From June 1st through the fall of this year, the Pine River (Florence, WI) will offer a rare opportunity for Wisconsin whitewater. During the maintenance drawdown, no water will be diverted around Breakwater Falls and gorge-rapids below the Pine Dam. The 12-foot lowering of water level, (started 5/21) will also expose additional rapids and both twin falls just upriver from the flowage.
The Bureau of Land Management is considering exchanging nearly 1500 acres of public lands to a private ranch along Colorado's Blue River. The proposal claims to improve public access to recreation opportunities along the river. This week, the BLM released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this proposal, which initiates a 45-day public comment period.
Your comments to the BLM on the proposal, will help the agency determine whether the exchange in in the public’s interest, or not. The BLM must receive comments by June 25.
Kittitas County has released a survey to gather input and data on how people are using the various portions of the Yakima and Cle Elum Rivers. It also seeks information from participants as to what improvements would be appropriate. The survey is part of an ongoing effort to develop a strategy for improving access along both river corridors. We encourage paddlers who paddle the Cooper, Cle Elum, and Yakima Rivers to take this survey.
Earlier today Duke Energy announced the pending sale of five hydropower dams in western North and South Carolina to Northbrook Energy. The pending sale includes the Tuxedo Hydropower Project, which regulates flows in the popular Green River below Lake Summit. Recreational releases and flow information will be continued under new ownership through a non-regulatory approach based on collaboration with American Whitewater and other leaders in the paddling community.
Earlier today the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released their decision and accompanying final analysis regarding the future of dam releases on the wildly popular Ocoee River. TVA decided to provide a flow schedule nearly identical to the current schedule on both the Middle and Upper Ocoee. Doing so will foster the robust recreation-based economy that relies on the river, and will protect existing ecological and recreational values.
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (UT-3) introduced the Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018, a historic conservation bill protecting over one million acres of public land, and 98 miles of Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah’s Emery County. American Whitewater worked to ensure that the Green River, Muddy Creek, and the San Rafael are protected under the legislation.
Salt Lake City - The State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (FFSL) is developing the first comprehensive management plans (CMPs) for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan (MLP) for these sovereign lands. Paddlers are encouraged to attend.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Department of Natural Resources Library, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddle for a cause this summer in beautiful central Idaho! The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest will determine which streams to protect for potential Wild and Scenic designation through their forest plan over the coming year. Many of the streams under consideration are exceptional in part because they are remote and hard to access. That is where you come in. The Forest Service, the public, and politicians need to receive compelling photos, videos, and personal stories featuring these streams. If you are planning a trip into the wilds of Idaho this summer, you can help protect some amazing streams by sharing your experiences.
American Whitewater continues to play an important role in negotiating and implementing the recreational flows provided by hydropower licenses throughout California. Here are some of the scheduled recreational releases for 2018. Enjoy!
Spring is in the air and as another great paddling season comes into focus, we hope that you'll consider making a contribution to American Whitewater on GiveBig Day – Wednesday, May 9. GiveBIG is a one day event through the Seattle Foundation that makes your donation to American Whitewater go further.
The May/June issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue
includes 'Kids and Whitewater. . .fun for all ages on the
water! Read the issue now online or download your copy.
Current members - Read the issue now!
Not a current member - Join or Renew!
We still have space available for our annual Rogue River trip with Northwest Rafting Company. Come out and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with American Whitewater staff and similar likeminded river lovers. 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.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize attorney Ryan Kane and the Law Firm of Tarrant, Gillies & Richardson for their extraordinary effort to protect whitewater boating on the Green River in Vermont. The firm tirelessly and skillfully represented AW and Vermont Paddlers Club during a 2-week trial in April on their appeal to the Vermont Superior Court of state restrictions on whitewater releases from the hydropower project on the Green River.
American Whitewater works to protect the public's rights (your rights) related to recreational use of private and public lands which the nation’s rivers and streams run through. Fortunately for whitewater paddlers and other recreational users, every state in the nation has enacted laws that greatly limit both private and public landowner liability. In Washington state one of these recreational use immunity laws was challenged when a cyclists was injured on public land. American Whitewater joined with a coalition of recreation groups to enter a, “friend of the court” or amicus brief, urging the Washington state Supreme Court to uphold the law. We’re proud to report that in a unanimous decision, the Court affirmed that Washington’s recreational use immunity law covers any lands opened for free public use, regardless of if the land in question is used solely for recreational use or if the land has been opened up to other uses.
