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More Help Needed for Ward's Ferry Take-Out W&S Tuolumne River (CA)

Posted: 03/25/2019
by Theresa Simsiman

American Whitewater needs your help to secure future takeout improvements at Ward’s Ferry Bridge, the takeout for the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River. Recently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project that does not recommend a whitewater boating take-out facility at Ward’s Ferry as a license requirement.  In fact FERC staff believes the Don Pedro Project has NO impact to the take-out. Instead, they believe the take-out problems at Ward’s Ferry are related to USFS management of boating permits, flows from the upstream non-project Holm powerhouse and Tuolumne County road management. In other words, FERC staff has an opinion that everyone else is to blame for the poor take-out conditions but not Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts’ Don Pedro powerhouse, dam or reservoir.

Picture by Paul Martzen - Ward's Ferry Take-out

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AW Scholarship Announced for Creative Advocacy Program

Posted: 03/21/2019
by Kevin Colburn

AW and the Freeflow Institute have teamed up to offer a competitive scholarship to one or two deserving river lovers in 2019. Freeflow Institute is a Montana-based organization offering seminars, workshops, and adventures for creative people in Earth’s wildest classrooms. By offering intelligently structured, professionally catered trips into wild spaces, the Freeflow Institute affords established and emerging writers, artists, and athletes, the time, community, and inspiration to take their practice outside and build creative cohorts of advocates for thoughtful, strategic environmental preservation. The end result - inspired and effective river advocates! If you or someone you know could benefit from an immersive, experiential creative workshop on a wild Western river this summer, you should seize this opportunity to apply.

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Posted: 03/20/2019
by Theresa Simsiman

Here are the 2019 scheduled recreational releases for hydropower projects American Whitewater negotiated across California.

Photo by Barry Kruse - Pit 1

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Normal Take-out Closed in 2019 for Improvements - South Silver Creek (CA)

Posted: 03/20/2019
by Theresa Simsiman

During 2019 access to the normal take-out for South Silver Creek will be closed while the U.S. Forest Service and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) begin paving the road and constructing a new day use area with public restroom. Boaters planning to paddle South Silver Creek this year will need to paddle the reservoir to a point beyond Strawberry Camp to take-out.

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Comments Needed on Changes to Pumphouse and Gore Canyon (CO) Management!

Posted: 03/20/2019
by Evan Stafford

The Kremmling Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released preliminary plans to update their Special Recreation Area Management Plan for the Upper Colorado River from Parshall to State Bridge. We need the paddling community to speak up for our interests regarding proposed changes to the management of this reach, which includes Gore Canyon and the Pumphouse to State Bridge sections. We make is super easy to comment with our easy action templated forms and we’ll hand deliver your message to the BLM. These sections of river see high private and commercial use, in addition to hosting the American Whitewater Gore Canyon Festival every August. 
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AW Journal - The March/April Issue Online Now!

Posted: 03/18/2019
by Bethany Overfield

The March/April issue of the AW Journal is available in our online "Library". This issue includes 'Public Lands Package Benefits Rivers Across the Country!’ along with much more.  Read the issue online now or download your copy.

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Russell Fork Meeting Scheduled to Consider Releases

Posted: 03/15/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced a second public meeting to inform the public and seek input regarding proposed changes to the fall release schedule. The meeting will be held at the Breaks Interstate Park Conference Center at 627 Commission Circle, Breaks, Va., on April 2, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Paddlers are encouraged to attend.

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First New River Dries Release Rescheduled

Posted: 03/15/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The New River Dries was scheduled to have its first planned releases ever this weekend, however inflows will be exceeding the capacity of the hydropower diversion and the Dries will be running around 5,000 cfs without a release. There are worse problems to have! This means that this weekend's 2200-2500 cfs releases will be rescheduled for next weekend, which looks promising for the releases to occur with good water levels and weather, and if needed one more weekend, after which they will be cancelled if they have not occured. 

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State Legislation Seeks to Protect and Preserve Access to Waterways in Oregon

Posted: 03/12/2019
by Priscilla Macy

Oregon is a state renowned for its plentiful water supplies and outstanding recreation opportunities on its public waterways. The abundance of outstanding river resources is a reason why people continue to live, work, recreate and travel to the state.  Protecting rivers and access to them is important to conservation and recreation as it ties to strong local economies and community health. Oregon House Bill 2835 has been modified based on collaborative and ongoing efforts involving the many diverse stakeholders in the state with a vested interest in use of Oregon’s waterways, and as such amendments have been carefully and collaboratively crafted to achieve some important outcomes that protect access to public waterways in the state. Please keep and eye out for details on the hearing date for this important bill, and for an upcoming Action Alert, which will be posted as soon as those details become available. 

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Adirondack Whitewater Release Schedule Announced

Posted: 02/27/2019
by Robert Nasdor

Northeast boaters will again have the opportunity to boat in the Adirondacks this year on the Moose, Raquette, and Beaver rivers. Be sure to mark your calendars for these releases and join us for the Moosefest and Beaver River Rendezvous this year

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Tow Tether Danger Highlighted by Recent Accident

Posted: 02/25/2019
by Charlie Walbridge

Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)


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Devils Postpile Will Be Included in Wild and Scenic Inventory!

