The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has released their Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the future of the Ocoee River. The news is generally good. They support the continuation of the historic flow schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee River, minus 5 September weekdays on the Middle. The DEA finds that the releases benefit the local economy and at least one rare plant living on rocks in the riverbed. File a comment or join TVA at a meeting next Monday if you would like to share your thoughts.
Paddlers might have noticed that flow releases on the Cheoah River were getting a bit skinny over the past couple years, until the juicy release this September. At the urging of American Whitewater, the dam owner had USGS come out and recalibrate the gage this July, and the results confirmed the dam owner had been under-releasing by approximately 100-150cfs. In our annual planning meeting last week, they committed to adjusting their releases to comply with their federal license, and actually began the new release protocols in September.
The time is here for you to submit your favorite river photos for the 2018 AW Calendar! You have until August 6th, 2017 to upload your best photos. We look forward to reviewing all kinds of great photos this year from across the United States, and will be giving special consideration of shots of Wild and Scenic Rivers since 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. If your photo is selected you'll get a free calendar, credit, fame, and you'll be supporting American Whitewater! Thanks from all of us at AW.
Earlier today American Whitewater filed comments on the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) proposal to largely maintain the existing whitewater release schedule for the next 15 years. American Whitewater asks TVA in our comments to ensure that no net loss in releases occur and that no new fees be imposed on private boaters. We ask that they study the economic benefit of the Ocoee River release program, as well as consider the benefits the releases are known to have on a rare plant species. Lastly, we ask them to consider improved takeout facilities on the Middle Ocoee River and expanded put-in parking hours on the Upper Ocoee.
TVA is seeking public input on a proposed management agreement that would provide recreational releases and management on the Ocoee River. Current agreements on flow releases and management expire at the end of 2018, and this effort aims to replace those agreements. The TVA proposes to continue the current schedule of releases on the Upper and Middle Ocoee except for a block of weekday Middle Ocoee releases in late September. The public comment period ends on July 19, 2017.
Cuyahoga River to serve as course for whitewater race in downtown Cuyahoga Falls for the 2nd Annual Cuyahoga Falls Kayak Race on Saturday, April 22, at 1 p.m. The race will be held on the section of the Cuyahoga River Upper Gorge, which runs through downtown Cuyahoga Falls alongside the Sheraton Suites and currently terminates in the dam pool above the Gorge Dam in the Summit Metro Parks Gorge Metro Park. The scenic, urban setting provides both spectators and racers alike with spectacular views of the river. In addition, the location offers all the amenities of an urban river, including lodging, restaurants and outdoor supply stores within minutes of the race course.
A bill has been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature that aims to continue treasured recreational releases on the Ocoee River after current release agreements expire in March of 2019. The Ocoee River Recreation and Economic Development Fund Act would create a fund that would be used to pay the Tennessee Valley Authority for releases and to pay for other river management costs. Paddlers from TN can weigh in on the bill now, and all paddlers will have a chance to voice support or concerns with the TVA this spring or summer.
Federal decision makers are accepting comments on their plans for the New River Dries until January 8th. American Whitewater has proposed a schedule of 41 annual releases that will be great for the river, paddlers, and other stakeholders. Individuals are encouraged to comment, as are clubs and businesses.
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 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!
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.
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.
American Whitewater is accepting photos for our 2016 Calendar now through August 1, 2015. Submitting photos through our online form is simple, and we can't wait to see your best shots. Thanks to all of our contributors!
Paddlers that run the New River Dries (WV) between now and July 31, 2014 are encouraged to fill out a flow study survey after each day on the water. Submitting surveys will add important data to the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Study and will greatly help American Whitewater and others negotiate improved flows for the New River Dries.
Great News! Yesterday, Virginia's "Freedom to Float" bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill could now move to the full VA Senate for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week (1/28/14). It is more important than ever that every paddler that enjoys Virginia rivers contact state Senators.
In a bipartisan effort last month, the Senate introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 (S.338). The Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported many projects that provide access and protect important rivers, including the White Salmon (WA), New and Gauley (WV), Illinois (OR) and Snake (ID). If passed, the bill will reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support similar projects into the future.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently announced the commencement of relicensing proceedings for the Tomahawk and Grandfather Falls Hydroelectric Projects in Wisconsin. We are pleased to report that FERC has identified whitewater recreation as one of the issues requiring study and analysis and has proposed a whitewater flow study. Paddlers have the opportunity to attend next week's public meeting and file written comments.