THIS WEEK ONLY! American Whitewater is happy to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition Nankoweap granaries trail inspired river stewardship T shirts and hoodies available this week only! For every shirt sold FLOAT will donate $8 to American Whitewater to help us restore rivers. Head on over to www.float.org and shop today – lots of styles and colors to choose from!
Gateway, CO - This week, a Colorado water court approved instream flow water rights protecting up to 900cfs during peak flows on a 33-mile stretch of the lower Dolores River. The State applied for these rights in 2015, and the court approval creates the largest flow protection for the Dolores.
Take the Verde River (AZ) Optimal Flow Survey! Help the University of Arizona and the Forest Service determine what minimum river flows are appropriate to sustain and protect high-quality recreation experience opportunities on the Verde. http://bit.ly/2GuJOS8
Our friends at California Canoe & Kayak are ready for the 6th Annual Opening Day on the South Fork American River benefitting American Whitewater – are you? Sponsored by Jackson Kayak and Ninkasi Brewery, this year’s Opening Day proceeds will be specifically earmarked for legal efforts to improve safety and conditions at Ward’s Ferry Bridge (the take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River). Come join in the fun!
Browns Park, Utah - American Whitewater has asked the Utah Division of Water Resources to reject the latest attempt to pump water from Utah's Green River, and send it across the Rocky Mountains to Denver and Colorado's Front Range. The Water Rights Export Application is speculative and assumes availability of water with no consideration of impacts to downstream needs. In its letter, American Whitewater urges the Division to act with prudence and reject the application.
Rejecting the idea that their hydroelectric project causes any impact at Ward's Ferry Bridge, Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts filed a request for trial-type hearing before an administrative law judge that challenges the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary conditions to improve the long-standing whitewater take-out for the Wild & Scenic Tuolumne River.
The State of Utah is developing the first comprehensive management plans for state-owned sections of the Colorado and Green Rivers, and updating the existing Mineral Leasing Plan for these state lands. This effort will determine how these rivers are managed and where mining, oil, gas, and hydrocarbon leases will be allowed. Paddlers are encouraged to speak up!
Time is running out for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) to consider the South Umpqua for designation as a State Scenic Waterway, but it’s not too late. Your voice can help support the agency in taking steps to protect this river in 2018. With its free-flowing waters and exceptional scenic, natural and recreational values, the South Umpqua meets the criteria for designation as a State Scenic Waterway.
Conditions in the Dolores River basin this year are 38% of average for this time of year. Without additional snow storms, this number is likely to drop and there won’t be water available for boating releases. If the trend continues into April-June, there will be no water available for boating or the downstream environment.
Arkansas River, Colorado - The latest lawsuit over who owns the bed of a river, this time on the Arkansas River, resurrects an issue that many western states are tackling: does a river used for commercial purposes at the time of statehood grant the public rights to use the river for recreational purposes?
Reprinted from Water Education Colorado
News Release: March 16, 2018 – River advocacy groups filed a petition in federal court today against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging its recent decision to extend construction deadlines on the Enloe Hydroelectric Project on the Similkameen River in north central Washington. Through the petition the groups seek to ensure FERC complies with clear requirements of the Federal Power Act and allows for meaningful public participation when making its decisions.
Northeast boaters! Here's your 2018 release schedule for the Moose, Black, Beaver and Raquette. Our upstate New York Rivers offer some of the best paddling anywhere. AW was instrumental in negotiating settlement agreements that made these releases possible.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has produced a draft Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Report as part of their forest plan revision process. The public can comment on the eligibility report in support of the Forest Service protecting a suite of streams as "eligible" for future Wild and Scenic designation. This week, American Whitewater submitted our own comments, and we encourage paddlers to explore the Forest Service's proposed river protections and send in a comment.
American Whitewater is pleased to share that we were recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to support professional facilitation for the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership. The Partnership is made up of a diverse range of regional interest groups working together to create a shared vision for the future management of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.
The March/April issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue features ‘Does Hydropower Have a Place in the Renewable Energy Future? Read the issue now online or download your copy.
