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.
American Whitewater is proud to announce that the Blue River Watershed Group in Summit and Grand Counties, will receive a $1,250 grant to support their stewardship project on Colorado’s Blue River. The Group is building community and financial support for construction of the Blue River Whitewater Course, to be located in the town of Silverthorne, Colorado.
Colorado - Montrose County has acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in southwest Colorado and is currently engaged in a water storage feasibility study aimed at building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. The Colorado Water Conservation Board requested Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts. American Whitewater is currently working with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals will have on existing recreational opportunities.
Gauley Fest is just around the corner. . .have you reserved your Vendor space? Gauley Fest's Marketplace gets bigger and better every year. Take advantage of the 15% discount on Vendor booths through August 31st. Reserve your booth today and lock in your discounted price!
As summer winds down and as botable flows fade along with it, you may find yourself looking for one last hurrah. One more chance to gather with the tribe, paddle an exciting stretch of whitewater and dance into the wee hours of the night wih the reckless abandon only a gypsy boater can. Look no further! American Whitewater provides the flows and the party, with the three best paddling festivals of the summer right around the corner – Gore Festival (CO) August 26-28, Gauley River Festival (WV) September 15-18, and Feather River Festival (CA) September 23-25
Dolores, Colorado - This is the first year since 2011 that water managers on the Dolores River released boating flows from McPhee Dam and reservoir. For some, the recreational releases were something to celebrate. For others, they were confounding and underscored the frustration all boaters have felt since the Project came online 30 years ago.
The El Dorado County Transportation Division has issued a feasibility study proposing to remove access at the river once construction for a new Mosquito Road Bridge is started on the South Fork American River. Effectively, through the use of distance and no parking signs the county will end public access to a navigable river. They justify these actions by citing that El Dorado County never authorized public river access at Mosquito Road Bridge.
This summer the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests are seeking feedback from the public on their update and revisions to Forest Management Plans. These plans set the stage for how the forest will be managed for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, the agency's draft analysis on Wild and Scenic Rivers has largely neglected whitewater recreation values of classic whitewater rivers, including Dinkey Creek. Paddler's voices are important in this process! The deadline to comment is August 25th.
Colorado - American Whitewater is excited to host this year’s Gore Canyon Festival - building on the 30+ year legacy of the Gore Canyon downriver race, with a freestyle rodeo, SUP races and demos, and family floats this year. Register as a competitor, or volunteeer to help with logistics or safety today!
The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently took a step that sets the stage for increasing recreation flow days for the Class V Slab Creek reach on the South Fork American River in the future. The SWRCB has issued a 401 Certification for Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s new Slab Creek powerhouse and boating flow release valve.
American Whitewater is the only national non-profit organization exclusively focused on conserving and restoring whitewater rivers. Each day, we work to protect free flowing rivers, restore flows to rivers impacted by hydroelectric projects, secure access, and advocate for new Wild and Scenic rivers throughout the country. Your membership is a key part of what makes our efforts possible. Our 2015 Annual Report is available on-line now.
As we head towards Upper Yough Race Day (July 23rd) in Friendsville it's time to recognizesome people who make access to the river easier. Thanks to Jess Whittemore for visualizing the Friendsville Parking Lot and to Friendsville Town Council for following through and making it happen. Thanks to hundreds of paddlers who contributed money for the parking lot, who stay clear of residential areas on Water Street, and patronize local businesses. And a special thank you to Don Millard who mows the access areas in Friendsville and Sang Run to keep our access costs low. Don't YOU forget to put a few dollars in the donation box in Sang Run to pay for the portable toilet! Jeff Macklin Photo
American Whitewater is proud to announce the two affiliate club recipients of the 2016 Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign: Merrimack Valley Paddlers and The Blue River Watershed Group! Each group will receive a $1,250 grant to go towards their respective stewardship projects. Thanks to all the affiliate groups who participated in this year's grant process. Most of all, a huge thanks goes out to Clif Bar for sponsoring this wonderful opportunity for river stewardship!
Paddlers have successfully helped to defend the public right to float rivers and streams in South Carolina. In a decision released late last week, a South Carolina court rejected an attempt to privatize a section of the South Fork of the Saluda River known as Blythe Shoals. The Court ruled that the entire river – rapids and all – is navigable and shall remain open to recreational paddling. This is great news for South Carolina river enthusiasts!