The Mayor and Town Council of Friendsville, Maryland recently sent AW an open letter of thanks in response to an outpouring of donations and support for their development of a new public take-out for the Upper Youghiogheny River in their Town. AW helped collect donations from the paddling community, and we are pleased to pass this thank-you on to the many paddlers that contributed to this cause - your donations were greatly appreciated!
AW is pleased to announce the release of our technical stream modification guide offering specific considerations to help projects meet recreational objectives as well as primary engineering or habitat objectives. This guide is intended to help paddlers advocate for safer stream modification projects that fully support the restoration, protection, and public enjoyment of rivers and streams.
Last year the Obama Administration released draft guidance on which streams should be protected by the Clean Water Act. Today, we joined the American Canoe Association and our other partners in the Outdoor Alliance in reiterating our support for the proposed guidance, and requesting the issuance of final guidance.
In an important affirmation of the value of whitewater recreation at federally-licensed hydropower projects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled that licensee's have a responsibility to provide recreational opportunities in accordance with area needs. The fact that risk may be involved in such activities as whitewater boating does not obviate a licensee’s responsibility to provide these opportunities.
River enthusiasts in Virginia, including American Whitewater, are circulating the below petition to raise support for legislation clarifying that paddling is fully supported by the State of Virginia. Join us by signing this petition!
Unhappy with a plan to protect 1 million acres of land along the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining, congressmen recently introduced a rider to an appropriations bill that would prevent these protections. Tell Congress that opening the Grand Canyon to new uranium mining would be a huge mistake!
American Whitewater regularly accepts donations for specific projects, and we would like to invite paddlers to donate to support our stream access work in Virginia. American Whitewater is working with a team of volunteers, pro-bono attorneys, and regional river enthusiasts to reduce threats of prosecution for the simple act of floating down a river or stream.
Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a new license to the City of Kaukuna for the Badger-Rapide Croche Hydroelectric Project (P-2677). We are pleased to report that they recognized whitewater recreation as a legitimate use of the Fox River and incorporated our recommendations in the new license.
The paddling community is rallying to support a proposed 20-year federal moratorium on new uranium mining claims around Grand Canyon National Park, citing unacceptable risk to the recreational, environmental, and aesthetic values. Read more to learn how to submit a comment of your own.
We now have an updated map of all the Nation's Wild and Scenic Rivers available as a Google Earth layer that complements the data from our National Whitewater River Inventory that is also available in Google Earth.
The Obama Administration issued a report on America's Great Outdoors earlier today that lists river recreation as among the top ten priorities of a new federal action plan for reconnecting people with nature through human-powered outdoor recreation. The report summarizes the results of listening sessions held around the country last summer and fall as the Obama administration sought public input on its action plan for America's Great Outdoors initiative. The report reflects the robust participation of the whitewater paddling community for heeding the call and standing up at the listening sessions to be the voice of rivers
Follow Roy McPure as he walks you through his vision for damming whitewater rivers to generate a little electricity and make money. Support for small or "run-of-river" dams is seeing an increase as people explore new ways of making money with old ways of making electricity in an era of climate change related tax incentives.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce a new employment opportunity with our
organization. The AW Stewardship Assistant is a part-time position based in
California. Resumes will be accepted through January 7, 2011.
In late November the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced an agreement that will allow a treasured whitewater reach of the Vermilion River to be re-opened for public recreation. The agreement will also lead to safety modifications to the dam and to signs aimed at significantly enhancing river safety, hopefully in time for the 2011 paddling season.
Over the past few months Gresham Municipal Utilities has been gearing up to relicense their hydroelectric projects on the Red River. As paddlers know operation of the Weed Dam impacts flows on the Red River. American Whitewater can provide technical assistance on the project but we are seeking a local volunteer or group of volunteers willing to invest some time in this process over the next few years.
Act today to secure historic funding for river and trail access! This week congress will consider fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund through offshore drilling revenues. This fund is the best resource available for purchasing new river access and conservation easements, and has been underfunded in the past. Please Act Today.
The folks over at Benchmark Outfitters made a recent donation of $400 to American Whitewater. In addition to this, they're also offering up a coupon to help you save a few bucks off of Patagonia gear, cool. Check it out.
We are continuing efforts to collect information on flow preferences for whitewater recreation on the Fox River. If you get out on the river please help us gain a better understanding of instream flow needs by filling out the survey today.
A recent private closure of the Vermillion River in Illinois has paddlers and political representatives urgently seeking solutions. It appears that several good solutions exist, and we encourage Illinois paddlers to offer their support and encouragement for opening the river.
