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Moose/Beaver/Raquette (NY) 2021 Release Schedule

04/09/2021 - 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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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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Black Canyon Put-In Closed for 2021 Season (CO)

04/06/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

The National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that the East Portal Road which serves as the put-in for the Black Canyon section of the Gunnison River will be closed for maintenance for the duration of the 2021 season. While the road closure is an unfortunate obstacle for many this season, the needed maintenance of the road will lead to fewer unexpected road closures due to rockfall and will improve access to the Black Canyon for the long term. American Whitewater will track the status of the road closure and we will share an update as soon as access to the Black Canyon is reopened.  

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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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New AW Membership and Donation Forms; Membership Cards go Digital

03/30/2021 - by Bethany Overfield

We're pleased to announce that we have a new Membership Join/Renew form as well as a new Donation form . We also have a brand new Affiliate Club Membership Join/Renewal Form.  We've spent the last several months switching to a more robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to better meet the needs of our membership base and to funnel your information into our membership database more efficiently. Additionally, we've gone green with new Digital AW Membership cards!

Some highlights/changes include......(click 'Read More' below)

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Train Operations in Eagle and Arkansas Corridors to Require Full Review (CO)

03/25/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

This morning, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) made a much-anticipated decision on the revival of the Tennessee Pass Rail Line - a 160-mile rail line that follows the Eagle and Arkansas Rivers between Sage and Parkdale, Colorado. The STB formally rejected Colorado, Midland and Pacific Railway’s (CMPR) request to be exempt from oversight and regulation of their proposed operation on the line, which would be leased under an agreement with Union Pacific. This decision comes nearly three months after CMPR filed a notice of exemption on December 31, 2020, as people were bringing in the new year. 

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Upper American River Project (CA) Scheduled Recreational Flow Days Confirmed

03/25/2021 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater has confirmed scheduled recreational flow days with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the managing agencies. Each year we have license required consultations with SMUD starting in February of each year to collaboratively schedule tentative dates and proactively address management issues such as COVID 19. 2021 is forecasted to be a DRY water year type which means a mixed bag of news for flow days on the Upper American River Project.

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Whitewater Flows Secured in New Weber River Dam License! (UT)

03/24/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

A new 40-year license for a dam on Utah's Weber River includes four Saturday paddling releases each year prior to July 15, as well as flow information, accesss, and fish passage enhancements. This outcome is the result of American Whitewater staff and volunteers collaborating with the power company and other stakeholders over the past several years. The releases will provide relatively rare paddling opportunities near Ogden, Utah, in a region where dams and diversions have limited or eliminated many paddling opportunities. The new license requires a recreation plan be developed and other measures that will delay the initiation of releases until 2022. Big thanks to all our partners on the Weber, our lead volunteer Charlie Vincent, and the numerous volunteers who helped us collect data and solve legal and other challenges over the years! See you on the Weber next year! 

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The Nolichucky Needs You Again (NC/TN)

03/12/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The Nolichucky area has several new Senators and Representatives that have never heard from the public about designating the Nolichucky as a Wild and Scenic River. They need to hear from you to learn about the river and your feelings on designation. At the same time, the new Congress is setting state and national level priorities and the Nolichucky does not yet have a bill to designate it as a Wild and Scenic River. The next two years mark an incredible opportunity to designate the Noli as the region’s next Wild and Scenic River, but first a designation bill needs to be introduced, and soon. Personal letters and calls are key to getting a bill introduced. 

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North Fork Skykomish Road Repairs to Start (WA)

03/11/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe

After years of engineering and environmental analysis, and some legal challenges at the end, reconstruction of the Index-Galena road is about to get underway this spring. This road provides the primary access to the North Fork Skykomish, which was one of the most popular class IV runs in the Skykomish River drainage prior to major flooding in 2006.