American Whitewater is an organization that prides ourselves on getting work done, both effectively and efficiently. Eighty-one cents of every dollar we see goes directly to our stewarship work, and in 2017 we succeeded in turning that work into favorable outcomes on projects across the country. For a concise and graphic look at the work we accomplished together last year, check out this one page document that will be a part of our 2017 Annual Report – Our Work Together in 2017.
The South Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho is under threat from a massive mining proposal. As many of you know, the South Fork is a magnificent river with an incredibly wide range of whitewater opportunities on numerous stretches, including the East Fork, all the way through a Wilderness multi-day run that takes you to the confluence with the Salmon River at Mackey Bar on the Main Salmon wilderness run. We're collecting stories and photos of the South Fork for use in ours and our partners campaign to raise awareness about the imminent threat that this classic whitewater river faces.
Design for the US 101 Elwha River Bridge replacement project is proceeding forward and the Washington Department of Transportation is soliciting community feedback. Please provide a comment on this project if you use the Elwha River for recreation.
The Department of Agriculture recently announced that it will not review a 20-year prohibition on new mining development (i.e., a “mineral withdrawal) for over 101,000 acres of public lands in SW Oregon. The protection, which was implemented in late 2016, covers rivers cherished by the whitewater community including the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith and Illinois Rivers and their headwaters.
American Whitewater is an organization that has been serving paddlers for over 60 years. We are committed to meeting the needs of the whitewater community and our members by providing the highest quality of service and the best representation of the community’s stewardship needs. We strive to continually improve the services we provide paddlers, and every couple of years we ask the community to examine our current performance across a range of issues critical to our success. The best way for us to do this is by asking you to participate in a community survey and to provide input on how American Whitewater is doing meeting your needs and our mission “to conserve and restore America's whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.”
The California Natural Resources Agency recently released the draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic Study Report. Recognizing the river's extraordinary scenic and recreational resources, the agency recommends that 37 miles be added to the California Wild and Scenic River System. The agency wants to hear from you about their recommendations by March 8th, and will hold a public hearing about the draft report on Thursday, February 15th in Mokelumne Hill.
There is no shortage of stewardship work for American Whitewater in 2018. We're working towards bringing 5,000 new miles of river under Wild and Scenic protection in the coming year. Our Top Ten Stewardship Issues for 2018 reflect this goal, with many of our top issues being Wild and Scenic in nature. Our Top Ten list highlights the areas that we think have the potential to be game changing and where we’ll focus a lot of our energy striving for positive outcomes. From national policy issues that affect water quality, landscape level river protections and our successful flow restoration programs, to local access, flow and conservation issues, you can count on American Whitewater’s stewardship team to lead the way.
Senator Stewart Greenleaf, a Pennsylvania State legislator known for his practical, problem solving approach to solving the State’s problems, has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Mr. Greenleaf, 78, was first elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1976 and has served in the Senate since 1978. He is a long time member of the Philadelphia Canoe Club and his work was directly responsible for fall and spring white water releases on Tohickon Creek (1977) and summer releases on the Lehigh River (1999). For a behind the scenes story of this and other work on behalf of paddlers and more information on his long career, please follow this link:
American Whitewater is advocating for improved access conditions at Ward’s Ferry Bridge on California’s Tuolumne River, which is the take-out for the Wild and Scenic Meral’s Pool run above the Don Pedro Hydropower Project. Today the take-out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge is plagued by theft, vandalism and covered in graffiti. Operations of the Don Pedro Project cause water levels at Ward’s Ferry Bridge to fluctuate dramatically, and this has affected conditions at this take-out for decades by contributing to shoreline and trail erosion and creating a steep hike to get up to the road. It’s time to put on record that a safe and improved take-out at Ward’s Ferry Bridge is important to you, the private boater.
The Washington State legislature is considering a bill that could significantly impact river access in Washington State. Under current state law, a County is prohibited from vacating right-of-ways that abut a body of water. House Bill 2521 and Senate Bill 6152 would add new language to state law that would allow a county to vacate a public right-of-way abutting a waterway “for the protection of public safety.”
The 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act marks an incredible opportunity to build positive awareness, support, and activism around the need to grow our one-of-a-kind system of protecting outstanding rivers. American Whitewater will be working to protect 5000 new miles of rivers and streams in 2018 by securing new Wild and Scenic designations via Congress, as well as new protections through National Forest and Bureau of Land Managment planning efforts.
