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Comments Needed - New Flow Management Proposal on the Trinity River (CA)

06/16/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater has taken the opportunity to gauge impacts of a proposal introduced by the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) known as the Winter Flow Variability Action. This new flow management proposal has the potential to impact summer recreational flows on 23 miles of the Trinity River including the Pigeon Point Run, Big Flat to Hayden Flat and Hayden to Cedar Flat. Overall, the main purpose of the new flow proposal is to help retore the fisheries of the Trinity River which have been severely degraded by dam construction and water diversions by mimicking a natural hydrograph. Based on this, American Whitewater finds merit in the Winter Flow Variability Action and encourages paddlers to weigh in as recreational stakeholders during the public scoping period so that the TRRP can better understand summer boating interests. Specifically, we encourage paddlers to highlight time spent on this section of the Trinity River during the summer and at what flow levels you enjoy measured at the Burnt Ranch Gorge gauge.

 

Photo of Theresa L. Lorejo-Simsiman on Hell Hole by Serendipty Snapshots  

 

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Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved

06/10/2021 - by Charlie Walbridge

From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers. These great victories are the subject of his new book "Whitewater Wars." Dave was hired by outfitters on both rivers, and his efforts took him from the edge of the river to the halls of congress. On the Gauley a small cadre of private paddlers - Pete Skinner, Mac Thornton, Pope Barrow, Steve Taylor, and Charlie Walbridge - played important roles and later became the nucleus of an American Whitewater board that guided the organization towards it's current position as a national leader in river access and conservation. Dave ran the first Gauleyfest to help build support for protecting the river, and was excited to get 500 attendees! After the Gauley was declared a National Recreation Area the festival was passed over to AW. And the rest is history! It's a great read!

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Mongaup River (NY) Settlement Agreement Expands Boating Opportunities

06/10/2021 - by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater, reached a Settlement Agreement on the relicensing of three hydropower dams on the Mongaup River that will double scheduled whitewater boating releases below the Rio Dam in Forestburgh, New York. The agreement will expand recreational boating opportunities in the river and on reservoirs, protect instream flows for aquatic habitat, remove Black Brook Dam, protect endangered species, and protect flows on the Wild & Scenic Delaware River. The Settlement Agreement is the culmination of four years of advocacy as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing of the Mongaup River hydroelectric projects. “The Settlement Agreement is a big win for whitewater paddlers, anglers, lake owners, and everyone working to protect the river ecosystem,” according to Bob Nasdor, AW Northeast Stewardship & Legal Director. The Settlement Agreement will assure that the new FERC license for the projects will protect all river uses for the next 50 years. A huge win overall for the river and the community!

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American Whitewater Spring Stewardship Update 2021

06/10/2021 - by Evan Stafford

American Whitewater’s Spring Stewardship Update for 2021is here! We are working hard to protect water quality in our nation's rivers, designate new Wild and Scenic Rivers, restore flows to rivers affected by hydropower dams, promote outdoor recreation for all on our public lands, and protect access to our favorite whitewater rivers – but we can't do it without your help. This stewardship work is possible only through your support, and your financial contribution plays a vital role in our success. Watch our regional stewardship update videos to get a more in depth view of the work you'll be supporting throughout the rest of the year. 

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Tonic of Wild – Pacific Northwest Stewardship Event Wrap-Up

06/09/2021 - by Evan Stafford

On May 26th, 2021, we had an opportunity to gather the Pacific Northwest boating community online to celebrate American Whitewater’s river stewardship work in the region and build support for AW. Memberships and community support are essential to our organization and over the past year we’ve really had to get creative with ways to continue to engage paddlers in support of our mission. We’ve seen an incredible response and the Tonic of Wild event was a huge success. Thanks to all our sponsors, presenters and viewers! We signed up a ton of new members and raised a significant amount of funds towards our river stewardship program – a true testament to the community and big night for AW. If you weren't able to attend you can watch a recap of the night here. 

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New Mexico Access Update

06/08/2021 - by Hattie Johnson

In March of 2020, we updated our membership on a case our affiliate club, Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico, brought to the New Mexico Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the State Game Commission’s power to grant private landowners non-navigable certificates. At every level, the privatizing of streams and rivers in New Mexico has skirted due process, benefitted rich and largely out-of-state landowners, and is illegal.

