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Speaking Up For Rivers at the Nation's Capitol

04/15/2024 - by Stewardship Staff

Last month, four members of American Whitewater’s Stewardship team—Kevin Colburn, Scott Harding, Kestrel Kunz, and Thomas O’Keefe—visited our nation’s capital to advocate for durable protections for key whitewater rivers across the country. Our trip was part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Hill Week, which drew river advocates from around the country. The event was organized by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition, which American Whitewater co-founded in 2018. American Whitewater met with five federal agencies and 35 congressional offices to advocate for 14 different river protection bills and regional conservation efforts covering watersheds across nine states and thousands of rivers. 

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West Slope Rivers and Creeks Protected from Mining! (CO)

04/09/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

On April 3, the Biden Administration finalized a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the Thompson Divide and Mt. Emmons area between Crested Butte and Carbondale. The mineral withdrawal will protect beloved Colorado whitewater rivers and creeks, including Oh-Be-Joyful, the Slate River, Ruby Fork of the Anthracite, Anthracite Creek, and Crystal and Roaring Fork watersheds. More work needs to be done to protect this landscape permanently, but for now we can celebrate and thank the administration for prioritizing this area.

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Protect 500 California River Miles Today

04/09/2024 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater along with members of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition are inching closer to a crucial vote that will protect 500 river miles across California. The state's rivers are in the crosshairs of a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) application to transfer all 22 hydropower projects including 62 powerhouses, 97 reservoirs, 72 diversions, 167 dams, and 400 miles of water conveyance systems to a separate subsidiary, Pacific Generation LLC. American Whitewater encourages the paddling community to submit comments favoring the denial of this application to protect many of our outstanding whitewater reaches found on the North Fork Feather, the Pit, the McCloud, Butte Creek, Fordyce, the South Yuba, the Bear, the Eel, the Mokelumne, the San Joaquin, and the North Fork Kings. Comments are due before April 18.

Photo: Nathan Stayrook Hobbs, Nate Corona, Trevor Croft, and Kailee Hutchison on the San Joaquin River Gorge below PG&E's Kerckhoff Hydropower Project

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American Whitewater Launches New Initiative to Remove Deadbeat Dams

04/05/2024 - by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater today launched a new project aimed at removing deadbeat dams from our nation’s rivers. With an increasing number of hydropower dams crumbling and being abandoned by their owners, the project seeks to require dam owners to remove these dams and restore our rivers for the fish and people that use and enjoy them. This initiative will focus on utilizing legal challenges to force the removal of these dams which no longer serve their purpose and present a significant hazard to the public.

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West Canada Creek (NY) Call to Action

04/02/2024 - by Lila Thomas Caldwell

A recent boating study demonstrated that the Prospect Gorge of West Canada Creek in New York, including the grandeur of Prospect Falls, is a hidden gem of the Adirondacks, yet been off limits to the public for over 100 years due to the dam owner’s prohibition. American Whitewater has been working to restore open public access and aesthetic flows at Prospect Falls and Trenton Falls, plus scheduled boating opportunities in Prospect Gorge and on the river below Trenton Falls Gorge. Meanwhile, Erie Boulevard Hydropower (a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Power) filed a Settlement Agreement with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation that continues to bar the public from the river and they now seek to incorporate those settlement provisions into a new 40-year license for the project. Elected officials must hear from the public on this issue now. Without immediate action, waterfalls and gorges in West Canada Creek will remain locked away and silenced. We’ve made it super simple to send a message with our easy-action form. Take action today! The deadline to comment is April 18. 

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Boating Flow Study and Notifications NF Kern River (CA)

03/30/2024 - by Jeff Venturino

Southern California Edison (SCE) is currently in the process of relicensing the Kern River #3 hydropower project. Information is being gathered through a series of studies to inform final license conditions and measures that will include recreational flows. SCE’s Whitewater Boating Study is being conducted on the following sections of the North Fork Kern below Fairview Dam: Sidewinder/Bombs Away, Fairview, Chamise Gorge, Salmon Falls, Goldge Ledge, Thunder Run, Cable, and the Licky Split. This spring SCE will be modifying the flows in the river to gather more information on flows targeted between 200 cfs and 800 cfs.