As our volunteers of the month, we wish to recognize Luke Spencer and Pete Giordano who spent countless hours in meetings and site visits to make new improved access to the Clackamas River a reality. In recognition of Luke's and Pete's efforts, they will each receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket, thanks to Kokatat's support of AW's Volunteer of the Month award.Thank you Luke and Pete!
Denver, CO - American Whitewater is thrilled to announce our new Industry Partnership with Good River Beer. The partnership was born out of a shared love for river recreation and a shared vision for river conservation, and is made possible by Good River Beer’s unique business model. Good River Beer has committed to donating two percent of their revenue to river stewardship and conservation, and half of that will benefit American Whitewater’s Colorado River Stewardship Program.
You have to register your vehicle and trailer, so why not show your support for Colorado’s rivers with the Protect Our Rivers license plates! 100% of the money raised goes toward the conservation, protection and restoration of rivers and streams in Colorado. For every License Plate ordered with AW's Partner Code, a portion of your donation goes directly to support our stewardship efforts!
The Tuolumne River Trust's annual paddle-a-thon to protect the Tuolumne River and raise funds and awareness for river stewardship, the Paddle to the Sea, is now a new "bigger and better" event series called By Land & By River. This year there’s even more ways to explore the Tuolumne watershed including an upcoming event, whitewater rafting the world-class rapids of the American River on Saturday and Sunday July 16th and 17th.
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2017 Calendar now through August 1, 2016. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
The July/August issue of the AW Journal is available online now. This issue features the American Whitewater Annual Report. Our Annual Report focuses on 2015 financial performance and stewardship highlights.
This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioned (FERC) issued a final order denying a license for the Twin Lakes Canal Company’s proposal to build a 109-foot-tall hydroelectric dam on the Bear River in southeast Idaho. American Whitewater and our partners have worked diligently for over 14 years to protect the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River, and we’re celebrating this final decision, which will keep this section of river freely flowing!
In the settlement negotiations that preceded the 2001 license order for the FERC Mokelumne River Project #137, American Whitewater was satisfied with the recreational flows required for the Electra to Middle Bar reach. However, over the past few years dependable boatable flows on the Mokelumne Electra run have all but disappeared.
Twice each year, we reach out to you to ask that you become a member or renew your membership to American Whitewater, or to consider making a tax-deductible donation. Please take a moment to see what your contribution will support next year in our 2016 Summer Appeal.
Negotiations on an Energy Bill are about to get underway and the hydropower industry wants a piece of the action. Under the guise of "modernizing" hydropower and "reducing costs," the hydropower industry is working feverishly to get a free pass on environmental regulations that help us restore flows to rivers. If they are successful, it will damage our work to restore flows and enhance whitewater recreation downstream of hydropower projects. Take action today to help us restore rivers and keep them flowing.
Advocates for the Spokane River are asking Gov. Jay Inslee to grant their petition for protecting all instream values of the Spokane River, including recreational boating opportunities. This is the next step in the citizens’ quest to protect Spokane River flows. A petition was filed in February with the Washington Department of Ecology, and rejected by the agency in April.
Immediately downstream of the New River Gorge, a beautiful 5.5-mile section of the New River has been dewatered for generations. Paddlers call this reach the New River Dries, and know it for the huge surf waves that form at high water. The Hawks Nest hydroelectric project removes 10,000cfs from the Dries, leaving only 100cfs except when high flows overwhelm the dam. The relicensing of the dam offers a once-in a lifetime opportunity to restore flows to the New River. American Whitewater filed comments today with federal regulators outlining our vision.
The Flathead National Forest is a treasure trove of whitewater paddling thanks to the three forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River, the Swan River, and many robust tributaries. Today, the Forest released their new inventory of streams they intend to protect as eligible for future Wild and Scenic designation. The inventory includes 22 outstanding streams, 10 of which are new eligible streams totalling 125 river miles. These streams were recommended for protection by American Whitewater, our partners in Montanans for Healthy Rivers, and citizens from across the state and country.
Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell introduced the Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016 to protect Washington’s Methow River from the impacts of industrial-scale mining. The bill supports the efforts of recreational interests, civic and business leaders, farmers and ranchers, and Methow residents to safeguard the lands and waters of the Methow Valley and protect them permanently from mining.
Boaters from throughout the northeast will come together on June 24-26 in Charlemont, MA to celebrate the Deerfield River. The event is AW's biggest fundraiser in the northeast. The Deerfeild Fest will be held at the Charlemont Fairgrounds on June 25th from 3-11 pm and will include live music, vendors, beer, and a silent auction. This year, AW is joining forces with Zoar Outdoor to create a Deerfield Festival Weekend that will include Zoar's Demofest with free clinics and boat demos throughout the weekend from professional instructors and industry representatives.