Federal regulators recently gave Duke Energy the green light to move forward on the Catawba-Wateree recreation management plan. The plan includes public recreation requirements and agreements included in the new 40-year license FERC issued in 2015 for the Catawba-Wateree’s Hydroelectric Project. The project encompasses nearly 1,800 miles of shoreline along 11 reservoirs and multiple river reaches in nine counties in North Carolina and five in South Carolina. Projects include new picnic facilities, fishing piers, swim beaches, campgrounds, expanded parking, restrooms and additional boating access areas.
River enthusiasts will soon have new paddling opportunities on West Virginia's New River. Federal regulators issued a new 47-year license for the dam that dewaters the spectacular 5.5-mile New River Dries in the final days of 2017. The license requires significant new recreational and environmental enhancements in a river reach that has suffered from water withdrawals for well over half a century. American Whitewater played an active and leading role in securing these outcomes.
For over 35 years the National Paddling Film Festival has been hosting a competition to determine the best in paddle sport videos and images. This competition has provided the paddling community with a fun and profitable event to support American Whitewater and river stewardship. In that time, the NPFF has also helped to raise the quality of paddle sport entertainment by providing recognition of talent along with important and useful feedback for the artists who make the show a possibility. You can now purchase your tickets online.
If you haven't started already it's time to start planning for that big multi-day trip you've been wanting to do. American Whitewater's permit database can help you find the information you need.
American Whitewater has restored boater access to the Hoosic River at Schaghticoke through negotiations with Brookfield Renewable, operator of the hydro project. Brookfield had constructed a fence and locked gate that prevented paddlers from accessing the river below the dam. Negotiations with Brookfield over the past year resulted in a resumption of scheduled releases in the spring, and in addition, new procedures for boaters to gain access when natural flows are high enough for boating.
Earlier today Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte introduced legislation to designate Montana’s East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River! The bill matches bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this year by Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 2018, this popular bill is now well positioned for passage if the Montana delegation can shepherd it through Congress. We’d like to thank the delegation for championing this bill!
American Whitewater sprang out of the need to rally our community around our shared love for whitewater, to protect, restore and celebrate the rivers that have given us so much. When the President of the United States, announced his intentions to reduce in size Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by nearly half, we wanted to first see how the new borders would affect the protections these Monuments afforded several spectacular whitewater resources within their current boundaries. Read on to see how the Lower San Juan and several other rivers are affected.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers are expanding efforts to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This is the third opportunity since September to provide comment on a proposal that will impact Clean Water Act protections for our nation's headwater streams and wetlands. In this round, the agencies are proposing to retroactively add an effective date to the rule, making it easier to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule. It's important we continue to speak up for clean water...make your voice heard by Wednesday, December 13th.
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.
Each year American Whitewater comes together for our annual Board of Directors meeting. Our stewardship staff spends a lot of time putting together presentations to our Board which detail all of the stewardship projects they are involved in and the stewardship issues they see on the horizon. Seeing all of the work American Whitewater does across the entire country at once really gives a true understanding of how much good work we do as an organization, and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to share those presentations with you. What we came upon with is this: A round of slides with three of our top projects in every region, plucked directly from our presentations to the Board.
Arizona - The Tonto National Forest, home of the Wild & Scenic Salt River and Verde River, is now accepting formal comments on a Preliminary Proposed Plan. The Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP) is the first step in revising the current land and resource management plan - including Wild & Scenic Rivers, Wilderness, and Special Uses. Comments on the Preliminary Proposed Plan should be submitted by January 12, 2018.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) are revising their Forest Plan. The new Forest Plan will dictate how recreation, wildlife habitats, watersheds, timber projects, grazing, and more will be managed on the GMUG for the next 20-30 years. We need your involvement to protect important whitewater resources and the special landscapes throughout the Forests. Public Comments are due on the draft by December 8th.â€¨â€¨
In late 2016, a 20-year ban on mining protected the pristine waters of many rivers in Southwest Oregon. Earlier this fall, Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, asked for a process to reverse this federal protection. Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative DeFazio and California Representative Huffman have been working to protect the headwaters of the North Fork Smith, Illinois and Rogue Rivers, as well as Hunter Creek, and recently pushed back on Bishop's letter. Join us in thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to do all they can to permanently protect this special place.
