2021 Southeast Advanced Release Schedule Set!
11/24/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater and our affiliate clubs have spent the past 25 years working to restore flows to incredible Southeastern rivers impacted by dams. A lot of our work has focused on Class II and III rivers like the lower Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Hiwassee, and Catawba, but we also secured releases in some classic steeper reaches previously dewatered by hydroelectric diversions. Each year we meet with power companies and agencies to schedule future releases, review ongoing ecology studies, and discuss any issues with the release programs. We are happy to share the 2021 schedule!
2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION - CURRENT MEMBERS PLEASE VOTE NOW!
11/16/2020 - by Evan Stafford
Each year American Whitewater's membership ratifies Board of Director members to serve three-year terms. These candidates volunteer to serve on the American Whitewater Board. Current American Whitewater members can cast their votes through Midnight Pacific Time, December 15th. Currently, American Whitewater has four Director Nominees to fill four open seats for election, you may vote for up to four candidates on the slate. The ballot for our Board of Directors election is placed online here.
Update: Stream Access Case in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court
11/11/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
In April 2020, American Whitewater Affiliate Club and partner, the Adobe Whitewater Club (AWC), joined New Mexico Wildlife Federation and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers to petition the New Mexico Supreme Court to uphold the constitutional rights of the people to access our public waters, even where they cross private lands. We have been working closely with AWC since the issue arose in the summer of 2019 and you can read more about the evolution of this case here and a much more recent update here. While we wait for a decision from the Supreme Court, the New Mexico Paddlers Coalition - made up of AW, AWC, and New Mexico River Outfitters Association - have been meeting weekly to prepare for our next course of action whether the court rules for or against protecting the public's right to float the state's rivers and streams.
AW Works to Restore Boating Flows to West Canada Creek (NY)
11/11/2020 - by Robert Nasdor
American Whitewater is working to bring whitewater boating back to West Canada Creek in the Adirondacks as part of the relicensing of the hydropower dams at Prospect and Trenton. Over the past month, AW members have participated in two whitewater boating studies on the river demonstrating the importance of whitewater boating on the river.
Check Out the River Stewardship Work Your Engagement Supports
11/11/2020 - by Evan Stafford
American Whitewater has big stewardship plans for 2021, removing dams, securing new Wild and Scenic designations, enhancing access and protections for rivers on public lands, and protecting our bedrock river conservation laws such as the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. We continue to press forward with bipartisan opportunities to pass legislation that's good for our rivers, but we can't do it without your ongoing support to keep our work on track. Your membership dollars and donations will support our conservation efforts, from protecting large landscapes and the whitewater rivers that flow through them to securing protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, restoring flows to rivers impacted by hydropower to advocating for removing deadbeat dams, and protecting flows threatened by water resource projects to our access and safety work. We've got our work cut out for us in 2021. Take a moment to see what your contribution will support in every whitewater region across the country in our 2020 Winter Stewardship Update.
Chehalis Dam Proposal: Another Comment Period Is Currently Open
11/11/2020 - by Thomas O'Keefe
You may have already commented on the proposal for a massive new dam on the Chehalis River, but the Army Corps of Engineers has opened a new round of comment and it is important for the whitewater boating community to document concerns (and thank Governor Inslee for taking steps to chart a new course). Take Action Today
Changes to Upper Yough Permit Yield April Saturday Releases (MD)
11/09/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
The State of Maryland issued a new permit for the Deep Creek Hydroelectric Project earlier this fall that offered the river and its visitors some incremental enhancements to the flow release program. The State hosted several public meetings during 2020 and considered public comments to help shape the new permit, which typically lasts for roughly a decade. The most important change for paddlers is that moving forward, recreational releases in April will be on Saturdays rather than Fridays. Big thanks to paddlers who attended meetings and submitted comments, and to the State of Maryland for keeping the Upper Yough awesome.
New Wild and Scenic Rivers Bill for Montana to be Introduced!
