Upper Colorado River User Survey
Upper Colorado River Paddlers, we need your feedback! We're asking you to participate in a short survey on behalf of the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group formed in 2007 as an independent, collaborative group with the goal of protecting and enhancing the remarkable values of the stretch of the Colorado River from Kremmling to Glenwood Springs.
American Whitewater Volunteer of the Month Presented by Kokatat: Keirith Snyder
American Whitewater would like to recognize Keirith Snyder for her awesome work as the coordinator for the Feather Festival Tobin Downriver Race. She is our October Volunteer of the Month. Keirith has organized the race for two consecutive years and has volunteered for many past Tobin races. Since taking over leadership, she has streamlined every aspect of the event by utilizing her analytical skills she draws from her experience as a research scientist. Beyond maintaining a dialed-in schedule by herding volunteers, class V safety boaters, and class V participants, she never loses sight of the fun the race brings to the community by encouraging volunteer costumes and other props.
Say no to the Little Colorado River dams
Other worldly turquoise waters falling over travertine ledges have made the Little Colorado River an icon within an already iconic American landscape. This major tributary of the mainstem Colorado enjoys high flow events from snowmelt and rainstorms that turn that blue into a roiling red. Outside of two dams high up in the watershed, the Little Colorado is otherwise unimpeded with a mostly natural hydrograph, rare for many rivers in the southwest. This beautiful place is now threatened by two proposed hydropower projects just outside of the border of Grand Canyon National Park that would alter flows, fish, water quality, and mar the Little Colorado for generations.
Upper Yough Hearing To Focus On New Dam Permit
The 2011 state permit that requires and governs the dam releases on the Upper Yough is up for renewal. Unlike most hydropower dams, the Deep Creek Project is not regulated by a Federal license, however the state permit fills a similar role as a Federal license would. The permit renewal creates opportunities to modify the terms of the permit in ways that could benefit or impact whitewater paddling, river ecology, and other values. A hearing is scheduled for October 15th, 2019 at Garrett College that will focus on potential changes in the new permit.
Please Attend the 2019 Lower Dolores River Boating / McPhee Spill Critique!
This Wednesday, September 25th is your chance to talk directly to the folks who manage the releases out of McPhee Reservoir into the Lower Dolores River. Hear about how this season was forecast and managed and let your voice be heard on what you think went right and what could be improved.
HELP THE USFS DISCOVER The WHITEWATER RECREATION IN THEIR OWN CA BACKYARD!
The United States Forest Service (USFS) recently released Draft Revisions for their Sequoia and Sierra National Forest Land Management Plans in California. As a part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. Over the course of 5 years of engagement, American Whitewater has identified 228 river miles in the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests that we regard to have outstandingly remarkable whitewater recreational value. These whitewater miles contain unique, rare or exemplary features that should qualify these rivers for inclusion into the Eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers Inventory. Yet, thus far, the USFS has only evaluated 25% of these river miles for whitewater recreation. Help the USFS discover whitewater recreation on rivers in their CA backyard by submitting personal a comment via our super simple form.
Public Comment Due for Arkansas River Sept. 20! (CO)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in their final stages of revising the Resource Management Plan for the Eastern Colorado Field Office, which encompasses the Arkansas River Corridor from Leadville to Cañon City and includes Grape Creek. The Management Plan, which hasn't been revised since 1996, sets the blueprint for how our rivers are managed and which protections they are afforded. The BLM depends on the public - folks like yourself - to speak up and tell them why these special places need protecting. Public comments are due September 20 (in just 10 days) and must be submitted online here.
AW Journal - The September/October Issue is Online Now!
The September/October issue of the AW Journal is available in our online "Library". This issue includes 'The Whitewater Legacy of Jimmy Carter' along with much more. Read the issue online now or download your copy.
Gore Canyon Festival 2019 (CO) Review
Gore Fest 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the Gore Race, our banner event. Both the race and festival had all time turn out. The event fulfills our mission of enjoying these resources we love and work so hard to defend. Gore Fest was born out of the work AW has done and continues to do to protect and restore flows on the Upper Colorado River. This year proved our community is ready to enjoy it. We had 66 folks renew their memberships and got 53 brand new folks dedicated to our work!
2019 LETTER TO GAULEY BOATERS FROM THE NPS (WV)
Each year the rangers of Gauley River National Recreation Area (WV) send American Whitewater an open letter to boaters that keeps us up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River.