American Whitewater is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with FLOAT to bring you limited edition river stewardship T shirts available this week only! For every shirt sold FLOAT will make a donation to American Whitewater to help us restore rivers.
The U.S. EPA and Army Corps are continuing the process of reversing and replacing the 2015 Clean Water Rule that offered protections for our nation's headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are receiving preliminary recommendations through Tuesday, November 28th about which water bodies the Act should cover instead. As paddlers, we understand first-hand how important it is to protect headwater creeks and streams, and we encourage you to weigh in!
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.
Each year American Whitewater’s membership elects 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 19th. American Whitewater is very fortunate to have Board members with a passion for our mission and a mix of appropriate skills to help guide AW and meet the challenges we face, both now and in the future.
The House is scheduled to vote on the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act” (H.R. 3043) during the week of November 6th. The bill amends the Federal Power Act as it relates to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) hydropower licensing process, undermining the ability of the public and of state, federal and tribal agencies to protect and restore rivers impacted by hydropower dams. As your Representative considers how they’ll vote on H.R. 3043 this week, it’s critical that they hear from you today.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce our 2017 Holiday Membership Offer – a one year AW membership paired up with our 2018 AW calendar or AW Klean Kanteen. . .and all for just $45! Giving a great gift and supporting your favorite non-profit at the same time. . .great river karma! Under “membership Level” just select ‘$45 – Holiday Membership Offer’ and give the gift of American Whitewater.
Aspen, Colo. - On November 8 & 9, please join the City of Aspen and Pitkin County for a presentation and discussion of the Upper Roaring Fork River Management Plan. This is an opportunity for community members to find out about river management planning efforts and engage in discussions about their priorities for a healthy river. The planning effort, the tools being developed, and the final report will lay the foundation for the City and County to develop management alternatives that address priority issues with support from water users and community stakeholders.
This holiday season, make your online shopping mean something for the rivers you love. American Whitewater is participating in the Amazon Smile program. Amazon has committed to send proceeds from eligible purchases to American Whitewater and other eligible non profits. It won’t cost you anything extra to use Amazon Smile. Plus, there’s no cap to how much you can use the service.
Gunnison, Colorado - Last Wednesday, Matt Brown - longtime river guide, adventurer, and pillar of the Gunnison Valley community- passed away tragically after an accident in Moab. Matt was so much to so many. At the request of his family and friends, contributions in Matt's memory can be made to American Whitewater’s River Access work in Colorado. Matt was a strong ally and advisor in our work to protect the public’s rights to float and fish in the State. We miss him immensely.
American Whitewater has big plans for 2018, with a goal of securing permanent protections for over 5000 miles of streams in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic River Act. We see a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact by protecting some of our best remaining freely-flowing rivers, but we can’t do it without your ongoing support to keep our work on track. Take a moment to see what your contribution will support in every whitewater region across the country in our 2017 Winter Appeal.
Make your online shopping mean something for the rivers you love. American Whitewater is participating in the Amazon Smile program. With each purchase through Amazon Smile a small percentage is passed through to American Whitewater supporting river stewardship.
The American Whitewater Store has just received some new arrivals you don't want to miss. The special edition 2018 Calendar celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is ready to order and, back by popular demand, we have the pink “Lady Bird Tees,” made of 100% organic cotton and fit just right for a woman. We’ve also got sharp looking hoodies, “Dam Busting Tour” t-shirts, Klean Kanteen steel pints, hats, books and much more. So stop in the web store today and wear some American Whitewater gear proud, knowing all of the items in our store go to support our mission.
This week, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill to effectively eliminate the Antiquities Act as a core conservation tool for landscapes that include many rivers important to our community. Over more than a century, the Antiquities Act has served as the mechanism to protect some of our country’s most iconic paddling destinations that include the Colorado River through Grand Canyon (AZ), Black Canyon of the Gunnison (CO), Brown’s Canyon of the Arkansas River (CO), San Juan River through Bears Ears National Monument (UT), Middle Fork Tule in Giant Sequoia (CA), Green and Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument (UT), and East Branch Penobscot in Katahdin Woods and Waters (ME). Please take a moment today to write your Representative and share your thoughts on this legislation.
