The Clackamas River is well known as one of the classic whitewater runs of the Pacific Northwest with plenty of great class III intermediate whitewater and tributaries with challenging class V. American Whitewater was a stakeholder in the relicensing of Portland General Electric's (PGE) hydropower project on this river where we worked with the local paddling community to advocate for river and fisheries restoration, improved public access to the river, enhanced and expanded gauge information, and a study of a playboating feature to mitigate for lost opportunities and impacts of the project.
Specific Conditions in the Settlement Agreement which were formally approved with the issuance of new hydropower license in December 2010 include the following:
- Improve warnings to boaters regarding the emergency release valve at Oak Grove Powerhouse.
- During the days of the Bob’s Hole Rodeo kayaking event (up to three days), PGE will optimize generation timing slightly during the daylight hours when flows are available and able to benefit the event, for the life of the license.
- Real time river gaging will be improved at Bob's Hole by funding the station at Carter Bridge (RM 40.8) to provide the same flow and stage information as the other two USGS gages upriver.
- Gage 14209500 just below Oak Grove Powerhouse is currently on a phone line, but can be converted to the satellite system that transmits data once an hour like Gage 14209000. PGE will fund this upgrade and this gage’s annual maintenance.
- Provide annual contributions to local whitewater events held on the Clackamas River between Timothy Lake and River Mill Dam. This will include providing access to Promontory Park, other in-kind support as appropriate and direct financial support of $4,000 annually.
- Provide three improved river access sites (each with shoreline access, staging and parking areas), three year-round toilets and one seasonal toilet at sites along the Clackamas River to benefit private as well as commercial boaters. Possible sites include Indian Henry (Sandstone), Whitewater Bridge, Milepost (MP) 35, MP 37, MP 41, and Bob’s Hole.
- PGE will allow boaters equal access to Project lands permitted to other recreationists, such as anglers.
- Within five years of license issuance, PGE will contract with a specialist in playboating feature construction and other appropriate experts to determine the feasibility of a playboating feature at Faraday Diversion reach, McIver State Park, or other suitable site. Pending Fish Agency approval, PGE will provide contributions to construction and maintenance of the feature.
- PGE will work with the boating community to convey information about major planned maintenance events that could affect river flows.
- PGE will contribute to funding of Law Enforcement on USFS lands.
As a party to the settlement, American Whitewater has continued our involvement in this project by working with PGE on the implementation of these license measures.