Stewardship Highlights 2019 by Region
Our stewardship team got it done for whitewater rivers in 2019 and we wanted to share our top three project highlights, nationally and for every region we work in. Check out this article to see the breadth of our work across the country and find your region for an overview of some of our most important stewardship work local to you - Stewardship Highlights 2019: American Whitewater a Year in Review.
AW Submits Weber River Safety and Access Proposal (UT)
During the ongoing dam relicensing process for the Weber Hydroelectric Project, stakeholders reached an agreement for the provision of four annual whitewater boating releases. Stakeholders agreed that American Whitewater would propose a safe and legal plan for river access for consideration in response to specific concerns voiced by the Forest Service. Releases will begin following a Forest Service determination that the proposed access is appropriate for public use, and the issuance of the Federal dam license which is expected any day now. American Whitewater has spent the past several months conducting legal and safety analysis, and last week we submitted our proposal that documents that recreational releases and public use on the Weber River are legal, reasonably safe, and appropriate.
Southeast Advanced Release Dates for 2020
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. In this post we are pleased to share the 2020 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers.
JOIN AMERICAN WHITEWATER ON THE WILD AND SCENIC ROGUE RIVER (OR) IN 2020
For the past few years, the staff of America Whitewater has joined with a number of our members to participate in a four-day float trip on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This trip has been a great opportunity to connect with members in ways that build a lasting understanding of the role of recreation in fostering a stewardship ethic. As one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers in the country, the Rogue is an outstanding classroom for American Whitewater's river stewardship program. Trip dates are June 18-21, 2020.
New AW Signature Klean Kanteen Thermos and Travel Mug in Store Now!
We're proud to now offer American Whitewater signature Klean Kanteen items for your holiday shopping or personal gifting pleasure! Keep that hot drink hot and that cold drink cold well into your paddling adventure with either the AW Klean Kanteen Travel Mug or Insulated Thermos. Stick'em in your boat and strap'em to your SUP. Be the hero who shares a hot beverage with your peeps during a frozen day on the water. Or just use one to drink your daily cup o'Joe and keep it toasty all morning long while displaying your support for AW. Either one will make a well appreciated holiday gift and both items support our river stewardship program so you'll know you've given yourself the gift of protecting rivers and your ability to enjoy them too!
AW VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH PRESENTED BY KOKATAT: Priscilla Macy
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Priscilla Macy of Salem, OR as our December Volunteer of the Month. Last month we celebrated the passage and signing of a bill that greatly improves access for Oregon river runners, which Priscilla played a vital role in. HB 2835 requires any future waterway access closure on state lands to undergo a public process. This allows the opportunity for waterway users, organizations and communities to provide input on proposed actions. The bill was promoted by recreational advocates like AW and Oregon Outdoors and is the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the Oregon Legislature. But it was the relentless effort from Prisiclla, navigating a delicate political climate and finding a collaborative pathway forward that really made this new law a reality. Prisiclla held countless meetings with a wide array of stakeholder groups including state agencies, private landowners, local governments and parks districts to bring forward a bill that worked for everyone. Excellent work Priscilla! As Volunteer of the Month, Kokatat will be hooking Priscilla up with some world class gear, and we hope you'll extend her a hearty thank you when you see her on the river.
River Safety Signage Project RFP
As the recognized expert in whitewater safety for over 60 years and publisher of the Whitewater Safety Code, American Whitewater is often called upon to provide input on safety messaging for signage at river access points. Requests for assistance come from river managers (e.g. federal agencies including Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service; state agencies; and local counties and municipalities), hydropower operators (many hydropower facilities are required to provide signage and safety information as part of mitigation requirements for water-based recreation at their facilities), and our affiliate clubs (our members and local clubs have sites that are directly managed by the whitewater paddling community--e.g. Watauga, Upper Yough, etc.). We are requesting proposals for a project to develop an open-source toolbox that includes text (e.g. standard language describing river difficulty ratings, PFD use and wear, safe boating practices, etc.), vector-graphic illustrations (e.g. river signals and iconography), and guidance on how to use the elements. Our ultimate objective is to improve river safety by providing necessary information to those engaging in river recreation. We will accomplish this by applying our knowledge and expertise in river safety to development of nationally-standardized materials and educational resources that are widely used and understood.
AW VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH PRESENTED BY KOKATAT: Jack Henderson
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Jack Henderson of Brevard, NC as our December Volunteer of the Month. Jack is a dedicated paddler in the southeast and has volunteered many of his great photographs and beta for American Whitewater use for a long time, along with partnering with AW through his day job at the River Management Society, but we're recognizing him this month in particular for his work to help designate the Nolichucky River as Wild and Scenic. He produced an incredible Nolichucky River Wall Map and he has been selling them through our webstore, printing and shipping them off himself, and donating all of the proceeds to our efforts for a Wild and Scenic Noli. And these things are a hot item, raising a significant amount of dollars for our campaign. Great work Jack! As Volunteer of the Month, Kokatat will be hooking up Jack with some world class gear, and we hope you'll extend Jack a hearty thank you when you see him on the river.
Get Your 2020 AW CALENDAR Today – MAKES A GREAT GIFT For Boaters!
The 2020 American Whitewater calendar is now available for purchase. Each year, we collect the best photos from our gracious paddling community and pick out our favorites for the annual AW calendar. The proceeds from calendar sales support our river stewardship work. When this years calendar arrives, Celebrating Wild Rivers On Public Lands, you'll get to see a new beautiful image of a river that AW has made a difference on every month and find out about the work we're doing and have done there. Careful or you might end up adding a bunch of new rivers to next years wish list... It's an awesome fundraiser and a product that we know you'll love. Consider picking one up today. . . and they also make great gifts. Don't miss out, place your order now!
