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New River Dries (WV)

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The 5.3 mile reach of the New River that the Hawks Nest Project diverts water around is known by paddlers around the world as the “Dries of the New.” Conventional knowledge is that the Hawks Nest Project diverts up to approximately 10,000cfs around this section of river, leaving it too low to offer paddling opportunities except when river flows exceed the diversion capacity by at least 3,000 cfs.

This section of river offers paddling opportunities of sufficient quality to attract international visitation. At moderate flows the run offers a high quality whitewater descent comparable to the popular New River Gorge, and at higher flows massive waves are produced that attract paddlers from around the globe. In addition to freestyle paddling, this reach has significant potential for commercial rafting, instruction, guided kayaking, and general non-commercial paddling use.

A multi-year federal relicensing process began in 2012, that will result in a new federal license for the Hawks Nest Project. American Whitewater will be actively pursuing restoration of flows in the New River Dries through this relicensing process.

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Decision Reached on Restoration of the New River Dries! (WV)

01/05/2018 - by Kevin Colburn

River enthusiasts will soon have new paddling opportunities on West Virginia's New River. Federal regulators issued a new 47-year license for the dam that dewaters the spectacular 5.5-mile New River Dries in the final days of 2017. The license requires significant new recreational and environmental enhancements in a river reach that has suffered from water withdrawals for well over half a century. American Whitewater played an active and leading role in securing these outcomes.

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AW Secures Improved State Permit for New River Dries, Now Up to Feds (WV)

08/18/2017 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater reached an important milestone this week in our efforts to restore flows and public access to the New River Dries. Earlier this summer American Whitewater appealed a State decision to provide only 3-4 paddling releases annually, and vehicular access that required a 1.2-mile hike to the put in at the dam. On Tuesday the State issued an improved decision following over a month of negotiations, and in exchange American Whitewater withdrew our appeal. The New River Dries is a big, beautiful, ancient river with vast recreational potential, and its fate is now in the hands of federal regulators at FERC.

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Agencies Consider New River Dries & AW Proposal (WV)

01/04/2017 - by Kevin Colburn

Federal decision makers are accepting comments on their plans for the New River Dries until January 8th. American Whitewater has proposed a schedule of 41 annual releases that will be great for the river, paddlers, and other stakeholders. Individuals are encouraged to comment, as are clubs and businesses. 

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Help Restore the New River Dries Today (WV)

10/22/2015 - by Kevin Colburn

If you would like to see flows restored to the New River Dries, now is a very important time for you to let federal regulators (FERC) know your thoughts.  The power company has proposed zero releases, and no vehicular access to the top of the run in their Draft License Application.  American Whitewater is asking for releases and access, but it is important for individual paddlers to make their voices heard too.  Send your comments in no later than 10/31/15. 

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Dam Owner Offers No Releases on New River Dries

08/04/2015 - by Kevin Colburn

Yesterday, the power company that de-waters the New River Dries with the Hawks Nest Dam proposed zero dam releases to mitigate their impacts on whitewater recreation and naturally variable flow patterns.  American Whitewater will be offering a balanced response to this extreme proposal that outlines the value and potential for restoring significant recreational and ecological values to the New River.  

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New River Dries Flow Study Dates Set (WV) (Update 5/5)

04/22/2014 - by Kevin Colburn

Dates for the New River Dries Paddling Flow Study have been confirmed for May 6 and 7, 2014.   Volunteer paddlers with suitable (Class IV) skills are encouraged to participate in the study, and to RSVP.

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New River Dries Flow Study - Participate Online

03/25/2014 - by Kevin Colburn

Paddlers that run the New River Dries (WV) between now and July 31, 2014 are encouraged to fill out a flow study survey after each day on the water.  Submitting surveys will add important data to the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Study and will greatly help American Whitewater and others negotiate improved flows for the New River Dries.    

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New River Flow Study Delayed 1 Week (WV)

08/13/2013 - by Kevin Colburn

The first of a series of flow study dates have been rescheduled for 28 and 29, 2013 due to excessive flows predicted this week.  The study aims to assess the recreational flow needs for whitewater paddling on the New River Dries in West Virginia.  This flow study was requested by American Whitewater and other stakeholders, as part of the relicensing of the Hawks Nest Hydroelectric Project.  Paddlers with suitable skills are encouraged to sign up to participate.

The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.

Title Name City


New River Dries Pre-PAD Survey Response (5/20/2012)

AW response to a survey aimed at informing the dam owner's development of the pre-application document for the Hawks Nest Project.

New River Dries (Hawks Nest) License (1/5/2018)

The 47-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Hawks Nest Hydroelectric Project, New River Dries, WV. Issued in December, 2017.

Associated Rivers


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Calendar by Date by Title

June 2023

New River Dries Release (WV)

Standard release, subject to rescheduling if inflows are not within a specified range. 2500-2200 cfs

New River Dries Release (WV)

Standard release, subject to rescheduling if inflows are not within a specified range. 2500-2200 cfs


New River Dries Release (WV) Gauley Bridge,WV runs 03/23/19 - 07/15/23, next 06/24/23
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