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Moose/Beaver/Raquette (NY) 2021 Release Schedule

06/01/2021 - by Robert Nasdor

The General has coordiated with the hydropower dam operators to schedule the 2021 releases for the Moose, Beaver and Raquette. Looks to be a great year of paddling in the Adirondacks as we begin the dam relicensings this year for 21 dams on the Black, Beaver, and Moose rivers. 

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Mokelumne (CA) 2021 Scheduled Recreational Releases

05/27/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, in accordance with the negotiated 2001 License Order and Settlement Agreement for the Mokelumne River Hydropower Project, American Whitewater coordinates recreational releases with Pacific Gas & Electric, the Ecological Resource Committee including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. These annual releases are determined by the water year type which is predicated on the forecasted inflow into the downstream Pardee Reservoir. This year’s water year type is Critically Dry which allows for recreational flows on Tiger Creek and Electra in May & June.

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Fordyce Creek (CA) Spring Boating Opportunity

05/27/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Pacific Gas and Electric reached out to American Whitewater with an opportunity for boating flows on Fordyce Creek. We took the chance to respond to PG&E and communicate preferred paddling flows.

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Tonic of Wild – Online Event to Highlight Pacific Northwest Stewardship Issues

05/26/2021 - by Evan Stafford

On May 26th, American Whitewater will be hosting a special night of speakers, film showings, games, prize drawings and more to raise awareness for river stewardship issues in the Pacific Northwest. A Tonic of Wild will take place at 7pm Pacific Time and will feature a special presentation on the Wild Olympics legislation from professional kayaker and photographer Chris Korbulic. You do not want to miss this. As a fundraiser for this event we're running an online auction with framed prints from the Olympic Peninsula from Chris Korbulic, framed prints of an awesome map of the Peninsula and tons of other great items from Kokatat, Hala Gear, Werner Paddles, AIRE, Immersion Research, Sierra Nevada, and American Whitewater shwag and pin kits too, so get your bids in now and bid often and early! You will also be entered to win some other great gear just by attending the event and you can join or renew your membership and type 'Tonic of Wild' in the Additional Comments field to be entered to win a Pyranha Ozone kayak size of choice in our membership drawing! Sign up for the event here and support river stewardship! 

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Paddle Wise – A Responsibility Code For River Runners

05/18/2021 - by Evan Stafford

Paddle Wise is a responsibility code for river runners developed by American Whitewater through a buildout and design partnership with NRS. The mission was to create a simple and shareable responsibility message for the increasing number of individuals participating in whitewater recreation. When you’re on the river you represent our community and your safe enjoyment of the river is in your hands. These helpful hints will not only make sure you represent the whitewater community well and enjoy the river safely, they’ll help protect, restore and maintain access to our rivers for everyone. Check out www.paddlewise.org for more info and the full toolkit which you can use to help spread the stoke for paddling responsibly. 

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Senators Merkley and Wyden Push to Expand Smith River National Recreation Area

05/07/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Senators Merkley and Wyden introduced legislation this week to expand the Smith River National Recreation Area into Oregon. In 1990, Congress enacted legislation to establish the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) to protect the watershed, but the boundary of the NRA stopped at the Oregon border, leaving the North Fork of the Smith River and its tributaries unprotected. The whitewater community knows how special the North Fork of the Smith River is for its unparalleled water quality and exceptional opportunities for whitewater boating. The NRA expansion by 58,000 acres would permanently withdraw the land from new mining claims, helping to protect this sensitive area from proposed nickel strip mines, and protect 74 miles of scenic rivers, including Baldface Creek, Chrome Creek, and nearby streams. In addition, the legislation would task the U.S. Forest Service with updating the recreation plan to reflect the new additions to the National Recreation Area, and produce a special study of streams, fens, wetlands, and potentially unstable and vulnerable aquatic habitat areas.

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Annual Rec Flows Start this Spring Horseshoe Bend San Joaquin River (CA)

04/29/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Paddlers get your boating gear together for annual recreational flow releases on the Horseshoe Bend reach of the San Joaquin River. After nearly two decades of direct advocacy and engagement, American Whitewater is pleased to announce the fruits of our labor. In March 2021 Southern California Edison (SCE) announced they finally secured approval of Long Term Operating Rules for operation of the Big Creek 4 Hydroelectric Project on the San Joaquin River. These rules outline long awaited flow improvements that will begin this Spring. In a win for American Whitewater, managing agencies, and the North Fork Mono Tribe, SCE will now provide flow releases that restore more natural flow patterns that are both optimal for recreational paddling and protective of native aquatic species. 