American Whitewater is actively monitoring a water storage project that the El Dorado Irrigation District is proposing on Alder Creek that will deeply impact the South and Silver Forks of the American River. Classic whitewater sections on these two forks would be affected including, on the SF American, Lovers Leap, Kyburz, Riverton & Golden Gate, and on the Silver Fork, the Dugald Bremner Run, Middle and Lower Runs.
THIS WEEK ONLY! 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!
Gauley Fest. . .bigger and better every year!
Gauley Fest is a showcase for American Whitewater and the top whitewater vendors in the boating community.
Vendor registration is now open and we encourage you to reserve your space now! Registration for Basic and Non-Profit booth space purchases are available online via our Gauley Fest Vendor Registration Form.
Take advantage of the 15% discount on Vendor booths through August 31st. Reserve your booth today and lock in your discounted price!
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Green River Dam rehabilitation project. This is a big win for the Green River and we want to thank our partners at the NRCS for their role.
Please take a second to sign our thank-you letter and tweet your thanks for a successful project!
Green River, Utah – We are celebrating the Green River Dam rehabilitation project, which replaced the lowhead dam upstream of the Town of Green River, and created three new fish passages and a boat chute. Join AW, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other partners on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The Event will take place at the project site via Hastings Road at 11:00 am, and bring your boats!
American Whitewater announces the 2016 Gore Canyon Race and Festival August 26th-28th. This years Festival will be held at Rancho del Rio, 10 miles downstream of the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Site. In addition to the famous Gore Canyon Race, the festival also includes a family fun float through Little Gore Canyon, a freestyle rodeo, SUP downriver and cross races, and movies, live music, food and drinks, and all things fun! Be sure to mark your calendars!
The relicensing of 5 hydropower projects along the Connecticut River is moving closer to conclusion with the release of the whitewater boating study report for Bellows Falls and Sumner Falls (NH/VT). American Whitewater and its affilliates filed comments today in support of the study conclusion that valuable whitewater boating opportunities exist at both locations. AW and its partners also recently filed comments in response to the Draft License Application filed by FirstLight for the Turners Falls and Northfield Mountain (MA) hydropower projects, demanding restoration of flows to the natural river channel.
American Whitewater and Clif Bar are pleased to announce the Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign, pledging $2,500 to American Whitewater Affiliate Clubs for river stewardship work. Grants will be distributed to clubs for projects that promote river stewardship, conservation, access and/or safety on rivers in the United States.
Cortez, CO - Over the past several months, AW and agencies in the Dolores River basin have been studying anticipated runoff and inflows into McPhee Reservoir in Southwest Colorado, and negotiating how best to provide optimal paddling conditions on the lower Dolores River. The most recent forecast was released today...
Good news Middle Fork Feather boaters! The Plumas National Forest has announced that it has reopened Milsap Bar Road to high clearance vehicles past the slide area.
PacifiCorp is hosting a whitewater focus group for the Weber River Hydroelectric Project. Focus group participants will help provide an understanding of the whitewater boating opportunities and use patterns on the reach of the Weber River downstream of the Project diversion. Environmental Resources Management will be conducting the focus group. Your input is needed on whitewater boating opportunities, use patterns, flow preferences, and access in the Scrambled Eggs run.
Soak Creek has been named Tennessee's newest Scenic River—the first to earn the designation in 15 years. A tributary of the Piney River, this free-flowing creek serves as critical habitat for the iconic species of the Cumberland Plateau and provides a wide range of outdoor opportunities for all ages as it winds through a scenic gorge and along the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park. The designation helps to formalize the work local landowners, nonprofit groups and state agencies have done to ensure the public has access to this pristine natural treasure for generations to come.
American Whitewater is committed to providing the paddling community and our members with the highest quality service and the best representation for river stewardship. In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, we are conducting an on-line survey that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Help us serve you better by sharing your feedback.
Newspapers are reporting that several landowners filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia earlier this week, seeking to claim ownership of the riverbed of Johns Creek. Litigation that in any way diminishes paddling rights could threaten Virginian’s cherished connection to their outdoors and public waters. American Whitewater will review the lawsuit filings when they become available.