Colorado Gives Day is December 10th... but you can schedule your donation now!
Colorado Gives Day is next Tuesday, December 10th! On this day, folks from around the state and country give to Colorado-based nonprofits like ours, with matches provided by ColoradoGives. Go here to schedule your online donation to support American Whitewater's Colorado River Access Program. Our Colorado based regional team works on river access and conservation issues from flow protection, water quality enhancement, Wild and Scenic eligibility and management, as well as state level policies that highlight river recreation and the industry it supports. In 2020, American Whitewater is dedicated to protecting access to our rivers. American Whitewater's Colorado Access Program works to improve public access to rivers and works directly with landowners, law makers, and paddlers to minimize access conflicts across the state.
Double Your Impact – Patagonia Will Match Donations to AW in December
Double your impact when you support American Whitewater through our Patagonia Action Works Page! Patagonia will match all donations made through Patagonia Action Works between Nov. 29 and Dec. 31, up to $10,000 per donation! You donate $1 we get $2. You donate $100 and we get $200. It's that simple to double your support for our river stewardship program, which protects, restores, and ensures your ability to enjoy the rivers you love to paddle. Your support fuels our ability make a difference for whitewater rivers across the country and this is a great opportunity to make your gift go further this holiday season!
Access Improvements - Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River (CA)
A new put-in launch has been constructed for the world class whitewater of Cherry Creek (Holm Powerhouse) on the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River. Funded by contributions from the U.S. Forest Service and private donations, Stanislaus National Forest River Ranger Bob Stanley spearheaded the design and construction of a slide/stairway to the river's edge.
New Mexico Game Commission to fix “Non-navigable Water” Rule
This past Thursday (November 21), the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission voted 6-1 to release an opinion from the New Mexico Attorney General's Office from September that - in line with the opinion of three prior AGs - stated that the Commission's rule cannot block the public from recreating on rivers and streams that cross private property. In addition, the Attorney General released a press release "directing the commission to strengthen the process to protect private property rights and minimize trespass, while respecting access rights and outdoor activities of sports enthusiasts."
VT Supreme Court Protects Whitewater Boating on the Green River
The Vermont Supreme Court decided today that whitewater boaters have the right to paddle on the Green River. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision by the Environmental Division of the Superior Court that required the hydropower project on the Green River in Morrisville to provide three annual scheduled releases. This is a precedent setting decision because it establishes that whitewater boating is a designated and existing use protected under the Clean Water Act, that scheduled releases are necessary to protect that use, and that Vermont ANR failed to meet its burden to show that providing scheduled release would result in a lowering of water quality.
American Whitewater Pledges to Support Public Lands - You Can Too
American Whitewater was founded in 1954 by a group of paddlers under the belief that we love the rivers we know, and the rivers we know we'll fight to protect. At that time, in the middle of the last century, many of our bedrock conservation laws did not exist and many rivers we now take for granted were threatened by dams, pollution, and resource extraction. These same issues still exist, but fortunately many of our most classic and favorite rivers to paddle are protected by surrounding public lands and special public lands designations such as Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, and many others. That's why we strongly support protecting our federal public lands and waters, and also why we've signed, and strongly encourage you to sign the Outdoor Alliance Public Lands Pledge. American Whitewater is a member of the Outdoor Alliance, a coalition that unites the voices of the outdoor recreation community to conserve public lands and ensure those lands and rivers are managed in a way that embraces the human-powered experience.
AW's 2019 Holiday Membership Deal now available!
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our 2019 Holiday Membership Offer -a one year AW membership paired with our 2020 AW calendar AND a 12 oz AW Klean Kanteen travel mug. . . all for just $55! Give a great gift (or treat yourself!) and support your favorite non-profit at the same time. . . rockin' river karma for the whole year!
Comments Needed to Support Upper Yough Releases (MD)
The 12-year state permit that governs the releases from Deep Creek Lake into the Upper Youghiogheny is up for renewal, and decision-makers would benefit from hearing from paddlers. Three public meetings and significant discussions have led to broad agreement on some minor changes that are important to the paddling community, and other important issues remain unresolved. Your comment letters could help ensure the Upper Yough is managed in a responsible manner for years to come.
Ashley National Forest (UT) Information Needed
The Ashley National Forest is in the process of updating its land management plan-something that hasn't happened since 1986. This creates an opportunity to advocate for better protection of streams and rivers across the 1.4 million-acre National Forest, which spans from the Uinta Mountains to Flaming Gorge. Right now, American Whitewater needs your help updating the National Whitewater Inventory to include better information on the rivers within the Ashley National Forest. We ask that paddlers familiar with this area add photos and descriptions to the NWI, check out our recent comments, and consider sending a comment letter to the Forest.
Limited Edition AW tees, tanks and hoodies!
Shred it, then protect it! American Whitewater has partnered again with FLOAT to bring you these limited edition tees, tanks, and hoodies! Celebrate the beauty of rivers and that ever important ingredient - flowing water! Support American Whitewater in our stewardship efforts! We have several t-shirt and hoodie styles available and for every t-shirt sold FLOAT will donate $8 to American Whitewater in support of our stewardship efforts restoring rivers. Head on over to FLOAT and SHOP today - lots of fun colors and styles to choose from! Don't delay. . . this offer is only available this week and expires on Sunday, November 17th! Thanks for supporting American Whitewater!
Colorado Voters Pass Proposition DD to fund the Water Plan!
Voting day has come and gone. The mailings, text reminders, and campaign signs have all (for the most part) been put away for a brief period of time. We, like the rest of you, were excited to submit our ballots and wear our "I voted" stickers proudly on Tuesday. We were even happier on Wednesday when we found out the Prop DD passed!