Funding Colorado’s Water Plan - What is Proposition DD?
Although many individuals are already focused on 2020, there is an important election taking place in Colorado in 2019. This year's ballot will be slimmer than others, but there is a proposition that is critical to funding the Colorado Water Plan. Proposition DD is a tax on casinos in the state for sports gambling that will provide a down payment of funding to Colorado's Water Plan, and is a ballot measure that American Whitewater has endorsed.
EPA Proposing to Weaken State’s Ability to Protect Clean Water and Recreation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing new regulations that would weaken the ability of states to protect clean water at hydropower dams and other federally-licensed energy projects. Under the Clean Water Act, states must certify that these projects comply with state water quality standards before they can receive a 30-50 year federal license. For American Whitewater, these changes would hamstring our ability to restore flows to dewatered river sections, ensure access for boating, and secure scheduled boating releases like the ones we enjoy on so many rivers across the country, such as the Beaver and Moose in New York, the Gauley in West Virginia, the Tallulah in Georgia, and the North Fork Feather in California. To take action on this issue, go here and let the EPA know that you do not agree with this rule change and that taking away state's rights to protect their water quality is unacceptable. Comments are due October 21, 2019.
Upper Colorado River User Survey
Upper Colorado River Paddlers, we need your feedback! We're asking you to participate in a short survey on behalf of the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group formed in 2007 as an independent, collaborative group with the goal of protecting and enhancing the remarkable values of the stretch of the Colorado River from Kremmling to Glenwood Springs.
American Whitewater Volunteer of the Month Presented by Kokatat: Keirith Snyder
American Whitewater would like to recognize Keirith Snyder for her awesome work as the coordinator for the Feather Festival Tobin Downriver Race. She is our October Volunteer of the Month. Keirith has organized the race for two consecutive years and has volunteered for many past Tobin races. Since taking over leadership, she has streamlined every aspect of the event by utilizing her analytical skills she draws from her experience as a research scientist. Beyond maintaining a dialed-in schedule by herding volunteers, class V safety boaters, and class V participants, she never loses sight of the fun the race brings to the community by encouraging volunteer costumes and other props.
Say no to the Little Colorado River dams
Other worldly turquoise waters falling over travertine ledges have made the Little Colorado River an icon within an already iconic American landscape. This major tributary of the mainstem Colorado enjoys high flow events from snowmelt and rainstorms that turn that blue into a roiling red. Outside of two dams high up in the watershed, the Little Colorado is otherwise unimpeded with a mostly natural hydrograph, rare for many rivers in the southwest. This beautiful place is now threatened by two proposed hydropower projects just outside of the border of Grand Canyon National Park that would alter flows, fish, water quality, and mar the Little Colorado for generations.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Calls for More Wild and Scenic Rivers
Oregon is home to some of our nation's most amazing and scenic rivers. From the Illinois to the Umpqua, the Owyhee to the Santiam, we have an impressive diversity of majestic waterways that provide an abundance of opportunities for whitewater recreation. Oregon is blessed with 110,994 miles of major rivers and streams but only 2173 miles are protected as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Many additional miles for river protection remain and Senator Ron Wyden is aiming to seize this opportunity! This past week, Senator Wyden announced a nomination process to designate new Wild and Scenic Rivers in Oregon. Make your voice heard and take action to nominate your favorite rivers today.
Recreation Not Red Tape Act: a bill to benefit outdoor recreation
For the past several years American Whitewater has worked with our partners on the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (H.R. 3458/S.1967). This is among the most important piece of positive policy we expect to see this Congress in terms of improving outdoor recreation and our access to rivers on public land. Senator Wyden originally approached us on the idea of a bill to benefit outdoor recreation to encourage sustainable use and enjoyment of public lands and waters. Learn more and take action to join us in supporting this legislation.
Upper Yough Hearing To Focus On New Dam Permit
The 2011 state permit that requires and governs the dam releases on the Upper Yough is up for renewal. Unlike most hydropower dams, the Deep Creek Project is not regulated by a Federal license, however the state permit fills a similar role as a Federal license would. The permit renewal creates opportunities to modify the terms of the permit in ways that could benefit or impact whitewater paddling, river ecology, and other values. A hearing is scheduled for October 15th, 2019 at Garrett College that will focus on potential changes in the new permit.
Please Attend the 2019 Lower Dolores River Boating / McPhee Spill Critique!
This Wednesday, September 25th is your chance to talk directly to the folks who manage the releases out of McPhee Reservoir into the Lower Dolores River. Hear about how this season was forecast and managed and let your voice be heard on what you think went right and what could be improved.
HELP THE USFS DISCOVER The WHITEWATER RECREATION IN THEIR OWN CA BACKYARD!