This month, American Whitewater recognizes Lauren Nance as our Volunteer of the Month. Lauren has been working closely with our Colorado Stewardship Team to protect the interest of paddlers in the Upper Colorado River. In recognition of Lauren’s efforts, she will receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket, thanks to Kokatat's support of AW's Volunteer of the Month award. Thank You Lauren!
Forty three percent of paddling in the United States is on public lands. These shared lands form the backbone of our access to wild rivers, they are our American inheritance, and they are under attack. Last year congress passed a resolution that paved the way for our forests, wilderness areas and parks to be put up for sale.
Colorado - After a warm February in Colorado, the forcast for boating flows on the Lower Dolores River takes a turn. While February forecasts suggested a 50/50 chance of a good spill from McPhee Reservoir, the latest data from forecast centers suggests that conditions currently range from a smaller spill, to nothing.
As the whitewater release season begins, it's time to celebrate our partnership with the town of Friendsville, MD, the takeout for the popular Upper Youghiogheny River. American Whitewater works closely with the town, negotiating the releases and managing parking and other issues. The new parking area is now entering its second season. Paddlers raised $25,000 in seed money and a $10,000 in-kind donation which in turn attracted $160,000 in grants to build it. Don Millard, a paddler from Fort Hill, PA, mows the grass here and at Sang Run. Thanks to his work river access fees are unusually low: The season opens on Friday, April 15 and every Friday thereafter. The first full weekend is May 6-9; Cheat Fest Weekend! Please observe the usual courtesies when in town: Use the rest rooms and change facilities at the parking area. Don't drink alcohol in public and avoid loud behavior that would disturb nearby residents. Never park in residential areas along the river. And take time to patronize the many businesses in town who are eagerly awaiting your arrival. Click through for more info on the river and the release schedule:
The North Fork of the Feather River will be boatable every day for the rest of 2016! Flows will increase because of a revised flow schedule and the wet year we are having in California. Almost twenty years ago, American Whitewater made it our goal to restore the North Fork Feather River and this new flow regime is a testament to our success.
On Friday, March 25, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed our bridge access bill (Substitute Senate Bill 6363) into law. The bill requires that the Department of Transportation evaluate public access for state highway projects that include building or re-constructing a bridge across a navigable waterway.
Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission is considering whether to protect the North Fork Smith and its tributaries under the Clean Water Act's highest type of water quality protection. The river is threatened by a nickel strip mine proposal in its headwaters, and you can help protect the North Fork Smith and its tributaries by weighing in.
Dave Brown, the man behind Friends of the Ocoee and Citizens For Gauley River, has announced his intent to retire as executive director of America Outdoors, the national outfitters association. The team of lawyers and scientists he assembled in the early 1980's to keep the Upper Gauley from being dammed - Pete Skinner, Pope Barrow, Mac Thornton, and Steve Taylor - later became the core of a Board of Directors that revitalized American Whitewater. He also organized the first Gauley Festival, which would later be handed over to American Whitewater. Outfitters have been a vital part of the coalition seeking to protect whitewater rivers and Dave has been an outstanding leader in these fights. Click through for his refections on his remarkable career.
The Forest Service has been managing the Upper White Salmon River (upstream of Farmlands) as a Wild and Scenic River since it was designated by Congress in 2005. The Forest Service has schedulded a public listening session for April 28th to solicit feedback on the development of a river managment plan.
California is emerging from a multi-year drought and numerous dam proposals threaten rivers throughout the state. These proposals do little to address the state's water concerns and come with a hefty price tag. American Whitewater is focusing efforts to stop these unnecessary surface storage projects.
This morning, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon released the Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act, which is an effort to recognize the importance of recreation on public lands and waters.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), American Whitewater and other consultation group members including Jim Eicher, BLM Mother Lode Associate Field Manager, have scheduled the required 2016 recreational flows for South Fork Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir and the South Fork American River below Slab Creek Dam.
Every spring paddlers in the Midwest make their annual pilgrimage to enjoy a few weeks of great whitewater on the creeks that flow into Lake Superior. One of these creeks is the Yellow Dog in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is working to purchase private forest land along the river and make it a Community Forest. The goal is within reach and the paddling community can make a critical contribution.
The National Park Service is celebrating its Centennial this year (2016) and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act’s 50th anniversary is coming up in 2018. We encourage the paddling community to get out there, take photos, and enjoy rivers while finding your park! You can help tell the story of these rivers which supports their conservation and stewardship by sharing your photos.