AW Launches Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign
American Whitewater is launching the Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign to restore and improve river flows for aquatic ecosystems and to improve recreation opportunities across the region. Over the next 10 years, more than 50 hydroelectric dams in New York are scheduled to get new 30 to 50-year federal licenses, creating a once in a generation opportunity to improve river conditions. In the Black River Basin alone, there are more than 20 hydropower dams on the Black, Beaver, and Moose rivers that will begin the relicensing process in the next year, and American Whitewater will need to participate with other partners in order to mitigate project impacts and achieve river restoration goals. Through these efforts, we will restore flows to dewatered river reaches, improve existing flows, enhance public access, and benefit communities throughout the region.
Draft Flathead River Management Plan Released for Comment (MT)
The Forest Service has released a Proposed Action which is essentially a partial draft management plan the forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River. The Proposed Action is available for public review and comment through September 13, 2019. The Forest Service proposed a number of management actions that would be triggered by encounter limits being reached, including new permit systems. We encourage Flathead River paddlers to give the agency some feedback on the encounter thresholds they propose, the proposed management actions, and the Proposed Action as a whole.
Russell Fork Release Study Open For Comment (VA/KY)
The Army Corps of Engineers has shared their Environmental Assessment that considered four potential changes to the fall whitewater release program aimed at enhancing whitewater paddling opportunities. The Corps is planning on providing two additional Friday releases this fall as a result of the analysis. The EA is refreshingly succinct, and we encourage paddlers to give it a read and submit a comment if you are inspired to do so.
Harpers Ferry Access Study Reveals Need for New Approaches (MD/WV)
The final Weverton Rail Crossing Feasibility Study was released this week, which considered two options for improving the crossing of CSX railroad tracks to provide safer public access to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and for use of the Appalachian Trail. The Report reveals insurmountable problems with the two proposed access solutions, but also highlights other possible paths forward.
Sierra & Sequoia National Forest Management Plans (CA)
The U.S. Forest Service recently released the revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Forest Plans (DFP) for the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests. As part of this process, National Forests are required to identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Once a river is found eligible it is managed to protect the values that support their inclusion. To that end, American Whitewater has identified recreation as an outstandingly remarkable value on many iconic whitewater rivers within the Sierra and Sequoia National Forest and is advocating for their inclusion into the inventory of eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers. Dinkey Creek Photo by Daniel Lundberg
Submit Your Best Images For the 2020 American Whitewater Calendar!
Submit your best photos for the American Whitewater Calendar! Many of the best whitewater rivers in this country are on public lands, but our rivers on public lands also face a number of challenges. For our 2020 calendar we're celebrating these incredible rivers that belong to all of us in an effort to encourage your enjoyment of them and their protection. Images that feature rivers on public lands will be given the highest consideration and bonus points for images that feature current, past or future American Whitewater projects.
AW Stewardship Assistant Job Announcement
American Whitewater is hiring! The Stewardship Assistant will be responsible for supporting American Whitewater's Regional Stewardship Directors in project-related analysis, research, and writing as well as communicating and advocating for our work to resource agencies, funders, elected officials, and our membership. The Stewardship Assistant position is an hourly 20hr/week contract position with potential for growth. Hourly contract pay is competitive and based on experience, without benefits or office space provided. The Stewardship Assistant location is flexible, and reports to the National Stewardship Director.
Gore Canyon Festival (CO) is coming up August 23rd-25th
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2019 Gore Canyon Festival taking place August 23-25th on the Upper Colorado River. As the leading representative of the river-recreation community on the Upper Colorado River, American Whitewater is deeply invested in creating opportunities to protect, restore, and enjoy whitewater paddling on the Colorado River. The Gore Canyon Festival is the perfect stage to celebrate the beautiful and iconic Colorado River, and an opportunity for our partners to engage the public in cooperative river management.
New Mexico Game Commission Halts Landowner Certification of Non-Navigable Waters
In 2017, the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission adopted a new rule allowing private landowners to apply to certify streams running through their property as "non-navigable" and subject to a trespass statute outlined in the new rule. The New Mexico Game Commission called for a 90-day moratorium on the rule at their meeting on Wednesday July 24th. During the 90-day period, the commission will not hear any new applications for non-navigable certification. American Whitewater joined forces with our affiliate club, Adobe Whitewater, the American Canoe Association, and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation to request that the newly instate game commission rescind the rule.
Russell Fork Releases Expanded (KY/VA)
The fall release schedule for the Russell Fork River was recently announced, and it includes two new Friday releases that will offer 3-day weekends of releases. While announced without explanation, the added released are presumably a result of a public process convened by the Army Corp of Engineers last spring to explore the possibility of an expanded release schedule. American Whitewater and many regional paddlers advocated for additional recreational releases throughout the public process. We conducted and shared a survey that indicated significant support for Friday releases. The new releases are listed as "tentative and subject to change," and hopefully if they go well additional releases will be scheduled in future years. Enjoy these new paddling opportunities!