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Spring Tallulah Releases Cancelled, More Releases Sought (GA)

03/02/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

Tallulah Gorge State Park has cancelled whitewater paddling opportunities this spring on the Tallulah River due to Covid-19 concerns. In response, American Whitewater and several partners are asking Georgia State Parks for two actions. First, we are asking that the closure be lifted so that paddling can be allowed this fall, if not this spring, with some standard Covid protocols in place. Second, with several partner organizations we are proposing that a long overdue shift be made in how aesthetic flows are released by the dam owner to provide for significantly more paddling opportunities each year, starting this fall.  

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Over 1,000 Miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers is Back in Congress

02/24/2021 - by Evan Stafford

Late last year you may remember our push to pass over a thousand miles of Wild and Scenic designations and millions of acres of protections for some of the most storied whitewater landscapes in the West, including the Grand Canyon (AZ), the Dolores (CO), the Olympic Peninsula (WA), and several whitewater rich watersheds in California (Trinity Alps, Central Coast, San Gabriels) under the banner of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act (PAWA) and by attaching it to the end of year must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. Ultimately that play was unsuccessful, however now this legislation is back under the Protecting America’s Wilderness And Public Lands Act (PAW+) and it’s headed to the House floor for a vote this Wednesday February 24th. Your Congress person needs to hear that these river protections are important to you and as usual we make it super simple with our easy-action form. The details of the river protections included in this bill can be found in this prior article we wrote when this package was first introduced in Congress. 

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New Virginia River Access Fee Program Delayed Until 2022

02/11/2021 - by Kevin Colburn

The media is reporting that the new fee program affecting river access areas owned and managed by Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources river access areas has been delayed one year, from starting in July of 2021, to instead starting in July of 2022. The delay is to allow for additional input and reconsideration of how the program should be implemented, apparently specifically to reduce impacts on outfitters. A committee will review the new law and make recommendations on possible improvements. American Whitewater encourages Virginia paddlers to get involved through their state legislators, through club participation in the committee, and through any public comment opportunity.

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Help Protect Colorado’s Western Slope Rivers this Valentine’s Day

02/09/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater is asking the paddling community to step up this Valentine’s Day to help protect rivers like the Taylor, Oh-Be-Joyful, and San Miguel rivers in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) in Colorado. This Valentine’s Day and for the whole month of February we are collecting LOVE LETTERS from you to your favorite river in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre National Forests. We want to hear directly from you about why you love these rivers and why they are worth protecting. We have made this easy-to-use form to submit your letter to us! 

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Restoring Public Input and Strong Environmental Reviews to Federal Projects

02/09/2021 - by Evan Stafford

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the essential law outlining environmental review for public lands and rivers projects. Recent changes to rules governing implementation of the law significantly undermined the Act’s efficacy. The previous administration released new Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) rules which shortened the time frame for completing environmental studies, limited the types of projects subject to review, and no longer required federal agencies to account for a project’s cumulative effects on the environment, such as climate change. The rules, exempting a significant amount of projects from environmental review not only led to worse ecological outcomes, but severely restricted public input on Federal management decision-making. NEPA environmental reviews are the main opportunity for the public to find out about and comment on federal projects, even if their concerns are more shaped by recreation issues, such as maintaining access. The new administration through the January 20th “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” has ordered a review of these changes to the CEQ NEPA regulations. This executive action has the power to restore public input in federal land management decisions and establish NEPA environmental reviews for projects where they should be required. Revising these rule changes is a priority for American Whitewater. 

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Representative Simpson Proposes a Bold New Vision for the Snake River (WA/OR/ID)

02/07/2021 - by Thomas O'Keefe

After three years of careful study and conversations, Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID-2) has released an Energy and Salmon Concept that includes a proposal to breach the four Lower Snake River Dams while making significant regional investments in salmon conservation, recreation, transportation, agriculture, and energy. American Whitewater supports the efforts of Representative Simpson to launch this converastion; we welcome the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on a proposal that would have a signficant impact on our work throughout the Columbia River basin for years to come. 


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