Access to Colorado's Eagle River for boaters, anglers, and river enthusiasts will be improved by the Town of Eagles new River Corridor Plan, an ambitious project that aims to strengthen the town’s connection to its river. Stay tuned for opportunities to support the Towns efforts and bring another Colorado river back to life!
National Paddling Film Festival could not happen without a team of committed volunteers who give freely of their time and effort in support of river stewardship. This March, we recognize John Mello, NPPF Event Director, as our AW Volunteer of the Month.
American Whitewater joined in petitioning the Washington Department of Ecology to amend its inadequate flow rule for the Spokane River. In setting the rule, the state agency ignored all public comments in support of protecting the Spokane River, and adopted a flow rule of 850cfs, a flow that is too low and jeopardizes the health of the Spokane River and public uses that include whitewater recreation. We are seeking a minimum summertime flow of 1,800 – 2800cfs to support fisheries and recreation, and protect higher flows for recreation when available.
Vermont has issued draft conditions for the relicensing of the hydropower project on the Green River that would drastically limit naturally occurring boatable flows and eliminates all opportunities for scheduled whitewater boating releases for the next 40-50 years. There is a public hearing at 7 pm on February 16th in Morrisville. This will be an opportunity for you to be heard, for the boaters to be heard. We (the North East boating community) need you to take action via written comments. AW and the Vermont Paddlers Club have filed comments in support of whitewater boating on the Green River. Boaters are encouraged to submit comments to Vermont before the February 19th deadline.
We are pleased to recognize Edgar Peck as the Volunteer of the Month for February. Edgar facilitated a successful effort to buy a new put-in on the classic Watauga River near Boone, North Carolina. Together with the take-out AW owns, the public is now guaranteed permanent access to the outstanding Watauga River.
We are sad to report the passing of Wolf Bauer one of American Whitewater’s original founders. Born in 1912 in the Bavarian Alps, Wolf came to Seattle at the age of 13. In 1948 Wolf established the Washington Foldboat Club (today Washington Kayak Club) and in 1954 he was among the founders of American Whitewater. Wolf had a huge impact on whitewater instruction and river conservation, a legacy that extends over a century.
Paddlers made a strong showing at the January 28th Deep Creek Watershed Planning Meeting in McHenry, MD. Releases from Deep Creek Lake that support paddling on the Upper Youghioghenny River have been under attack by homeowners on backwater lots who are left high and dry during droughts. Friendsville town councilman Jess Whittemore and Upper Yough outfitter Roger Zbell have been ably representing whitewater paddlers for years. Jess told me that the presence of so many boaters, especially those who own property in Garrett County, made a strong impression on the County Commissioners. They were also impressed by the many thoughtful emails recieved from paddlers throughout the East. This will put us in a good position for the 2019 relicensing. Thanks to Friendsviller paddler and attorney Bob Allen for representing American Whitewater. Jeff Macklin photo.
In June 2016, 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.
American Whitewater initiated legal action this past week on a hydropower project that is not in compliance with environmental laws protecting river values. While hydropower provides an important source of energy for the Pacific Northwest region, owners of these facilities have a responsibility to operate them in compliance with the laws and regulations that all hydropower operators must adhere to.
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 19-20 in Frankfort, KY at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
For the March 2016 issue of the American Whitewater Journal, we'll be highlighting the perils and promise of river access. Our Colorado Stewardship Program wants to hear your stories! Help us fix River Access!
The Washington Department of Natural Resources is embarking on a new planning project that will guide recreation on DNR-managed lands in the Nooksack River and Whatcom Lake watersheds for the next 10-15 years. The effort will kick off with two public open houses that will be scheduled for January.
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.
This month, American Whitewater supporters stepped up, took action, and made a difference on two important issues that have a big impact on river conservation and recreation. As Congress wraps up the session for 2015, here’s an update on where things stand with hydropower legislation and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
One of the classic West Coast guidebooks is now available on the AW website for download. Dick Schwind’s guidebook, published in 1974, contains many rivers that are still uncovered in other guides, online or in print. His work also provides a great window into what it was like to be a paddler in the 1970’s
This week marked a major milestone in our efforts to protect Western North Carolina streams using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. American Whitewater and numerous paddlers wrote to the Forest Service to share the exemplary values of the region's whitewater gems and to argue for their full protection. We would like to thank all the paddlers that attended a public meeting or wrote an email to the Forest Service.