Posted: 02/21/2019
by Theresa Simsiman

Good news from California! After the Inyo National Forest Plan Revision Objection Resolution meeting yesterday in Bishop California, the Deputy Regional Forester and the Inyo Forest Supervisor announced that they will add the segments of the Middle Fork San Joaquin that are on Inyo Forest land (11.5 miles) to the inventory of eligible wild and scenic rivers for the revised Inyo Forest Plan.  They will also add whitewater boating as an outstandingly remarkable value (ORV).  Specifically, the sections of the Middle Fork San Joaquin within the Inyo National Forest from Soda Springs footbridge to the confluence with the North Fork San Joaquin.

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Action Alert! Support Protection of Access to Public Waterways in Oregon

Posted: 02/21/2019
by Priscilla Macy

Oregon is a state renowned for its plentiful water supplies and outstanding recreation opportunities on its public waterways. The abundance of outstanding river resources is a reason why people continue to live, work, recreate, and travel to the state.  Protecting rivers and access to them is important to conservation and recreation, as it ties to strong local economies and community health. Right now there is a bill in the Oregon House that will improve and protect our access to rivers across the state. If the ability to access and safely navigate rivers in Oregon is important to you, please take a moment and use our easy action form and contact your Oregeon State representative in support of this new legislation. 

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Nathan Fey Departs as Colorado Stewardship Director

Posted: 02/13/2019
by Kevin Colburn

It was announced today that Nathan Fey, our Colorado Stewardship Director, will be leaving his role at American Whitewater to accept a new position as the Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. That the state of Colorado would select someone from our Team speaks volumes about the program Nathan put on the ground for American Whitewater, and the legacy he has created for our community in Colorado and the Southern Rockies. Nathan and the Colorado boating community have made a huge impact in preserving and protecting flows for the future. We wish Nathan all the best in his future adventures, and trust that he will continue to make a lasting impact on the health of Colorado's rivers and recreation economy.

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Southern Rockies Stewardship Director Job Opening

Posted: 02/13/2019
by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater is hiring a new Southern Rockies Stewardship Director, following the announcement of the previous director moving on to a new role with the State of Colorado. The Director represents American Whitewater in strategically selected regional river conservation and access issues. These issues include water supply and demand management, public land and river management, community planning / river access, and policy issues that affect the region

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Action Alert! Devil's Postpile of the San Joaquin River

Posted: 02/12/2019
by Evan Stafford

Calling all paddlers who've paddled or aspire to paddle the Devil's Postpile, and who could provide comments for the incredible nature of this section of the Middle Fork San Joaquin River. Comments are needed ASAP and are due on February 15th. Currently, American Whitewater is working with the Forest Service on the Inyo Forest Management Plan Revision. We are working both to ensure the Devil’s Postpile remains included in the inventory of Wild & Scenic eligible rivers and that whitewater boating on this reach is added as an outstandingly remarkable value.

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Green River Appeal Heads to the VT Supreme Court

Posted: 02/12/2019
by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater is heading to the Vermont Supreme Court next month in its ongoing work to protect whitewater boating on the Green River. Following our big win in the Superior Court, Environmental Division in which the court overturned the state prohibition of scheduled releases on the Green, the state appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court. We filed our Supreme Court brief and oral argument is scheduled for March 12th at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton. American Whitewater has been involved with the Green since before the 2011 whitewater boating study on behalf of our affiliate Vermont Paddlers Club.
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A Wild and Scenic Coalition is Born

Posted: 02/11/2019
by Kevin Colburn

In 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Wild and Scenic River System. In the wake of the impressive anniversary successes, however, one might ask, “So, now what?” Luckily, the rivers community asked that question some time ago. As with conservation innovations of the past, a group of river advocates and concerned citizens united to ensure that the rivers anniversary wasn’t simply a one-time party. And so, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition was born at River Rally 2018 from the power of the unprecedented national-level cooperation undertaken during the anniversary. American Whitewater has been a leading proponent of forming a Wild and Scenic River Coalition for the past several years and we have long worked nationally with a group of partner organizations on Wild and Scenic issues. We are now thrilled be a founding and active member of this new coalition that has a bright future.

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New American Whitewater Website Update

Posted: 01/30/2019
by Evan Stafford

Here at American Whitewater we are rapidly fixing bugs and enhancing the user experience on our newly redesigned website, which we launched late last week. We launched our site under a hard deadline based on the outstanding financial support we received for this project from the US Coast Guard, and we appreciate our community’s patience and constructive comments as we hone the new site. We had a modest budget for this project, but luckily we also had a very talented, very small and dedicated programming and design team, and lots of volunteers who stepped up to help get it done. We encourage you to be a part of that history by dropping in on the site and constructively reporting what you find. Before you return feedback you can check here to make sure it’s not an issue we’re already addressing. We’ll keep this article updated over the coming weeks so the community can track our progress.
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Welcome to the New National Whitewater Inventory!

Posted: 01/25/2019
by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater has worked with an outstanding team of website designers and programmers over the past two years to redesign our National Whitewater Inventory (NWI). The NWI provides high quality information for a growing list of 5,760 whitewater river reaches across the United States. Each year this online guide helps almost 1,000,000 paddlers avoid hazards and match their skill level to the right rivers at the right flows. Like a Wikipedia of whitewater rivers, the Inventory is a dynamic crowd-sourced collection of river descriptions, locations, hazards, photos, and flow recommendations organized by a powerful database. This project was funded by a generous grant from the US Coast Guard, based on the NWI’s vital river safety value. We are actively fixing bugs and enhancing the user experience of the new design, so expect improved performance in the coming weeks.