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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AW response to a survey aimed at informing the dam owner's development of the pre-application document for the Hawks Nest Project.
AW Requests Study of New River Dries (WV)
November 19, 2012
New River Flow Study Delayed 1 Week (WV)
August 13, 2013
New River Dries Flow Study - Participate Online
March 25, 2014
Dam Owner Offers No Releases on New River Dries
August 4, 2015
Agencies Consider New River Dries & AW Proposal (WV)
January 4, 2017