukee River are now assured that the put-in on the Lower Winni in Northfield, NH will be forever protected thanks to the donation of a parcel from Gloria Blais in memory of her husband Roger. Gloria donated the land to the Town of Northfield for the purpose of assuring that future generations of boaters will have access to the river. Protecting river access to the Winni is part of an ongoing effort by AW in the northeast region to protect river access.
Thanks to an organization wide effort to provide transparency and operate efficiently, Charity Navigator awarded American Whitewater with its seventh consecutive 4-star rating. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that American Whitewater adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Only 3% of the nonprofits Charity Navigator rates have received seven consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that American Whitewater outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates American Whitewater from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust and support.
Arkansas River, Colorado - Over the next few days, paddlers are encouraged to participate in a series of listening sessions that will to guide the development of the Coordinated Management Plan for Browns Canyon National Monument. This is your chance to help decide how you want to recreate within the monument, what is meaningful about it and the role it plays in the way we live, work and play.
In an important victory for Ernie’s Gorge and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, we learned earlier today that Black Canyon Hydro LLC was withdrawing its application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project, FERC P-14110). This project would have dewatered the North Fork Snoqualmie River severely impacting native rainbow and cutthroat trout, posed a risk to the City of Snoqualmie’s water supply, and irreversibly harmed a world-class kayak run.
As we do from time to time, we’re soliciting stories from you to help make our magazine the best it can be. So whether you’re a regular contributor or someone who’s never written about paddling before, now is the time to write and send us your stories.
We would like to recognize lifetime American Whitewater member, Keith Kishiyama, for organizing the ACA sponsored Rock Creek Slalom and Tobin Downriver Race for the 2016 Feather River Festival. Keith’s experience designing the annual Mokelumne River Slalom and organizing the annual Cherry Creek Race made him the perfect candidate to take over the paddling fun at this year’s Feather Fest.
We would like to thank Matt Anger, our volunteer of the month for helping set a new precedent this year at Gauley Fest, American Whitewater's biggest fundraiser of the year! Matt was essential in contributing to the early set up and challenging break down at the festival grounds.
Public Scoping Hearings have been scheduled this fall in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to discuss the fate of Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon resources in the Snake River Watershed. We are encouraging the paddling community to engage in this public process which has implications for the overall health of the Snake River ecosystem and tributaries like the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon River.
Snohomish County Public Works has published the long-awaited Environmental Assessment for repairs on the Index-Galena Road that historically provided access to the North Fork Skykomish River for whitewater boaters. Public input will be considered in agency decision making on whether repair of this important access road will move forward. The deadline for comments is October 31, 2016.
Ohiopyle Falls (PA) Festival Update - due to significant rain in the mid atlantic for the weekend of the Ohiopyle Falls Race, the Ohiopyle Fall Festival and Over the Falls Race is being postponed to Oct 15, 2016. We hope to see everyone there.
Feather Festival, Gauley Festival, and Gore Fest were all a stomping good time for the paddling community and supported the American Whitewater river stewardship program. Well it’s not over yet! Russell Fork Rendezvous takes place October 21 - 23 in Elkhorn City, KY.
Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the designation of Montana's four Wild and Scenic Rivers (3 Flathead Forks + the Missouri). We now have a once-in-a-generation chance to expand on that incredible legacy of river conservation in Montana. Take action to support new river protections on the Flathead National Forest this week!
Colorado, Sept. 2016 – After another lengthy round of meetings between American Whitewater and our conservation partners, and members of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), a monumental shift in Wild & Scenic River considerations has been won in the State. This week, the CWCB reversed its long-standing policy of opposing federal Wild & Scenic River protections and voted unanimously to support the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild and Scenic Suitability determination for key segments of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers, and important tributaries to the Gunnison River.
Earlier this year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown designated portions of the Molalla and Chetco Rivers as the state’s first new State Scenic Waterways since 1988. Now, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is developing rules that will apply to how the rivers are managed. The agency is seeking public comment on their proposed rules through 5 p.m. on Friday, September 30th. The whitewater paddling community highly values the Chetco and Molalla Rivers, and we encourage you to weigh in on this final step of the process!
The Oregon Water Resources Department recently proposed a new rule that will protect the instream uses of the Smith River and its tributaries. The rule is a critical step in proactively safeguarding the fish, wildlife, and recreation uses of the waters of the Smith River watershed in Oregon from ill-advised water development such as large-scale mining proposals. The agency is requesting public comment by 5 p.m. on October 28th, and we encourage you to weigh in!
American Whitewater "Ohiopyle Over the Falls Festival" will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Come on out and participate in the Falls Race, the Freestyle event, or just run laps on the falls!
American Whitewater and Vermont Paddlers Club today appealed the decision by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that limits whitewater boating opportunities on the Green River in Morristown. DEC issued a water quality certification for the Morrisville Hydroelectric Project that reduces opportunities for whitewater kayakers to paddle the Green River compared with natural conditions, and in addition, eliminates all opportunities for scheduled whitewater boating releases that are enjoyed by scores of paddlers from the northeast as well as boaters from Canada under current operations. The Green River is a highly valued whitewater river containing a series of challenging drops and falls as it descends from the Green River Reservoir to the Lamoille River.
It’s safe to say that Gore Fest 2016 was a huge success! The weekend was host to great flows, skilled paddlers, just the perfect amount of carnage, and an incredible volunteer squad that kept the river safe and the party wild. Over 400 people joined us at Rancho del Rio to enjoy what Gore Canyon and the Upper Colorado have to offer. A total of 153 kayakers, rafters, and SUP-boarders competed in races and freestyle events. Overall, we had 159 new and renewing members pledge to support American Whitewater and our stewardship efforts.
This month, American Whitewater recognizes Nannette Johnson as our September Volunteer of the Month. Nannette was instrumental to this years GoreFest, working closely with our Colorado Stewardship Team to put on an amazing weekend of paddling, partying and raising support and awareness for the protection of flows in the Upper Colorado River.
Arizona – Right now, legislation to construct a massive, amusement park-style development in the Grand Canyon has been introduced to the Navajo Nation Tribal Council. This massive development includes a tramway from the Grand Canyon Rim to the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, a food pavilion, amphitheater and an elevated walkway at the confluence, and at the rim hotels, restaurants, and cultural center. As paddlers who’ve either experienced the Grand Canyon, or dream to one day, we’ve got to voice our opposition to this project NOW.
Earlier this summer West Virginia was hit hard with massive flooding. Both the Gauley River and Meadow River watersheds were flooded by heavy rains. The Gauley River set a flow record and Summersville Lake recorded the second highest lake level in its history. Downstream, nearly every boat launch and take-out was damaged to some degree. Despite the flooding, the put-ins and take-outs at the Tailwaters, Mason’s Branch, Wood’s Ferry, and upper Swiss will all be open for Gauley season. Read an open letter to Gauley boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area.
The California State Water Resources Control Board has ordered the decommissioning of the Centerville Powerhouse on Butte Creek to protect spring run salmon. This is part of a relicensing agreement that American Whitewater has been working on since 2003. As a result, Butte Creek, located in Northern California will be receiving more water.
The decades-old agreements between rafting outfitters and the Tennessee Valley Authority that provide for recreational water releases in the Upper and Middle Ocoee River will expire in 2018. TVA and the outfitters have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement for many months, and thus far no agreement has been reached. This week, American Whitewater and several regional affiliate clubs requested inclusion in those talks to represent our interests in the Ocoee River continuing to be a recreational treasure and economic boon to the region.