Encourage Dam Removal Study on Chattooga River (GA/SC)
11/23/2021 - by Kevin Colburn
Tugalo Dam was built 100 years ago. For the past hundred years it has inundated four miles of the Chattooga River and two miles of the Tallulah River beneath a reservoir along the South Carolina and Georgia border. The dam owner has recently proposed to spend roughly $25 Million to upgrade their generators to last another two generations or more. American Whitewater and our partners are asking federal regulators to take a hard look at dam removal as an alternative to re-investing in this old dam that has buried two iconic rivers for a century. Thoughtful letters from paddlers describing the impacts of Tugalo Dam and the likely benefits of removal will help us make the case for a robust dam removal analysis.
Forest Service Proposes Expansive Post-Fire Tree Removal Project in California
11/23/2021 - by Scott Harding
The US Forest Service has recently proposed an expansive project that will cut and remove fire-killed or damaged trees across nine national forests in California. While targeted at roads, the project proposes to cut and remove fire-killed or damaged trees up to 300 feet away from roads. For roadside rivers, this could mean that trees will be cut right to the water's edge and there are numerous whitewater runs and Wild and Scenic rivers that could be impacted. American Whitewater has been tracking this project and recently submitted scoping comments to the Forest Service, encouraging the protection of streams and rivers.
Sale of SDS Lumber Company Complete (WA)
11/19/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe
This week three entities with strong Northwest ties and deep expertise in timberlands, forest conservation, and mill operations have acquired portions of SDS Lumber Company and SDS Co, LLC. The sale was finalized on November 17. Of particular interest to the whitewater paddling community are the lands acquired by The Conservation Fund, through an affiliate, representing over 35,000 acres of the SDS timberlands, including important oak habitat, river frontage, and municipal drinking water sources. These lands include key parcels along the Green Truss run that will remain forested and maintain the wild character of this place. The traditional put-in for the Green Truss run and take-out for the Farmlands run are also part of the lands acquired by The Conservation Fund.
Skagit River Recreation Flow Survey (WA)
11/12/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe
Seattle City Light is in the process of securing a new license to operate the Skagit Hydroelectric Project before the current licensee expires in 2025. As part of that process a number of studies are underway that include an assessment of the impacts of hydropower operations on recreation. To collect information from the public, Seattle City Light is conducting an online recreation flow survey for three river segments on the Skagit River. American Whitewater, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and North Cascades National Park participated in the development of this study plan. The purpose of this recreation flow survey is to gather information about recreation flow preferences for three river segments on the Skagit River along a 25.2-mile length from the Goodell Creek Boat Launch inside the Ross Lake National Recreation Area to Howard Miller Steelhead Park near Rockport.
American Whitewater Succeeds in Protecting Rivers and Fighting Climate Change
11/10/2021 - by Evan Stafford
In a big win for river restoration and investment in public lands, the House passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (H.R. 3684), as amended by the Senate, late last Friday, November 5. This legislation will now be sent to the President’s desk. American Whitewater staff have worked with our partners over the past several months on a few key sections of the bill that keep more water in rivers and protect water quality. The bill includes an unprecedented $2.3 billion (yes, billion!) for environmental and recreation enhancements around and below dams (read: restoration of streams and recreation access upgrades), dam removal, and dam safety improvements. As part of a broad coalition of stakeholders in the future of hydropower dams, and in our capacity as leaders in the Hydropower Reform Coalition, we reached out directly to the White House, congressional members and their staff to request funding for these dam related priorities. We played a significant role in directing, what is in our estimation, the most money ever federally appropriated for the removal of dams, dam safety, and environmental restoration of dam affected rivers in the history of the United States.
2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION - CURRENT MEMBERS PLEASE VOTE NOW!
11/10/2021 - 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 10th. 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.
Comments Needed By Nov. 26 to Secure Protections for West Slope Rivers (CO)
11/09/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz
In August, we announced the release of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison Draft Forest Plan. This plan will guide the management of over 3.2 million acres and thousands of river miles, including high-quality paddling streams like the Upper East and the Taylor rivers. The current plan is over 38 years old and is severely outdated. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to effect change on our public lands and we need the paddling community to ACT NOW by submitting comments to the Forest Service. Make sure that you personalize your comments by sharing a photo or a personal experience about a river(s) on the Forests.
South Platte (CO) Recreational Flow Study Released – please respond!