The United States Forest Service (USFS) recently released Draft Revisions for their Sequoia and Sierra National Forest Land Management Plans in California. As a part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. Over the course of 5 years of engagement, American Whitewater has identified 228 river miles in the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests that we regard to have outstandingly remarkable whitewater recreational value. These whitewater miles contain unique, rare or exemplary features that should qualify these rivers for inclusion into the Eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers Inventory. Yet, thus far, the USFS has only evaluated 25% of these river miles for whitewater recreation. Help the USFS discover whitewater recreation on rivers in their CA backyard by submitting personal a comment via our super simple form.
Public Comment Due for Arkansas River Sept. 20! (CO)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in their final stages of revising the Resource Management Plan for the Eastern Colorado Field Office, which encompasses the Arkansas River Corridor from Leadville to Cañon City and includes Grape Creek. The Management Plan, which hasn't been revised since 1996, sets the blueprint for how our rivers are managed and which protections they are afforded. The BLM depends on the public - folks like yourself - to speak up and tell them why these special places need protecting. Public comments are due September 20 (in just 10 days) and must be submitted online here.
AW Journal - The September/October Issue is Online Now!
The September/October issue of the AW Journal is available in our online "Library". This issue includes 'The Whitewater Legacy of Jimmy Carter' along with much more. Read the issue online now or download your copy.
Gore Canyon Festival 2019 (CO) Review
Gore Fest 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the Gore Race, our banner event. Both the race and festival had all time turn out. The event fulfills our mission of enjoying these resources we love and work so hard to defend. Gore Fest was born out of the work AW has done and continues to do to protect and restore flows on the Upper Colorado River. This year proved our community is ready to enjoy it. We had 66 folks renew their memberships and got 53 brand new folks dedicated to our work!
2019 LETTER TO GAULEY BOATERS FROM THE NPS (WV)
Each year the rangers of Gauley River National Recreation Area (WV) send American Whitewater an open letter to boaters that keeps us up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River.
AW Launches Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign
American Whitewater is launching the Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign to restore and improve river flows for aquatic ecosystems and to improve recreation opportunities across the region. Over the next 10 years, more than 50 hydroelectric dams in New York are scheduled to get new 30 to 50-year federal licenses, creating a once in a generation opportunity to improve river conditions. In the Black River Basin alone, there are more than 20 hydropower dams on the Black, Beaver, and Moose rivers that will begin the relicensing process in the next year, and American Whitewater will need to participate with other partners in order to mitigate project impacts and achieve river restoration goals. Through these efforts, we will restore flows to dewatered river reaches, improve existing flows, enhance public access, and benefit communities throughout the region.
Draft Flathead River Management Plan Released for Comment (MT)
The Forest Service has released a Proposed Action which is essentially a partial draft management plan the forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River. The Proposed Action is available for public review and comment through September 13, 2019. The Forest Service proposed a number of management actions that would be triggered by encounter limits being reached, including new permit systems. We encourage Flathead River paddlers to give the agency some feedback on the encounter thresholds they propose, the proposed management actions, and the Proposed Action as a whole.
Russell Fork Release Study Open For Comment (VA/KY)
The Army Corps of Engineers has shared their Environmental Assessment that considered four potential changes to the fall whitewater release program aimed at enhancing whitewater paddling opportunities. The Corps is planning on providing two additional Friday releases this fall as a result of the analysis. The EA is refreshingly succinct, and we encourage paddlers to give it a read and submit a comment if you are inspired to do so.
Harpers Ferry Access Study Reveals Need for New Approaches (MD/WV)
The final Weverton Rail Crossing Feasibility Study was released this week, which considered two options for improving the crossing of CSX railroad tracks to provide safer public access to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and for use of the Appalachian Trail. The Report reveals insurmountable problems with the two proposed access solutions, but also highlights other possible paths forward.
Sierra & Sequoia National Forest Management Plans (CA)
The U.S. Forest Service recently released the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Forest Plans (DFP) for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. As part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. To that end, American Whitewater has identified recreation as an outstandingly remarkable value on many iconic whitewater rivers within the Sierra and Sequoia National Forest and is advocating for their inclusion into the inventory of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. Dinkey Creek Photo by Daniel Lundberg
Submit Your Best Images For the 2020 American Whitewater Calendar!
Submit your best photos for the American Whitewater Calendar! Many of the best whitewater rivers in this country are on public lands, but our rivers on public lands also face a number of challenges. For our 2020 calendar we're celebrating these incredible rivers that belong to all of us in an effort to encourage your enjoyment of them and their protection. Images that feature rivers on public lands will be given the highest consideration and bonus points for images that feature current, past or future American Whitewater projects.