11/09/2020 - by Jim Hepburn
Earlier today, Montana Senator Jon Tester announced the forthcoming introduction of the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act, marking a major milestone in the ongoing and momentous journey towards designating many of the state's most renowned waterways as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Senator's office noted that this legislation would be the "most significant Wild and Scenic River designation in the state in nearly 45 years." The MHLA will protect 336 miles on 17 rivers and streams in the Greater Yellowstone and Upper Missouri Headwaters geographies as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The compilation includes a tried and true sampling of the essential Montana paddling experience, containing classic sections of the Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin, Stillwater, and Boulder, all stacked between the ultra-scenic multi-day section of the Smith and an assortment of rugged and remote wilderness runs on their tributaries.
Midnight Miracle at Kanawha Falls
11/09/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge
A Tennessee kayaker was rescued after spending 8 hours trapped behind the veil of Kanawha Falls, a 15 foot drop located below the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers in West Virginia. The victim was paddling alone; a fisherman spotted his loose kayak and notified authorities. Top expert kayakers from Fayetteville, WV teamed up with WV-DNR officers and first responders to locate and rescue the man. Read their remarkable first-person accounts in the American Whitewater Accident Database: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/detail/accidentid/112642
October Volunteers of the Month Presented by Kokatat
10/20/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
American Whitewater members Vance Harris, Nate O'Connor, Cameron O'Connor, and Dominic Judd are humble heroes. While camping on their way to the recreational releases on Pit 5, these young men took action to prevent another wildfire from burning out of control in Northern California.
Fall 2020 Tallulah Releases Cancelled Due To Covid-19
10/19/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
Tallulah Gorge State Park has determined that scheduled Tallulah Gorge whitewater releases for the fall of 2020 need to be cancelled to comply with their Covid-19 related policies. Access to the gorge floor has been closed to all visitors since March, and paddlers gathering at access areas and on the stairs would exceed their limits on people occupying areas of the Park. Representatives of American Whitewater and an affiliate club represented paddlers on a call today with the Park and power company. While disappointing, we are supportive of the cancellation and feel it is a fair application of current Park policies. We have asked that rescheduling cancelled releases in 2021 be open for discussion early next year.
An Uncommon Dialogue about Hydropower Leads to New Possibilities For Rivers
10/19/2020 - by Evan Stafford
For the past two and a half years American Whitewater has participated in a cooperative effort bringing together members of the hydropower industry, national conservation organizations, the Department of Energy, and others who are committed to addressing the urgent challenge of climate change, and its impacts on rivers. Co-convened by Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment as a part of the Energy Futures Initiative, this Uncommon Dialogue process resulted in a Joint Statement of Collaboration on U.S. Hydropower that outlines our shared task to chart hydropower's role in a clean energy future in a way that also supports healthy rivers.
Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved
10/15/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge
From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers. These great victories are the subject of his new book "Whitewater Wars." Dave was hired by outfitters on both rivers, and his efforts took him from the edge of the river to the halls of congress. On the Gauley a small cadre of private paddlers - Pete Skinner, Mac Thornton, Pope Barrow, Steve Taylor, and Charlie Walbridge - played important roles and later became the nucleus of an American Whitewater board that guided the organization towards it's current position as a national leader in river access and conservation. Dave ran the first Gauleyfest to help build support for protecting the river, and was excited to get 500 attendees! After the Gauley was declared a National Recreation Area the festival was passed over to AW. And the rest is history! It's a great read!
CA Scheduled Releases Mokelumne, NF Feather & Pit
10/14/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
In California, American Whitewater is working with Pacific Gas & Electric and the managing agencies, including USFS and BLM, to provide the following scheduled releases for the Mokelumne, North Fork Feather & the PIT River. Please note that each release has been and is subject to circumstances on the ground regarding COVID 19. All parties keeping in mind the current California State Order as well as local County Health Guidelines.
Time for Some Action on the South Fork Salmon!