11/09/2021 - by Hattie Johnson
Earlier this year, AW received a grant to complete a flow preference and boatable days study on the segments within the study area to understand a baseline of recreational opportunity. Our investigation will look at whether those recreational opportunities have changed over time. The resulting data will be used by the SPEB to monitor the health of the recreational outstandingly remarkable value. Your feedback is necessary to complete this study. Please complete this survey and share with your paddling partners.
Let's Chat About the Wild & Scenic NF Kern River (CA)
11/08/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman
Paddlers are invited to join American Whitewater and the National Park Service for a Zoom Listening Session to share recreational interests for the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Kern River. Specifically, the reaches below Fairview Dam to Riverside Park that are included within the boundaries of the Kern River No. 3 Hydroelectric Project owned by Southern California Edison (SCE). In September, SCE filed a Notice of Intent and a Pre-Application Document to officially start the process to relicense this project. This relicensing process provides opportunities for stakeholders to protect and enhance recreational, biological, and cultural resources on the Kern River.
Opportunity to Provide Input on Washington State Recreation Planning
11/05/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe
Every 5 years Washington State updates their State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). All states must have such a plan that is required to receive federal recreation dollars from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The process is currently underway to update Washington State's SCORP for 2023-2027 and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is soliciting input through a survey. In addition they are providing an opportunity to upload a photo and narrative description of a special place. Input from the whitewater paddling community will demonstrate our community's interest in river access and conservation and help American Whitewater to be more effective in advocating for our community's interests in statewide recreation planning.
Gila Wild and Scenic River Bill Reintroduced and Gaining Speed (NM)
11/03/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz
Today, Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján reintroduced the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act. The Act, officially reintroduced on November 2, is poised to protect over 440 miles of free-flowing rivers and streams in the Gila and San Francisco watersheds in New Mexico. The success of this campaign wouldn’t be possible without the support of our local partners that have championed this effort and our dedicated members. Over the past couple years, thousands of paddlers and river lovers have voiced their support for protection of the Gila watershed by writing directly to our legislators, signing petitions, and sharing personal stories of the Gila. Your voices have been heard and securing permanent protection for the Gila and its tributaries is nearing the finish line. While the reintroduction of this bill comes as a great win, there is still lots of work to ensure that the legislation is passed through Congress. We will be working to get this across the finish line - for good. Please take a moment to thank the Senators for their hard work and dedicated to protect the Gila River!
Rule That Gutted State Authority To Protect Rivers Below Dams Overturned!
10/15/2021 - by Evan Stafford
Late in the evening on Thursday, October 21, a coalition of advocates, including American Whitewater won a significant victory for clean water when a federal district court vacated a Clean Water Act rule put in place by the previous administration. Today’s order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California restores state and Tribal authority to ensure federally permitted activities, including hydroelectric dams, affecting rivers and lakes comply fully with state and tribal laws protecting clean water. Section 401 of the Clean Water Act gives states the authority to condition hydropower projects licenses on their ability to protect the clean water in the rivers below them, including through restored instream flows, and the vacated rule had undermined that authority. In Washington state and California in particular, the 401 regulations are what have allowed American Whitewater to restore the flows below dams that provide whitewater opportunities and ecological restoration to streams below federally licensed hydropower projects.
Read the press release HERE from the Western Environmental Law Center, the group who represented our coalition in our challenge to the rule.
Read the court order HERE vacating the EPA Clean Water Act rule.
Tallulah Gorge Releases Return! (GA)
10/15/2021 - by Kevin Colburn
Tallulah Gorege releases are back! Following over a year in which releases were cancelled because of dam safety issues that required repairs to water release gates and because of Covid, releases will kick off again on the first three weekends in November. American Whitewater negotiated these releases back in the mid-nineties and they quickly became a centerpiece of Southeastern paddling. We are happy to share some updates on Tallulah Gorge releases, and advice on how to visit the river responsibly.
American Whitewater Statement on Pending Sale of SDS Lands
10/06/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe
This past week a consortium that includes Twin Creeks Timber, The Conservation Fund, and WKO announced plans to acquire SDS Lumber and Timber Companies. This acquisition includes significant land holdings in the White Salmon River watershed as well as adjoining lands in the Little White Salmon, Klickitat, and Hood River watersheds that are critical to the health of these spectacular rivers. These lands also represent the traditional territory of the Yakama Nation ceded to the federal government in the treaty of 1855. For years the local paddling community has accessed the White Salmon River across SDS lands with the Green Truss put-in being used as the traditional dividing point between the Farmlands and Green Truss runs on the White Salmon River. In partnership with Outdoor Alliance and the local paddling community, American Whitewater has published a Story Map that highlights the lands that are part of this transaction and the values they hold: https://arcg.is/SePWP
Gauley Fest Membership Drive and Online Auction Ends September 28!