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Powerhouse Outage Adds to Spring Flows on South Yuba (CA)

03/30/2024 - by Jeff Venturino

The South Yuba River will soon experience spring runoff season, and we have received news there is a Pacific Gas & Electric powerhouse outage on the South Yuba. PG&E discovered a leak in their Spaulding 1 Powerhouse below Lake Spaulding that required them to shut it down. Unfortunately, the failure creates a critical water supply issue for Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and could seriously impact NID customers and irrigators. Nevertheless, American Whitewater is informing the paddling community that the powerhouse outage will will increase the volume and duration of spring flows on the South Yuba including Yuba Gap, Washington to Edwards, Edwards to Purdons, Purdons to Bridgeport, and 49 to Bridgeport. 

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Wells River (VT) Whitewater Access to be Improved under New FERC License

03/28/2024 - by Robert Nasdor

The new hydropower license for the Newbury Hydroelectric Project on the Wells RIver in Vermont requires access impropovements to the whitewater takeout. Home to the Wells River Rumble, the new access will improve the current boater take-out -- a steep, narrow, poison ivy covered goat path.

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Public Input Needed for Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands NP (UT)

03/26/2024 - by Hattie Johnson

The confluence of the largest two rivers in the Southwest is a special place. Anyone who has traveled down the Green or Colorado rivers and seen where they join has undoubtedly been moved by these two lifelines in the desert becoming one. This confluence is inside Canyonlands National Park. Right now, there is a public comment period open for the National Park Service’s comprehensive river management  for the Green and Colorado rivers. Relevant to this planning process, American Whitewater has been working with partners over the past few years on a durable solution to the serious access issue at the take-out for Cataract Canyon. Use our Every Action form to share your thoughts.

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If You Purchased or Received a 2024 American Whitewater Calendar Please Read

03/08/2024 - by Evan Stafford

We need to sincerely apologize. We had a misprint in our 2024 calendars and the month of April is off by one day. April fools on us! We truly do sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes and we hope you'll still use our 2024 calendar. Here's a link to an easy to print replacement PDF for the days of April, which can be inserted to make sure you have the correct days in your American Whitewater calendar. We sincerely appreciate your support and understanding, as the calendar is a big fundraiser for us and one of our favorite ways to display the beauty of the rivers we work to protect on your behalf.

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Harlequin Duck Surveys on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River (WA)

03/06/2024 - by Evan Stafford

American Whitewater is partnering with Conservation Northwest and the Forest Service on a community-science project to monitor Harlequin ducks on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers were designated Wild and Scenic in 2014 and the Forest Service subsequently developed a Comprehensive River Management Plan that recognizes the outstandingly remarkable values for recreation, fisheries, and wildlife. If you are interested in joining this effort we ask you to Sign Up here.

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Opportunity to Stop Mine on Colorado River (CO)

03/06/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

Last month, we reported on the zombie gravel mine that keeps rearing its head on the Colorado River near Dotsero, CO. With your help, we were able to rally over 900 comment letters to Eagle County elected officials in opposition to the mine. If you were one of the many people that have already written a letter, it will be counted and reviewed by the Commission prior to the March 11 meeting. If you have not written a letter telling Eagle County why this mine is a bad idea for the river and the community, you can still do that right here with American Whitewater's easy-to-use every action form! You can make your comments exponentially more impactful if you can attend the March 11 Eagle County meeting in person to voice your comments directly to the County Commissioners. Click the link to learn more about the in-person meeting and how you can engage! 

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California 2024 Recreational Releases

03/06/2024 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, American Whitewater starts the paddling year by confirming recreational release dates negotiated with hydropower projects across California like those operated by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Here is what we have on tap so far for 2024. A reminder that all confirmed recreational releases can be viewed on the American Whitewater calendar here. If you would like to be notified of California releases and opportunities on specific watersheds, please fill out our form here.

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Crystal River (CO) Wild & Scenic Feasibility Committee Consensus

03/05/2024 - by Hattie Johnson

On leap day, the Crystal River Wild and Scenic and Other Alternatives Feasibility Steering Committee came to consensus on a recommendation to the Town of Marble, Gunnison and Pitkin Counties, and the Colorado River Water Conservation District to protect the Crystal River. Three subcommittees were recommended to continue to implement protection measures discussed by the steering committee over the past year. The subcommittees are based on two river protection options: a state and local approach, employing an intergovernmental agreement between the counties and enhanced instream flows through the state and federal wild and scenic designation. These protection approaches were designed and agreed upon by the steering committee late last year. American Whitewater will lead and facilitate the group discussing Wild and Scenic protections and attend the other committee meetings. 

