The Lehigh River is a pretty dam-controlled river in eastern Pennsylvania. It offers paddlers several sections of good class III rapids in a forested river corridor. It also is the first (or only) taste of whitewater that many people in the Philadelphia area get to experience. The river is very important to the regional paddling and angling communities, to the outfitters and communities that benefit from recreation, and to the thousands of rafting participants that get to enjoy the river.
On Feb. 8, 2005, The Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Delaware River Basin Commission announced that they would begin the process of exploring potential recreational enhancements along the Lehigh River. The announcement came as the result of several years of advocacy by AW, the Lehigh Valley Canoe Club, and other groups. The process was designed to allow the ACOE to propose changes to the management of the Lehigh River and recieve public feedback on those proposals.
AW and LVCC had been advocating for better management of the Lehigh since at least 2001. Initially we were told that a low road across the dam limited their operational flexibility, but we then worked with political representatives to secure funding for a better road across the top of the dam. In 2003 ground was broken on the project and shortly thereafter the ACOE began considering new dam operations. In 2005 they tried a new flow regime in the river which provided additional benefits to river recreationists, and in 2006 they improved upon the 2005 plan. It is quite possible that 2006 marked the best year of boating on the Lehigh since the dam was built. Since then, the Corps has done a great job of addressing recreational needs for whitewater boating and the collaborative approach to management is a model for other Corps-managed facilities.
We commend the Army Corps of Engineers for their willingness to tackle this issue. They held open public meetings and solicited public comments on their ideas and actions. The level of collaboration was truly exceptional and the results are hard to deny. It is certain that the economic benefits of the new management will be felt in rural areas around the Lehigh, and that more people from surrounding urban areas will get out and experience nature first-hand.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District announced it will begin drawing
down the pool of the Francis E. Walter Dam to its winter level starting Oct. 17. The draw down
follows the completion of the recreation season, which included
all 24 planned whitewater release events and numerous fisheries enhancement
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners rescheduled a meeting originally planned for 2/1/11, to 2/16/11. The Army Corps will announce the Francis E. Walter Dam Flow Management Plan and discuss its implementation for the 2011 recreation season.
The U.S. Army Corps Engineers Philadelphia District has updated the Francis E. Walter Dam water release schedule for the remainder of the 2010 recreation season. The current level of water storage will not allow the Corps to complete whitewater releases after Aug. 29; however if additional storage is accumulated, the Corps will add releases.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners will host a public meeting to announce the Francis E. Walter Dam Flow Management Plan and discuss its implementation for the 2010 recreation season. The meeting will be held Feb. 18 at the Mountain Laurel Resort, Route 940 West, White Haven, Pa., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The contacts below include staff and volunteers working on this project. Make sure you are logged in if you wish to join the group.
Want More Lehigh Releases?
March 11, 2002
Army Corps to complete planned Lehigh releases in 2009
September 8, 2009
Lehigh Meeting January 21st (PA)
January 12, 2009
Support Needed for Lehigh Releases (Updated)
March 1, 2005
Lehigh River Management Announced (PA)
February 21, 2006
Road Improvements May Make Lehigh River Flow Improvements Possible
November 25, 2003
2009 Lehigh Release Schedule Announced
February 9, 2009
February Lehigh Meeting Rescheduled
January 21, 2011
Lehigh Management Plan to be Released at Meeting
February 14, 2010
Successful Season on the Lehigh
October 12, 2011
Lehigh River Releases Up For Debate
February 9, 2005
Corps Announces Lehigh Water Shortage (PA)
August 20, 2010