09/23/2021 - by Evan Stafford
Gauley Fest annually provides our community with an opportunity to reflect on this much-loved stretch of whitewater, as well as the important stewardship work that American Whitewater has, and continues to do in the region. In honor of Gauley Fest, and in an effort to raise funds for our stewardship work across the country that this festival normally provides, we have the put together an incredible online whitewater auction and it's happening right now => 2021 Gauley Fest Online Auction. Go check it out and bid on some fantastic gear from our amazing Partners (huge thanks to all our Industry Partners!!!). Gauley Fest is also traditionally our largest membership drive of the year. If you usually renew your membership at the Gauley, please use this opportunity to renew again today! Plus, folks who JOIN OR RENEW before September 30th, 2021 will be entered to win a Custom Dagger Kayaks Rewind. Write “Gauley” in the membership form comments to be entered!
Take Action! Truckee River (CA) Access Blocked By New Landowner
09/16/2021 - by Theresa Simsiman
Truckee River access is threatened by a landowner on the Nevada County Hirschdale Road. This take-out is used by paddlers who put-in at Boca and float the family friendly section of the Truckee River, taking out before the harder rapids appear. In 2019, a landowner purchased the property around Hirschdale Road and the spur road historically used to get to the river. In the years since, the landowner has been busy on Hirschdale Road posting no parking signs, erecting gates and dumping large rock debris which block parking along the County Road and access to the spur road. American Whitewater needs your help to restore this Truckee River access! Join us at a Listening Session in Truckee hosted by Nevada County Supervisor, Hardy Bullock, from District 5. The Listening Session will take place on September 23, 2021 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Tahoe Forest Church, 10315 Hirschdale Road, Truckee, CA 96161. If you cannot attend please send your comments to Supervisor Bullock using our easy-action form.
Deerfield Fest Membership Drive and Silent Auction!
09/11/2021 - by Evan Stafford
Deerfield Fest traditionally provides our community with an opportunity to reflect on this much-loved stretch of whitewater, as well as the important stewardship work that American Whitewater has, and continues to do in the northeast. If you normally renew your membership at Deerfield Fest, please renew again today! Folks who Join or Renew will be entered to win a Kokatat Om Drytop ($549 value!). Write “Deerfield” in the membership form comments to be entered! For folks who renewed in June through the present, you’ll be automatically entered to win based on if you live in a Northeastern state. In an effort to raise more funds for our Stewardship work in the northeast, we also have a super stout 2021 Deerfield Online Auction that just went live. Go check it out and bid on some fantastic gear from our amazing Partners (huge thanks to all our Industry Partners!!!). Auction ends on Wednesday, September 15th at 8 p.m. EST.
Phil Kast: Volunteer of the Month, Presented by Kokatat
09/07/2021 - by Kevin Colburn
We are pleased to recognize Phil Kast as American Whitewater's Volunteer of the Month, presented by Kokatat! Phil recently stepped up to improve the American Whitewater iOS App, to help us deliver the rich trip-planning information in our National Whitewater Inventory to your Apple mobile device. He's already made quite a few significant improvements to the App, and more are in the works. As Volunteer of the Month, Kokatat will be hooking up Phil with some world class gear, and we hope you'll extend Phil a hearty thank you when you see him on the river. Thanks Phil!
PIT 5 (CA) SEPT 2021 RELEASES CONFIRMED
09/03/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman
American Whitewater has confirmed with Pacific Gas & Electric that recreational releases will take place on Pit 5 for September 11th and 12th (10am to 4pm at 1200 cfs). PG&E will open restrooms at both the Madesi put-in and the James B. Black take-out. However, in an effort to protect resources and align with the forest closure order for all California USFS National Forests, PG&E will not open Madesi for overnight camping. Obviously, with the current wildfire season no open fires, stoves or grills will be allowed.
Court Restores Pre-2020 Clean Water Act Protections
08/31/2021 - by Kevin Colburn
Yesterday, in a big win for rivers, a US District Court in Arizona tossed out a 2020 federal rule that had dramatically reduced the number of waterways covered under the Clean Water Act. The court decision wiped the 2020 rule off the books because the rule was based on significant errors and posed a serious risk of harm to the public and the environment. Effective immediately, the more protective 1988 rule governing the Clean Water Act is back in place. The administration is currently working on a new rule, and paddlers are encouraged to learn more and send in comments by September 3rd supporting broad protections for rivers, and all those who live and recreate downstream.