New Wild and Scenic Rivers Bill for Montana to be Introduced!
11/09/2020 - by Jim Hepburn
Earlier today, Montana Senator Jon Tester announced the forthcoming introduction of the Montana Headwaters Legacy Act, marking a major milestone in the ongoing and momentous journey towards designating many of the state's most renowned waterways as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Senator's office noted that this legislation would be the "most significant Wild and Scenic River designation in the state in nearly 45 years." The MHLA will protect 336 miles on 17 rivers and streams in the Greater Yellowstone and Upper Missouri Headwaters geographies as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The compilation includes a tried and true sampling of the essential Montana paddling experience, containing classic sections of the Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin, Stillwater, and Boulder, all stacked between the ultra-scenic multi-day section of the Smith and an assortment of rugged and remote wilderness runs on their tributaries.
October Volunteers of the Month Presented by Kokatat
10/20/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
American Whitewater members Vance Harris, Nate O'Connor, Cameron O'Connor, and Dominic Judd are humble heroes. While camping on their way to the recreational releases on Pit 5, these young men took action to prevent another wildfire from burning out of control in Northern California.
Fall 2020 Tallulah Releases Cancelled Due To Covid-19
10/19/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
Tallulah Gorge State Park has determined that scheduled Tallulah Gorge whitewater releases for the fall of 2020 need to be cancelled to comply with their Covid-19 related policies. Access to the gorge floor has been closed to all visitors since March, and paddlers gathering at access areas and on the stairs would exceed their limits on people occupying areas of the Park. Representatives of American Whitewater and an affiliate club represented paddlers on a call today with the Park and power company. While disappointing, we are supportive of the cancellation and feel it is a fair application of current Park policies. We have asked that rescheduling cancelled releases in 2021 be open for discussion early next year.
An Uncommon Dialogue about Hydropower Leads to New Possibilities For Rivers
10/19/2020 - by Evan Stafford
For the past two and a half years American Whitewater has participated in a cooperative effort bringing together members of the hydropower industry, national conservation organizations, the Department of Energy, and others who are committed to addressing the urgent challenge of climate change, and its impacts on rivers. Co-convened by Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment as a part of the Energy Futures Initiative, this Uncommon Dialogue process resulted in a Joint Statement of Collaboration on U.S. Hydropower that outlines our shared task to chart hydropower's role in a clean energy future in a way that also supports healthy rivers.
CA Scheduled Releases Mokelumne, NF Feather & Pit
10/14/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
In California, American Whitewater is working with Pacific Gas & Electric and the managing agencies, including USFS and BLM, to provide the following scheduled releases for the Mokelumne, North Fork Feather & the PIT River. Please note that each release has been and is subject to circumstances on the ground regarding COVID 19. All parties keeping in mind the current California State Order as well as local County Health Guidelines.
Time for Some Action on the South Fork Salmon!
10/08/2020 - by Evan Stafford
The Forest Service recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a large-scale mining project in the headwaters of the South Fork Salmon (ID) and we need YOU to let the Forest Service know how important of a whitewater resource the South Fork is to our community! The DEIS clearly states that the Stibnite Gold Project, as proposed, will adversely affect endangered fish species, their habitat, and the river's water quality and quantity. These effects to water quality and quantity will be felt downstream during the project's operation, negatively impacting whitewater paddling, as well as other recreation opportunities. The project also comes with the additional risks of tailings dam failure, acid mine drainage, and cyanide spills, none of which are accounted for in the DEIS. The Forest Service needs to receive an outpouring of objections to this project and to understand that the world class whitewater of the South Fork deserves to be cherished, not diminished.
Virtual Feather Fest Oct. 28th: Music, Prize Drawings, and a Foamie Boater Race
10/07/2020 - by Bethany Overfield
In an effort to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and the communities that host our events as safe as possible, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel all AW events in 2020, including our traditional Feather Fest throwdown in California. We're so bummed to not be able to gather in person but we're pleased to announce that we'll all be congregating for a virtual festival to celebrate some of our stewardship victories and to thank our membership base with some great drawings! Virtual Feather Fest will take place on Wednesday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. PST.