10/08/2020 - by Evan Stafford
The Forest Service recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a large-scale mining project in the headwaters of the South Fork Salmon (ID) and we need YOU to let the Forest Service know how important of a whitewater resource the South Fork is to our community! The DEIS clearly states that the Stibnite Gold Project, as proposed, will adversely affect endangered fish species, their habitat, and the river's water quality and quantity. These effects to water quality and quantity will be felt downstream during the project's operation, negatively impacting whitewater paddling, as well as other recreation opportunities. The project also comes with the additional risks of tailings dam failure, acid mine drainage, and cyanide spills, none of which are accounted for in the DEIS. The Forest Service needs to receive an outpouring of objections to this project and to understand that the world class whitewater of the South Fork deserves to be cherished, not diminished.
Virtual Feather Fest Oct. 28th: Music, Prize Drawings, and a Foamie Boater Race
10/07/2020 - by Bethany Overfield
In an effort to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and the communities that host our events as safe as possible, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel all AW events in 2020, including our traditional Feather Fest throwdown in California. We're so bummed to not be able to gather in person but we're pleased to announce that we'll all be congregating for a virtual festival to celebrate some of our stewardship victories and to thank our membership base with some great drawings! Virtual Feather Fest will take place on Wednesday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. PST.
If you normally join or renew your membership at Feather Fest, you can use this membership renewal form to get entered to win some rad prizes!
Action Alert for the Russell Fork!!! Take Action today--comments due October 8th
10/07/2020 - by Bethany Overfield
This action alert requires a quick turnaround time! Comments are due tomorrow, October 8th. Use this link to help shape the future of scheduled whitewater releases on the Russell Fork River (VA/KY) for the next 25 years! We need to let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers know how best to manage the river for paddlers, making sure they maintain recreational flows during the month of October (including the new Friday release days!), relay our desire for increasing scheduled releases at other times of the year, and asking that they provide a flow forecast, so that paddlers are better able to plan for boating the Russell Fork. The Army Corps are currently updating the JW Flannagan and NF Pound Lakes Master Plans, which guide land and recreation management, including water recreation, for the next 25 years. Photo by Sarah Ruhlen
Virtual Gauley Fest 2020 – Great Success!
10/07/2020 - by Evan Stafford
All of our festivals, including our traditional Gauley Fest throwdown in West Virginia, unfortunately had to be canceled this year. We missed seeing every single one of you in person this year, but it was awesome to connect virtually with our community and to celebrate the Gauley River, our stewardship success in the region, and to give away some great prizes from our awesome industry partners. It's also something to be thankful for, that the pandemic may have stopped our regular gathering of the wild things, but it's not stopping the rivers from flowing, and Gauley releases have provided an excellent opportunity for boaters to get outside and enjoy some quality whitewater this fall. If you joined or renewed before or during our virtual Gauley Fest 2020 THANK YOU! We had a great turnout of support, including over 202 new or renewing memberships through our Gauley Fest online membership form.
Bulls Bridge (CT) Access Restored
10/06/2020 - by Robert Nasdor
Access to the Bulls Bridge section of the Housatonic River in Connecticut has been restored in response to American Whitewater's complaint to FERC about the closure. FirstLight, the licensee for the Bulls Bridge hydropower project, restored access after AW filed a formal complaint that the closure violated the project license. The areas had been closed by FirstLight in May at the request of local communities due to COVID-19 and overcrowding concerns.
2020 Pit River Update – Fall River Mills to Powerhouse 1 (CA)
10/05/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
Here is the update on the current boatable flows and remaining October recreational releases provided by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for the Pit River. First, many may have noticed that PG&E has begun releasing approximately 900 cfs on the Pit 1 run above the powerhouse. PG&E reports this is due to both Powerhouse 1 units being taken offline. This outage is expected until November 3rd and will provide flows ranging from 900 cfs to 1500 cfs. As for the scheduled recreational flows, PG&E is holding fast to a release schedule for the 2nd and 4th weekend of Oct. Here is the Pit 1 and Pit 5 lineup of scheduled releases: October 10 & 11 - PIT 1 900 cfs or greater, October 17 & 18 - PIT 5 10am - 4pm 1500 cfs, October 24 & 25 - PIT 1 900 cfs or greater