TVA is gathering information from stakeholders on how to meet the needs of the Tennessee Valley and its residents for energy, environment, natural resource management and recreation. As users of public lands and waters, please tell TVA what you think. Please submit your comments by August 14, 2009.
Today the proponents of a hydropower project on the Cuyahoga River sent the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a letter withdrawing their permit request. The proposed project would have dewatered a local paddling spot called Butterfly Rapids, impacted a public park, and assured the maintenance of a dam that has long been a prime candidate for removal based on its environmental and recreational impacts.
Currently Kaukauna Utilities is applying for a new license to increase capacity at the Badger Rapide Croche Hydroelectric Project. We are working with the National Park Service Hydropower Assistance Program to conduct a survey of instream flow needs for recreation. If you boat the Fox River you can help by taking the survey today.
Last week Senator Feingold (D-WI) reintroduced the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), S. 787. This legislation will maintain the basic protection for rivers that we all appreciate and likely take for granted through restoring the reach of the Clean Water Act to headwater streams. We would like to thank Senator Feingold for looking out for one of our most basic human needs - clean water. Please call your Senator in the next week and voice your support.
Today, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Bill into law. This action officially designates 86 new Wild and Scenic Rivers and protects well over 350,000 acres of public lands. American Whitewater actively participated in the development of several of the individual Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River proposals that were part of the Omnibus Bill. We also advocated for the passage of the Omnibus Bill. This is truly a great day for rivers and wild places.
Our nation's leaders are
currently considering the passage of a large economic stimulus package designed to put people to
work and stimulate the economy. All current versions of the package include significant
funding for construction and restoration projects on federal lands. American Whitewater has joined forces with other members of the Outdoor Alliance
to compile a list of infrastructure projects that are important to the active outdoor recreation
community. Please offer your suggestions through our easy online
Yesterday the US Senate passed a bill that, if also passed by the House of Representatives, will protect millions of acres of public land and designate dozens of rivers as Wild and Scenic. The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (S. 22) is a collection of bipartisan and locally developed land and river protection bills that have been in the works for years. Swift passage in the House is expected, and President Obama may sign the bill into law as early as Tuesday.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the first installation of a hydrokinetic device at an existing FERC-licensed hydroelectric project, to be located on the Mississippi River. AW is supportive of testing new hydrokinetic "damless hydropower" technology and we are working to assure that the technology will be responsibly sited and operated only in cases in which the environment and public uses will be protected.
At the request of American Whitewater and with some help from FERC, Kaukauna Utilities now publishes information on instream flows in the reach of the Fox River bypassed by their hydroelectric project on the Fox River. This should allow us to begin an evaluation of impacts of a proposal to expand capacity of the project and divert additional water from the river.
The state of Illinois has proposed a
new dam safety law. The proposed law includes the establishment of a 300 ft upstream and 50
ft downstream exclusion zone around “dams” identified by the law as a threat to
boaters. The law would prevent portage at many dams, effectively preventing public
recreation. It would also senselessly end use at at least one popular whitewater
Congratulations to Jeffrey Hatcher for winning the June pair of Smith Optics Sunglasses. With generous support from Smith Optics and Small World Adventures, American Whitewater is hosting a fundraising and membership drive ending on October 1, 2008. Steven Mills from Spring, TX was the winner of the April drawing for a pair of Smith Optics Sunglasses and Susan and Robert Glanville from Boston, NY were the winners of the May drawing.
Help AW protect rivers here in the states and you could win a trip with Small World Adventures in Ecuador. Join or donate to be entered in for the next pair of sunglasses and the trip in Ecuador with Small World Adventures. Anyone who joins or renews their AW membership or donates at least $10 to support our river stewardship efforts will be entered in a raffle to a week long trip in Ecuador with Small World Adventures and monthly prizes from Smith Sport Optics.
American Whitewater and Clif Bar are pleased to announce the 6th annual Clif Bar Flowing Rivers Campaign, pledging $2,500 to American Whitewater Affiliate Clubs for river stewardship work. Funding for this very effective program is provided by Clif Bar. American Whitewater Affiliate Clubs have the opportunity to apply for one of two $1,250 grants. Grants will be distributed to clubs for projects that promote river stewardship, conservation, access and/or safety education on our nation’s rivers.
Kaukauna Utilties is applying for a new hydropower license to reconstruct and modernize the Badger Rapide Croche Hydroelectric Project. The river channel bypassed by the project is utiliized for whitewater recreation. AW recently filed comments on this project and we encourage those who have an interest in this project to file comments directly with FERC.