If you normally join or renew your membership at Feather Fest, you can use this membership renewal form to get entered to win some rad prizes!
Action Alert for the Russell Fork!!! Take Action today--comments due October 8th
10/07/2020 - by Bethany Overfield
This action alert requires a quick turnaround time! Comments are due tomorrow, October 8th. Use this link to help shape the future of scheduled whitewater releases on the Russell Fork River (VA/KY) for the next 25 years! We need to let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers know how best to manage the river for paddlers, making sure they maintain recreational flows during the month of October (including the new Friday release days!), relay our desire for increasing scheduled releases at other times of the year, and asking that they provide a flow forecast, so that paddlers are better able to plan for boating the Russell Fork. The Army Corps are currently updating the JW Flannagan and NF Pound Lakes Master Plans, which guide land and recreation management, including water recreation, for the next 25 years. Photo by Sarah Ruhlen
Virtual Gauley Fest 2020 – Great Success!
10/07/2020 - by Evan Stafford
All of our festivals, including our traditional Gauley Fest throwdown in West Virginia, unfortunately had to be canceled this year. We missed seeing every single one of you in person this year, but it was awesome to connect virtually with our community and to celebrate the Gauley River, our stewardship success in the region, and to give away some great prizes from our awesome industry partners. It's also something to be thankful for, that the pandemic may have stopped our regular gathering of the wild things, but it's not stopping the rivers from flowing, and Gauley releases have provided an excellent opportunity for boaters to get outside and enjoy some quality whitewater this fall. If you joined or renewed before or during our virtual Gauley Fest 2020 THANK YOU! We had a great turnout of support, including over 202 new or renewing memberships through our Gauley Fest online membership form.
Bulls Bridge (CT) Access Restored
10/06/2020 - by Robert Nasdor
Access to the Bulls Bridge section of the Housatonic River in Connecticut has been restored in response to American Whitewater's complaint to FERC about the closure. FirstLight, the licensee for the Bulls Bridge hydropower project, restored access after AW filed a formal complaint that the closure violated the project license. The areas had been closed by FirstLight in May at the request of local communities due to COVID-19 and overcrowding concerns.
2020 Pit River Update – Fall River Mills to Powerhouse 1 (CA)
10/05/2020 - by Theresa Simsiman
Here is the update on the current boatable flows and remaining October recreational releases provided by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for the Pit River. First, many may have noticed that PG&E has begun releasing approximately 900 cfs on the Pit 1 run above the powerhouse. PG&E reports this is due to both Powerhouse 1 units being taken offline. This outage is expected until November 3rd and will provide flows ranging from 900 cfs to 1500 cfs. As for the scheduled recreational flows, PG&E is holding fast to a release schedule for the 2nd and 4th weekend of Oct. Here is the Pit 1 and Pit 5 lineup of scheduled releases: October 10 & 11 - PIT 1 900 cfs or greater, October 17 & 18 - PIT 5 10am - 4pm 1500 cfs, October 24 & 25 - PIT 1 900 cfs or greater
Upgrades to AW National Whitewater Inventory!
10/02/2020 - by Evan Stafford
American Whitewater is proud to release some big upgrades to our website with the support of a U.S Coast Guard grant. We've totally revamped the mapping tool for interacting with our National Whitewater Inventory (NWI), our database containing over 5,700 runs, with crowdsourced descriptions, recommended flow levels, rapid descriptions, alerts, news and more. This improved planning tool will not only help paddlers select the rivers and flow levels appropriate for their skill, it will also inspire you to visit new rivers and become involved with river stewardship. The new mapping tool also improves mobile use of our site and allows paddlers to relay and explore information on river levels, hazards, and other conditions while on the go. We'd love to hear your feedback and appreciate your help dialing-in the finer points of these technology enhancements. If you have a specific bug, issue, or enhancement please use this form to submit your thoughts. http://bit.ly/TechFeedback_AW20
Mine at the Numbers (CO) Put-In Withdrawn
09/29/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
We received notice today that the Oro Vista project proponent has officially withdrawn their proposal to mine placer gold in the Arkansas River near the Numbers put-in and is no longer under consideration by the Forest Service.