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.
American Whitewater is pleased to release the first of two planned films on the removal of Mill Pond Dam in northeastern Washington. This short film explores the history of the dam and the early stages of its removal through on-site interviews and footage of the removal process. Over the next two months the removal of the dam will reveal a section of Sullivan Creek not seen for over a century, and we will then produce a follow up film of the newly uncovered stream.
We are saddened to report the passing of Oz Hawksley last month at the age of 97. One of American Whitewater’s original co-founders and co-chair of our organization’s first Conservation Committee, Oz was a lifetime advocate for wild rivers who understood the power of bringing together outdoor enthusiasts for effective advocacy. He developed his passion for rivers through the experiences he enjoyed and was at the forefront of early exploration and conservation of the Clearwater, Flathead, Main Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon, Yampa, and Green along with many rivers in the Ozarks. Oz was a leader in the establishment of the Wild and Scenic Rivers system in 1968.
Western North Carolina is a hotspot for paddling, mountain biking, and rock climbing that attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe. We don't just visit either, the outdoor community starts businesses and families in the region, and in doing so we contribute to the economic vitality of the region. New studies commissioned by Outdoor Alliance looked at the economic impact of these activities around the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests and found a profound benefit topping $83 million annually.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is seeking your input on a proposal to protect a 17-mile section of the Nehalem River under the State Scenic Waterway Program. A State Scenic Waterway designation protects the outstanding scenic, fish, wildlife, geological, botanical, historic, archaeologic, and outdoor recreation values of a river for current and future generations. The deadline to provide comment has been extended to November 1st, and we encourage you to weigh in!
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Greg Lee as a Volunteer of the Month for his efforts developing an Android phone app based on the American Whitewater National River Database. This is the same information found on our website and utilized heavily by the paddling community.
Yesterday American Whitewater filed comments on the proposal to rescind the Clean Water rule (2015 Waters of the United States rule, also known as the WOTUS) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The deadline for comments is today September 27th. The clock is ticking, and we've made it easy for you to speak up and voice your support for the Clean Water rule alongside American Whitewater: Speak Up for Clean Water.
September 19, 2017 – American Whitewater has released a new report, The Oroville Dam 2017 Spillway Incident: Lessons from the Feather River Basin, alongside Friends of the River, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and the South Yuba River Citizens League.
The Russell Fork (VA & KY) is one of the classic Class V creek runs in the United States. The river is run year round and relies on a combination of natural flow and dam release from the Flanagan Reservoir on the Pound River. The Russell Fork Rendezvous will be taking place on October 27 - 29. Proceeds from the event go to support American Whitewater river stewardship. T shirts are now available for purchase now.
American Whitewater is proud to recognize longtime Pacific Northwest paddling aficionado Christian Knight as our Volunteer of the Month for his efforts organizing an extremely successful clean-up at Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River in Washington state. While many members of the paddling community stepped up to assist, it would not have happened without his vision and determination to get it done.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has confirmed that they are changing the scheduled recreational flow days to 4 consecutive days starting Friday October 6 through Monday October 9.
Excavators are in place at Mill Pond Dam on Northeastern Washington's Sullivan Creek, poised to begin chipping away at the 50-foot tall dam on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017. Removing the concrete dam, and an older log-crib dam under the reservoir is expected to take a couple months. American Whitewater played a significant role in negotiating this dam removal, and we are excited to watch the progress this fall.
Each year the rangers and park staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area share an open letter with the boating community. The letter outlines new management actions being implemented on the Gauley River.
Kremmling, Colorado - The Bureau of Land Management has released for public review and comment a set of preliminary alternatives for managing about 40 miles of the Upper Colorado River between Parshall and State Bridge - including Gore Canyon and Pumphouse. This is your chance to weigh in on whether there should be a day-use permit; a camping permit with designated campsites in the popular stretch between Pumphouse and State Bridge; and expanding the developed Pumphouse Campground.
The Lochsa, Selway, Clearwater, and Salmon watersheds are special places for paddlers from around the world. These special rivers flow clean and cold, and boast thousands of miles of tributaries to explore. The Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests are writing a new Forest Plan and are asking the public to share thoughts on which rivers should be protected as "eligible" for future designation as Wild and Scenic Rivers. This is a terrific opportunity for paddlers to protect rivers by sharing comments and photos with the Forest Service, and it is really easy to do through the Agency's interactive map.