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AW Volunteers of the Month Presented by Kokatat: Barry Grimes and Emily Grimes

04/26/2021 - by Bethany Overfield

American Whitewater is stoked to recognize Barry Grimes and Emily Grimes as our April Volunteers of the Month for their tremendous work with the National Paddling Film Festival (NPFF). NPFF has been going strong since 1984 but found itself in peril this year due to Covid restrictions and the inability to hold an in-person event. In an effort to keep the festival alive, Emily took over the reigns and launched the first-ever Virtual National Paddling Films Festival. Pulling off anything for the first time is hard as heck and Emily really stuck the landing!

Barry Grimes, Emily’s dad, was a founding father of the film festival and has worked tirelessly on pulling it off every year since its inception. Barry is humble about his efforts when it comes to the fest, but without him, the show would not go on. The folks with NPFF have donated a substantial amount of money over the years to AW and we know it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to pull these festivals off—we can’t thank the all-volunteer NPFF crew enough, but we’ll try!

 

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Get Notifications on Glenwood Canyon (CO) Closures

04/07/2021 - by Hattie Johnson

Photo: Rafters on the Colorado River shortly after the Grizzly Creek fire started. Credit - Whitewater Rafting LLC.


Last August, historic wildfires raged across Colorado, threatening homes, recreational sites, and transportation arteries. The Grizzly Creek Fire quickly spread throughout Glenwood Canyon, jumping both I-70 and the Colorado River in the first few days. The active fire closed down traffic on the interstate for an unprecedented two weeks, blocking important freight, residents and tourists. Many Glenwood Springs businesses were impacted by the road and recreation area closures. Damage to both water and power supplies at the rest areas have caused the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to keep them closed since August. Pending the delivery of a few generators and portapotties, however, the Grizzly Creek Rest Area and Shoshone Powerhouse exit will be open April 1 to boaters.

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Comments Needed on River Protection in the Arctic

04/06/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

A new proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) management plan for 55.7 million acres in Northern Alaska would fail to protect any of the 11 rivers their analysis finds to be eligible for Wild and Scenic designation. If you have paddled any of the affected rivers in this area we strongly encourage you to review the planning documents and submit comments in support of protection of Wild and Scenic River values in the Central Yukon Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Deadline is June 9, 2021.

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Moose, Beaver (NY) Dam Relicensings Set to Begin

04/06/2021 - by Bob Nasdor

Federal relicensing of 21 hydropower dams in the Adirondacks begins this month on the Moose, Beaver, and Black rivers, home to iconic whitewater boating runs treasured by paddlers throughout the northeast. For the next six years, AW will be at fighting to protect and expand paddling opportunities on these rivers. To support our efforts to restore rivers and our opportunities to enjoy them, AW launched the Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign. To get involved, SIGN UP HERE.

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American Whitewater awarded eleventh Charity Navigator 4-star rating

04/06/2021 - by Mark Singleton

Charity Navigator, America's largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, announced that American Whitewater has earned its eleventh consecutive 4-star (highest) rating. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that American Whitewater adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. 

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Opportunity to Speak up for Water Quality on the Pigeon River (NC/TN)

04/05/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

Blue Ridge Paper operates a paper mill on the banks of the Pigeon River in Canton, NC, that for generations has provided valued local jobs but also had negative impacts on the water quality of the river. Over the past few decades water quality has improved significantly, fishing has improved, and paddling use has skyrocketed. With this said, the river's water quality has a lot of room for improvement while supporting the mill's continued operation, and new permit requirements are a good way to get that work underway. The State however has proposed a new permit that relaxes certain requirements of the old permit, and fails to address new challenges. The state will host a public hearing on April 14, and accept comments through April 30. Paddlers are encouraged to get involved and learn more.

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NF Feather Cresta April 2021 Releases (CA)

04/02/2021 - by Theresa Simsiman

Throughout the pandemic American Whitewater, managing agencies and Pacific Gas & Electric have been following a collaborative COVID protocol for scheduled recreational releases taking the lead from the local counties.  We are happy to report Plumas County supports moving forward with planned boating flows for the NF Feather below Cresta provided paddlers continue to follow COVID guidelines.  

 


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