AW in the MidAtlantic

American Whitewater has a long history of working in the Mid-Atlantic. Our regional conservation and access program is directed towards securing recreational releases from dams and securing public access points to rivers, which would otherwise be lost due to development. Our work on securing releases on the Gauley and Yough (both Upper and Lower) have proven integral to developing regional rural economic strategies and building sustainable commercial markets for eco-tourism opportunities. We are lucky that West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland have fairly strong navigability and public access laws; however we are vigilant for any legislation that would reduce the public right to float. We are also increasingly concerned about the state of water quality in the Mid-Atlantic and the effect of surface mining and extractive mountain top mining removal in which unusable dross is simply pushed into sensitive headwaters streams and creeks.

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Comments Needed to Support Upper Yough Releases (MD)

Posted: 11/15/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The 12-year state permit that governs the releases from Deep Creek Lake into the Upper Youghiogheny is up for renewal, and decision-makers would benefit from hearing from paddlers. Three public meetings and significant discussions have led to broad agreement on some minor changes that are important to the paddling community, and other important issues remain unresolved. Your comment letters could help ensure the Upper Yough is managed in a responsible manner for years to come.

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Upper Yough Hearing To Focus On New Dam Permit

Posted: 10/04/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The 2011 state permit that requires and governs the dam releases on the Upper Yough is up for renewal. Unlike most hydropower dams, the Deep Creek Project is not regulated by a Federal license, however the state permit fills a similar role as a Federal license would. The permit renewal creates opportunities to modify the terms of the permit in ways that could benefit or impact whitewater paddling, river ecology, and other values. A hearing is scheduled for October 15th, 2019 at Garrett College that will focus on potential changes in the new permit.

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AW Launches Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign

Posted: 08/26/2019
by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater is launching the Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign to restore and improve river flows for aquatic ecosystems and to improve recreation opportunities across the region. Over the next 10 years, more than 50 hydroelectric dams in New York are scheduled to get new 30 to 50-year federal licenses, creating a once in a generation opportunity to improve river conditions. In the Black River Basin alone, there are more than 20 hydropower dams on the Black, Beaver, and Moose rivers that will begin the relicensing process in the next year, and American Whitewater will need to participate with other partners in order to mitigate project impacts and achieve river restoration goals. Through these efforts, we will restore flows to dewatered river reaches, improve existing flows, enhance public access, and benefit communities throughout the region.

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Russell Fork Release Study Open For Comment (VA/KY)

Posted: 08/22/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The Army Corps of Engineers has shared their Environmental Assessment that considered four potential changes to the fall whitewater release program aimed at enhancing whitewater paddling opportunities. The Corps is planning on providing two additional Friday releases this fall as a result of the analysis. The EA is refreshingly succinct, and we encourage paddlers to give it a read and submit a comment if you are inspired to do so. 

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Harpers Ferry Access Study Reveals Need for New Approaches (MD/WV)

Posted: 08/21/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The final Weverton Rail Crossing Feasibility Study was released this week, which considered two options for improving the crossing of CSX railroad tracks to provide safer public access to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and for use of the Appalachian Trail. The Report reveals insurmountable problems with the two proposed access solutions, but also highlights other possible paths forward. 

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Russell Fork Releases Expanded (KY/VA)

Posted: 08/05/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The fall release schedule for the Russell Fork River was recently announced, and it includes two new Friday releases that will offer 3-day weekends of releases. While announced without explanation, the added released are presumably a result of a public process convened by the Army Corp of Engineers last spring to explore the possibility of an expanded release schedule. American Whitewater and many regional paddlers advocated for additional recreational releases throughout the public process. We conducted and shared a survey that indicated significant support for Friday releases. The new releases are listed as "tentative and subject to change," and hopefully if they go well additional releases will be scheduled in future years. Enjoy these new paddling opportunities!

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AW Wins Court Battle Protecting Green River (VT) Boating

Posted: 09/21/2018
by Robert Nasdor

The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.

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Northeast Boaters Seek To Expand West River (VT) Boating

Posted: 12/06/2015
by Robert Nasdor

In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.

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Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

Posted: 06/02/2015
by Robert Nasdor

A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy. 


Upcoming Events

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Calendar by Date by Title

November 2019

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Tohickon Creek
09:00 am -5:00 pm est

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Events
Lehigh River Release White Haven,PA runs 05/10/08 - 08/18/19
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Tohickon Creek Point Pleasant,PA runs 05/20/06 - 11/03/19
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Gauley Releases Summersville,WV runs 09/09/05 - 10/20/19
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Potomac, North Branch Release Luke,MD runs 08/26/06 - 05/20/18
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Upper Yough Release Friendsville,MD runs 04/15/05 - 10/13/17
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Savage River Release Savage River Dam,MD runs 09/09/07 - 09/28/19
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American Whitewater Gauley Fest Summersville,WV runs 09/15/12 - 09/22/19
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Great Falls Race Great Falls,MD runs 07/04/15 - 07/04/15
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North Branch Potomac Luke,MD runs 04/15/17 - 05/26/19
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New River Dries Release (WV) Gauley Bridge,WV runs 03/23/19 - 07/20/19
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Stonycreek Releases 2019 Johnstown,PA runs 04/20/19 - 10/20/19
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Stonycreek Rendezvous Johnstown,PA runs 05/17/19 - 05/19/19
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  (iCal)  

Related Groups

Sultan Relicensing - Upper Yough Access (MD)

Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.

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Sultan Relicensing - Upper Yough Releases (MD)

Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.

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Associated Projects

Clean Water Act
American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.
Gauley River (WV)
For many years AW has worked on the protection of this river and advocated for public access.
Lehigh River (PA)
AW has worked with local paddling clubs to improve the recreational value of dam releases on the Lehigh
Upper Yough Access (MD)
AW collaboratively manages the put in for the Upper Youghiogheny River in Western Maryland.
Upper Yough Releases (MD)
American Whitewater worked closely with local paddlers and other stakeholders to negotiate an improved flow regime on the Upper Yough.
Virginia Access
Virginia has some superb rivers and river access laws among the worst in the Nation. American Whitewater is working to assure the basic right to float down a stream in Virginia.