American Whitewater reached an important milestone this week in our efforts to restore flows and public access to the New River Dries. Earlier this summer American Whitewater appealed a State decision to provide only 3-4 paddling releases annually, and vehicular access that required a 1.2-mile hike to the put in at the dam. On Tuesday the State issued an improved decision following over a month of negotiations, and in exchange American Whitewater withdrew our appeal. The New River Dries is a big, beautiful, ancient river with vast recreational potential, and its fate is now in the hands of federal regulators at FERC.
Comments are needed in support of clean water and healthy rivers. The EPA is proposing to repeal their Clean Water Rule, leaving protections for the quality of water flowing from our headwaters uncertain. We made commenting easy, so take a couple minutes and stand up for clean rivers!
Not so long ago options for paddlers in the Pacific Northwest were rather limited while awaiting the return of fall rains, but we’re excited to highlight some great opportunities for boaters to get out and enjoy rivers this fall in the region. Class III on the Tieton River, Class IV on the North Fork Rogue, Class IV+ on the Upper Sultan River and Class V in the Chelan Gorge are all upcoming opportunities to get your paddle wet in the Northwest.
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests encompass 2.9 Million Acres of Colorado's Western Slope surrounding communities of Gunnison, Crested Butte, Paonia, Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose and Grand Junction. Some of our most loved rivers like Oh Be Joyful, Taylor River and San Miguel are affected by the new Forest Plan. Help us protect these places by attending a meeting, and filing comments on how you want these places managed in the future.
American Whitewater, along with Kayak and Canoe Club of New York and Appalachian Mountain Club, have joined with FERC in calling on Eagle Creek Renewable, owner and operator of three hydropower projects on the Mongaup River in New York, to conduct a whitewater boating study on section below the Rio Dam. The Mongaup is a scenic Class II/III river within easy reach of New York City and southern New England. Both whitewater groups and FERC are seeking to determine whether releasing flows into the natural river channel below the Rio Dam would provide new recreational boating opportunity at the Rio Project. The study will determine whether the whitewater boating run can be extended upstream to the Rio Dam. In addition, AW and its partners will be seeking additional whitewater boating release days through the relicensing process.
The Custer-Gallatin National Forest has proposed new protections for 18 outstanding streams in Montana through their forest planning process. The Forests propose to manage these streams as “eligible” for Wild and Scenic designation, along with 12 other rivers and streams previously determined to be eligible. The Forests’ analysis is solid in our view and merits appreciation from paddlers, though there is room for a bit of improvement. They are accepting comments through August 12, 2017.
Earlier this month the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission unanimously voted to designate the waters of the North Fork Smith River in southwest Oregon as the first Outstanding Resource Waters in the Pacific Northwest.
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.
Several newspapers reported this week that the Coast Guard is proposing to close a portion of a popular section of the Potomac River whenever high-ranking officials are playing golf at Trump National Golf Club. DC area paddlers quickly balked at the proposed new rule and Congressional leaders have joined them in pushing back against the proposal. The Coast Guard has posted their proposed closure rules, and an opportunity to comment online until August 9, 2017. Alternative approaches could allow both public use of the river and secure use of the private golf course.
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.
The July/August issue of the AW Journal is available in the "Library". This issue features ‘American Whitewater's 2016 Annual Report'. Read the issue now online or download your copy.
American Whitewater, San Joaquin Stakeholders and Agencies have negotiated with Southern California Edison to test better management of naturally occuring spill. During the last spill of this season SCE will test slowing down the rate of reducing flows. This more natural flow regime benefits the native aquatic species while still providing whitewater boating opportuniites and is referred to as spill cessation.
While we had hoped to see this test in August, mother nature had other plans! SCE has informed us that the last anticipated spill for the seasons is happening earlier than anticipated and they will start their test this week. So start making your boating plans now!
Please take this survey for a study of the economic impact of rock climbing, whitewater paddling, and mountain biking in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests! This is a partnership project between Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater, IMBA, and Access Fund, and we'll use the data to advocate for recreation and good management of public lands in North Carolina.