New USGS Gage Installed on Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek! (NC)
09/28/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the installation of a new online U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage on Wilson Creek, one of North Carolina's five federally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The new stream gage is the result of a partnership between American Whitewater, Duke Energy and the USGS, and is expected to provide significant public safety and recreational benefits. American Whitewater would like to thank Duke Energy and the USGS, on behalf of the paddling community, for this great investment in the safe enjoyment of Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek.
Flow Surveys Announced for the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers (CO)
09/18/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
American Whitewater needs your help to define stream flows that support the full range of recreational boating opportunities on the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers. Information collected by this study will be used to understand existing use on the river, quantify acceptable flows for all segments on the mainstem rivers, and assist in defining the economic impact river recreation has on the region. Please fill out the survey today! Click here for the Crystal survey and here for the Roaring Fork Survey.
AW Objects to Brookfield Refusal to Reschedule Cheoah Releases (NC)
09/17/2020 - by Kevin Colburn
The owner of Santeetlah Dam, Brookfield, has refused requests to reschedule eight spring releases on the Cheoah River that were cancelled because of Covid-19. Today, American Whitewater filed a request asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require Brookfield make up at least half of the cancelled releases later this year. The request comes after Brookfield delayed a meeting to reschedule releases for three months and then flatly refused to provide any make-up releases. Similar releases on nearby dams operated by other owners were rescheduled willingly and without issue, and offered the public valuable late summer and early fall paddling opportunities.
Help Designate Over 1000 Miles of New Wild and Scenic Rivers
09/10/2020 - by Evan Stafford
We've got an opportunity to designate over 1000 miles of new Wild and Scenic Rivers and we need your voice to help make it happen. The must-pass National Defense Authorization Act has a package of key public lands and rivers protections attached to it, including new Wild and Scenic designations that the AW staff worked directly with key members of Congress to include, and for which we now need you to reach out to your representative in support of to ensure they're included in the final bill. We make it too easy with our super simple action form, but please remember, if you have an extra moment, personalizing your message makes it all the more impactful. This package, including protections for the Grand Canyon, Wild Olympics in Washington, the Dolores in Colorado, and several landscapes in California, is not guaranteed to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act - It's up to us to make it happen, so take action today.
Gauley Fest 2020 Coming to Your Home Sept 23!
09/09/2020 - by Evan Stafford
In an effort to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and the communities that host our events as safe as possible, we made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel all AW events in 2020, including our traditional Gauley Fest throwdown in West Virginia. Not as rowdy, and in need of more support than ever, Gauley Fest 2020 is happening this year! Although a little differently… maybe a lot differently - we are going virtual. This decision was not an easy one to make, but we are excited for you to join the first-ever virtual Gauley Fest! We have speakers, films, BIG prize drawings, and fun, all designed to create an amazing event for everyone and help keep the Gauley spirit alive. The event will take place at 7:30 pm EST on Wednesday, September 23rd. Attendance is free and registering is easy http://bit.ly/GauleyFest_2020
Gore Fest 2020 – Virtual Edition
09/07/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
Thanks to our industry partner, Down River Equipment, and top membership drawing sponsor, Rocky Mountain Rafts, we were able to give away a full overnight raft set up to new and renewing Gore Fest members. When we first began planning this virtual event, we set our membership goal at a modest 100 memberships. We exactly doubled that goal, with 200 new memberships and over half of those at Ender Club level or higher. Our membership drawing was also supported by the generous donations from Pyranha, Hala Gear, Kokatat, and Yakima.
September Volunteer of the Month - Dave 'Hojo' Hajoglou--Presented by Kokatat
09/07/2020 - by Hattie Johnson
Dave Hajoglou - more commonly known as Hojo - is American Whitewater's September Volunteer of the Month. Hojo is an absolutely integral part of the Gore Canyon Festival every year. Providing his software genius through his company Wavemonkey Scoring, Hojo times the Gore Race and judges and scores the freestyle event at the Pumphouse wave all free of charge. He doesn't just show up with a computer either. Hojo is involved year-round in the planning and preparation, always looking for ways improve the smoothness and safety of our competitive events. However, most enjoyably Hojo has taken on the emcee role at the awards ceremony even going so far as joining the performing bands with a hot harmonica solo.