In response to American Whitewater and community advocacy to follow CA Streets & Highway Code 991, the Transportation Division of the El Dorado County Community Development Agency issued an invitation to comment on river access for the Mosquito Bridge Replacement Project. Mosquito Road Bridge is one of two public take-out sites for the South Fork American River below Slab Creek and allows paddlers the option to take-out before the Cls V Motherlode Falls Rapid. Thus it is important for paddlers to take the opportunity to comment with specific river access needs.
The California State Lands Commission (SLC) is in the final stages of updating their strategic plan through the final draft of the California State Lands Commission Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020. Led by California State Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, State Controller, Betty Yee and Director of Finance, Michael Cohen the Lands Commission is tasked with protecting the lands that are controlled by the State of California. This includes all of the lands under and adjacent to the navigable rivers within the State.
On December 1st Black Canyon Hydro LLC filed its License Application for the Black Canyon Hydropower Project. If constructed, this project would involve dewatering Ernie’s Gorge and putting it in a pipe to generate hydropower. We expect that a public comment period will soon open providing an opportunity for feedback on their application.
In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.
In response to requests by American Whitewater, several affiliates, and other stakeholders, FERC directed Brookfield Renewable to study the impact of its hydropower operations on whitewater boating on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. Boating groups and our supporters are seeking to determine optimal whitewater boating flows from the Fife Brook Dam and whether changes in hydropower operations would enhance boating opportunities, access and navigation.
After 3 years of discussion and negotiation with Southern California Edison and the US Forest Service the Kern River has several new online flow gauges on the Upper Kern River. These gauges will replace the cumbersome and antiquated flow phone that was part of the Kern River #3 license.
Tis the season when American Whitewater works with power companies and other groups to schedule the coming year's dam releases in the Southeast. In addition to hundreds of releases on Class I-III rivers like the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, and Catawba, we put together an outstanding integrated schedule of Class IV and V opportunities. Check it out!
Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest is updating the inventory of rivers they protect as eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. Paddler comments on these streams on the Rocky Mountain Front and other great parts of Montana can help protect some of the state's most outstanding streams from dams and other potential impacts. Comments are due by December 15th, and make great Christmas presents for Montana rivers!
American Whitewater recognizes Bob Larkin, Nate Scally and Eric Hendrickson as our December 2015 Volunteers of the Month for their leadership hosting the Russell Fork Rendezvous and the Lord Of The Fork Race in Elkhorn City, KY. In recognition of the teams efforts, they will each receive a custom Kokatat X-Jacket.
The House is expected to vote the week of November 30th on energy legislation (H.R. 8) that is really, really bad news for rivers. The bill comes as a response to the hydropower industry's efforts to weaken the authority of tribes and state and federal agencies to protect water quality, fish and wildlife, public lands and recreation. If passed, hydropower provisions of H.R. 8 would tip the balance in strong favor of the hydropower industry, and do so at the expense of the local communities that rely on rivers for their livelihoods. Paddler’s voices are important in the process and we encourage you to reach out to your member of Congress today!
American Whitewater has worked with local paddlers and agency planners over the past year to create a river access plan for the Harpers Ferry, WV area. Two popular and scenic class III whitewater runs on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge in Harper's Ferry, yet there are only 3 public parking spaces at the take-out and the public put-ins are far upstream on both rivers. The plan is the result of an outstanding effort by our members and partners, and we are now working together to improve river access opportunities based on the plan.
Denver, Colorado - American Whitewater and our conservation partners across Colorado released a statement today that applauds the release of Colorado’s first-ever water plan. After 10 years of work, it is critical that the Plan now be implemented, so that Colorado's rivers are protected, restored, and enjoyed!
American Whitewater, along with other paddling groups and outfitters, filed comments with FERC responding to the Whitewater Boating Evaluation at Turners Falls on the Connecticut River. The study showed that there is strong demand for boating on this section of the Connecticut River if sufficient flows, scheduled releases, better access, and real-time information are provided. The groups filed the comments in order to provide additional information for the environmental review and to respond to the unsupported statements by FirstLight, the utility performing the study, claiming that there is little demand for boating at Turners Falls.
California State Parks and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will need boater input for a joint General Plan/Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA). This recreation area was originally land set aside for the construction of the infamous Auburn Dam, which was authorized by Congress in 1965. However, after years of delay and the eventual halt to the construction of the dam, these agencies prepared an Interim Resource Management Plan (RMP) to help them address the approximate 250,000 visitors per year using the area in 1992. Today, in 2015, visitation to Auburn SRA has grown to nearly 1 million users per year. State Parks and Reclamation must formulate a updated management plan that will address the growing numbers of visitors and recreational uses in the area.