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Georgians Ask Your Legislators to Affirm the Right to Float

02/22/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

The Georgia General Assembly is considering legislation that would subtly shift the rights of the public to navigate and otherwise enjoy the state’s rivers. This is the second such bill in as many years, and more legislative action is anticipated on the topic. The legislature is hearing from special interest groups that seek exclusive private rights to Georgia’s rivers, and they also need to hear from the public that is concerned for their basic rights to paddle the state’s rivers. Learn more and take action in this article! 

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State Legislation Threatens Spring Upper Yough Releases (MD)

02/22/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

New legislation is threatening spring releases on the Upper Youghiogheny, and we encourage Maryland residents to reach out to your state House and Senate legislators to share your concerns. The bill aims to subvert the state permit for the dam that was crafted through a science-based and balanced public process, and deliver benefits to reservoir-side homeowners at the expense of downstream river users. Specifically the bill would require the power company to expand their winter drawdown of the reservoir, jeopardizing spring releases that require a full reservoir. 

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West Virginia Bill Would Improve River Access At Bridges

02/13/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

A new bill in the West Virginia legislature aims to ensure public access to the state’s rivers and streams for recreational purposes. Specifically, the proposed West Virginia Public Waterway Access Act would require river access be provided as part of bridge construction or substantial repairs if it is safe and practical to do so. The result of this bill would be a gradual improvement to river access throughout the state over many years to come, increasing safety for both paddlers and drivers, and ensuring the economic and health benefits of river recreation will be a secure part of West Virginia’s future. We make it simple for West Virginia residents to reach out to their state senator and support this bill, SB 425 using our easy-action form.

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Uinta Basin Railway Permit Withdrawn, Colorado River Protected!

02/08/2024 - by Evan Stafford

A court finding overturned the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of the Uinta Oil Train Project, leading the Forest Service to withdraw the Project’s Special Use Permit. This permit removal protects the Colorado River and the classic whitewater of places like Gore Canyon (pictured), Glenwood Canyon, Westwater Canyon and so many more – for now. This is a moment for celebration! As well as a moment to commit to vigilance in protecting and stewarding the Colorado River through what is likely to be a time of significant threats. We applaud the Forest Service for withdrawing this permit and the Congresspeople who stepped up to help protect the river, and we thank the coalition of local governments in Colorado that led the lawsuit asserting their concerns about unaddressed risks to the Colorado River, increased wildfire danger, and climate impacts.

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American Whitewater Appeals Bad Forest Plan in Idaho

02/08/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

Last week, American Whitewater, along with several other national and regional organizations, filed a formal appeal of the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest’s new management plan. The new plan took well over a decade for the Agency to produce, and included an unprecedented reduction in river protections. These streams offer vast habitat for salmon and steelhead shortly upstream of the Snake River dams, and are recreational treasures for paddlers and other river enthusiasts from around the Country. The Forest Service is clear that they are releasing streams from both long-held and promised protections so that they can conduct logging and other projects on the Forest without the need to protect river values while they do it. 

Our objection now goes to the Regional Forester, Leanne Marten, who will decide the fate of these 70+ rivers and streams. There are no more official public comment periods for this process. With that said, river enthusiasts are encouraged to respectfully email Regional Forester Marten with personal stories about these streams and their importance, and with requests to protect them as “eligible” and/or “suitable” for Wild and Scenic designation. Her email address is:

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This Valentine’s Day, help protect the Dolores River! (CO)

02/08/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

This year, American Whitewater is pulling out all the stops to ensure that the Dolores River is protected now and for our future generations. We are working closely with our partners and local stakeholders to ask our congressional leaders and the Biden Administration to protect the Dolores River Canyons. We need your help to tell decision makers why the Dolores River in southwest Colorado is so special and that it is worth protecting. For this Valentine’s Day, we are asking you to write a love letter to the Dolores River. Our staff will compile all the love letters and deliver them to your congressional representatives and the administration. You can use this easy form to craft your love letter and submit it to American Whitewater. We’ve included template language that you can use for inspiration, but make sure that your letter is unique! You can include stories from the river, whether it’s about the scenery, rapids, or the people that made a trip special. 

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