Final Slate River Floating Management Plan Released (CO)
Crested Butte, CO - Increased user conflict on the Slate River has led to a Floating Management Plan that proposes a "voluntary no-float period" between March 15 and July 15 this season. Since our last news post in November, the Slate River Floating Management Plan has been updated and revised for the 2019 season. An open house will be held at The Depot in Crested Butte on Thursday, May 16 and it is critical that paddlers from the local community attend and engage in the conversation. (Photo courtesy of the Crested Butte Land Trust).
Effort to Protect the Rogue Continues (OR)
At the end of last Congress, the House and Senate negotiated a public lands package that ultimately resulted in 256 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers for Oregon when the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law on March 12th, 2019. While rivers like the Molalla and several tributaries of the Rogue were designated Wild and Scenic, the lands surrounding the immediate river corridor were left unprotected. With a commitment to finish the job, and building on the successful effort to move these initiatives out of committee with bipartisan support last Congress, Senator Wyden was joined by Senator Merkley in introducing the Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act (S. 1262) on May 1st, 2019. The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 14th, 2019.
Positive Outlook for Lower Dolores Flows This Spring!
The Dolores Water Conservation District recently put out their updated spill prediction based on the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center's May 1st inflow forecast. In addition to a positive forecast indicating a likely 3-4 week spill of boatable flows beginning before Memorial Day, low and middle elevation snowpack has raised McPhee water levels at approximately a foot per day. This lower elevation snow and May storm cycle have also helped in keeping fields wet and pushing back the start of irrigation season. One more benefit of the healthy low elevation snowpack was the flows downstream of McPhee reached boatable levels for over a week. Many regional boaters were out enjoying these natural flows and levels even reached 2,000 cfs for a period!
Animas River Days Coming Up June 1!
Durango, CO - June is fast approaching and Animas River Days is not to be missed. On June 1, the Animas River in Durango, CO will be filled with kayakers, rafters, SUP boarders, and spectators celebrating healthy and safe rivers. Be sure to put this event on your calendar for fun and whitewater this summer! Check out the Event Schedule and don't forget to pre-register if you are planning on competing in any of the many events. Pre-registration ends on May 29th at midnight and athletes who pre-register get a FREE 6-pack from Ska Brewing and a $5 discount. Don't miss the Parade Viewing Party at Santa Rita Park that starts at 6pm after the events. We'll see you there! Come check out American Whitewater's booth at Animas River Days and learn about our projects in the area.
AW Journal - The May/June Issue Online Now!
The May/June issue of the AW Journal is available in our online "Library". This issue includes 'A Grand Revisitation to Powell's Wild West' along with much more. Read the issue online now or download your copy.
Land and Water Conservation Fund Secures Access to Upper Colorado River
A bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was introduced last month by Colorado Senator Cory Gardener and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and cosponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennett. If passed the bill would provide $900M annually for projects protecting natural, cultural and historic resources. Existing funding from the LWCF recently enabled the transfer of two important river access points on the Upper Colorado River. The State Bridge and Two Bridges parcels were owned by Eagle County and had been improved - boat ramps, parking, restroom/changing facilities - by the Eagle County Open Space program with coordination and management support from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This land transfer will protect public access at these locations in perpetuity.
Step Into Adventure, Give Something For Rivers With Discount KEEN SHoes
KEEN has been a longtime supporter of our river stewardship work and if you need a new pair of KEENs now is the time to get them - use the code AMERICANWHITEWATER in the KEEN online store to receive $10 off and KEEN will kick $10 our way to continue our stewardship work for rivers. It's a win win and your feet will thank you!
Spring Stewardship Update 2019!
The Spring Stewardship Update for 2019 is here! This spring American Whitewater is working 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 on our public lands, and protect access to our favorite whitewater rivers - we're getting it done in 2019, 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.
Dolores River (CO) 2019 Spill Forecast Update
Dolores Water Conservation District put out their most recent predictions on April 23rd. More can be found on their website. We are expecting an updated forecast on May 6th and will be meeting with them on May 9th to begin discussions on how the recreational boating releases can align with other ecological goals. American Whitewater has developed a wide range of guidelines on how a spill can meet both recreation goals and goals to improve aquatic species and riparian health.
Play Hard & Leave Only Paddle Strokes
The rivers are rising and warming up, and if you are like us your calendar is filling up with river trips scattered around your region and beyond. One of the many cool things about paddling is how we can traverse natural landscapes without even leaving a footprint. While our paddle strokes disappear when their tiny whirlpools collapse, it’s still a good time of year to reflect on how we can be the best possible visitors to the special places we visit. Here are some tips and resources.
MAY VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH PRESENTED BY KOKATAT
For the month of May we celebrate a volunteer who exemplifies a solid stewardship ethic by leaving rivers in better shape than he found them. One of the first to step up to help with a river access project or river cleanup, Jerry Griffin is our May Volunteer of The Month.
Limited Edition AW Keep Rivers Flowing Tees and Hoodies!
Colorado Policy Strategist Job Opening
American Whitewater is hiring a Policy Strategist for the Colorado Stewardship Program. The Colorado Policy Strategist role is a grant term limited position. The location of the position may vary within the state of Colorado, but in-person meetings along the front range are expected to be frequent. Work would be primarily done from a home office. The policy strategist reports to American Whitewater’s Southern Rockies Stewardship Director, and benefits from significant support and collaboration with AW staff, board members, and active regional volunteers.
Dolores River (CO) 2019 Spill Meeting
The Bureau of Reclamation is hosting this public meeting to discuss the potential managed release for 2019. They will review their operations from 2018 and lay out a prediction of their plan for this year. Come hear about what a release may look like this year and how the BOR does their forecasting.
Protect Our Rivers Water Quality! Comments Needed on New Clean Water Act Rule
For over 40 years, the Clean Water Act has ensured that Americans have clean water to drink and that our rivers are safe for outdoor recreation. Americans recreate in the water – swimming, paddling, surfing, boating, fishing – 4 BILLION times each year. Right now there's an attempt by the EPA to significantly weaken the Clean Water Act and we need your voice to help protect the water quality in our nation's rivers!
Paddling Restrictions Eased in Potomac River Dispute
The US Coast Guard has pulled back their 2017 decision to close a popular section of the Potomac River whenever high ranking political officials are using the adjacent Trump National Golf Course. The decision to replace the 2017 rule came in response to over 630 public comments, significant media, and a lawsuit filed by the AW affiliate club Canoe Cruisers Association.
SMUD BREAKS UARP SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ON SOUTH FORK AMERICAN RIVER - SLAB CREEK
American Whitewater needs your letters written to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Board Members and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help protect access to Class II-III whitewater and White Rock Powerhouse take-out for the Slab Creek section of the South Fork American River. In a recently filed Parking and Access Plan, SMUD breaks a condition of the 2007 Upper American River Project Relicensing Settlement Agreement that requires a take-out in the immediate vicinity of White Rock Powerhouse for Slab Creek. Instead, SMUD’s Parking & Access Plan moves take-out upstream to Rock Creek Powerhouse eliminating anticipated access to Class II-III whitewater and the boater friendly take-out at White Rock.
Photo by Trevor Croft - Rafting Magazine
AW VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH PRESENTED BY KOKATAT: DANE WHITE!
American Whitewater is proud to recognize Dane White of Jacksonville, AL as our Volunteer of the Month for April.
More Help Needed for Ward's Ferry Take-Out W&S Tuolumne River (CA)
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
AW Scholarship Announced for Creative Advocacy Program
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.