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AW in the West

The West may be known for its wide open spaces, yet boaters also recognize that many of the continent's mightiest rivers have their headwaters in this region, including the Colorado River and Salmon. Given the strict water law in these states, it's a wonder that the public is left any water to recreate on and the fish any water habitat to breed. Yet, with our focus on conservation and access, we are trying to protect the environment, rivers, and water that the public adores in this majestic landscape.

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Local Coalition Celebrates Commission Ruling to Protect Colorado's Waters

09/09/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

During this year’s World Water Week, a coalition including community members, anglers, recreation groups, and conservation organizations are celebrating the finalization of the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission’s decision to designate over 520 miles on 25 streams across Southwest Colorado as Outstanding Waters. The coalition came together from across the state, dedicating three years to demonstrating that these streams have high water quality, exceptional recreational and ecological values, and that they warrant protection. The Commission’s designation of these waterways marks the adoption of the largest community proposal for Outstanding Waters in Colorado’s history.

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Unprecedented Win for Water Quality in Colorado!

06/24/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

On June 14, Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission voted 7-1 to protect 520 miles on 25 streams across Southwest Colorado, adopting the first proposal of its kind. American Whitewater and our partners have been hard at work over the past three years to prove that these high quality rivers and creeks deserve protection. Our proposal included beloved paddling segments like the headwaters of the Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, and many others that were acknowledged for their exceptional ecological and recreational attributes. Under the Clean Water Act, Outstanding Waters provide the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. The designation acknowledges the high water quality that currently exists and ensures it is protected at that level for the future.

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2022 Weber Releases Scheduled (UT)

05/27/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

Recreational flow releases have been scheduled on the Scrambled Eggs Section of the Weber River for June 4, June 18, July 2, and July 9 of this year, subject to change if unexpected conditions occur. These are the first releases of their kind on this reach, following years of negotiations and studies that led to the issuance of a new 40-year federal license for the hydropower project. Flows will unfortunately be lower volume than expected this year. American Whitewater advocated for these releases throughout the long and challenging dam relicensing process with the support of local volunteers. This article covers what you need to know to enjoy the releases. Enjoy the Weber! 

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Sign Petition to Protect Water Quality in Colorado’s Rivers!

05/18/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

Sign here to protect water quality in Colorado’s exceptional rivers and creeks! American Whitewater and our partners are working to protect water quality in 26 creeks and rivers in Colorado. The designation of Outstanding Waters provides the highest level of water quality protections in Colorado. In order to qualify for Outstanding Waters designation, rivers must have existing high water quality, have exceptional ecological or recreational significance, and constitute a need for additional protection. These rivers include the Upper Taylor River, Escalante Creek, Lime Creek, Wolf Creek, and Roubideau Creek. We are also looking for members of the paddling community to provide written or oral testimony to the Water Quality Control Commission at the June 13 and 14 hearing. Please email Kestrel directly at kestrel@americanwhitewater.org to sign up to give testimony. 

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Weber Releases Get Green Light For This Summer! (UT)

05/09/2022 - by Kevin Colburn

On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave the green light for recreational releases to begin on Utah’s Weber River this summer! The move came when the agency approved the Whitewater Boating Plan, which was a critical step prior to the flow restoration called for in the new license for the Weber Hydroelectric Project. American Whitewater recently requested that FERC expedite approval of the plan so the public could enjoy the Weber River this year and we are delighted that they did so! With the plan now accepted, American Whitewater will quickly work with the power company to analyze flow forecasts and schedule the four negotiated Saturday releases between late May and mid-July. American Whitewater has spent the past seven years negotiating these releases. We hope paddlers enjoy them this year and in the future!

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Making Policy Progress in Colorado

01/12/2022 - by Kestrel Kunz

The Colorado based stewardship team had the pleasure of working with a team of graduate students from the University of Colorado’s Masters of the Environment program in 2021. We set them up with the task of investigating the feasibility of a state run wild and scenic river protection program in Colorado. The team, Sarah Hamming, Sarah Heller, and Jack Sheehan, dove deep in literature to learn about the history and workings of the WSRA, other state programs and other mechanisms for protecting water in Colorado. Thanks to the far reaching stakeholder outreach of the students, the concepts have already been the topic of discussion in river conservation circles and will hopefully spark bold changes for the valuable waters of our headwaters state. 

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Comments Needed By Nov. 26 to Secure Protections for West Slope Rivers (CO)

11/09/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

In August, we announced the release of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison Draft Forest Plan. This plan will guide the management of over 3.2 million acres and thousands of river miles, including high-quality paddling streams like the Upper East and the Taylor rivers. The current plan is over 38 years old and is severely outdated. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to effect change on our public lands and we need the paddling community to ACT NOW by submitting comments to the Forest Service. Make sure that you personalize your comments by sharing a photo or a personal experience about a river(s) on the Forests. 

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Gila Wild and Scenic River Bill Reintroduced and Gaining Speed (NM) 

11/03/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

Today, Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján reintroduced the M.H. Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act. The Act, officially reintroduced on November 2, is poised to protect over 440 miles of free-flowing rivers and streams in the Gila and San Francisco watersheds in New Mexico. The success of this campaign wouldn’t be possible without the support of our local partners that have championed this effort and our dedicated members. Over the past couple years, thousands of paddlers and river lovers have voiced their support for protection of the Gila watershed by writing directly to our legislators, signing petitions, and sharing personal stories of the Gila. Your voices have been heard and securing permanent protection for the Gila and its tributaries is nearing the finish line. While the reintroduction of this bill comes as a great win, there is still lots of work to ensure that the legislation is passed through Congress. We will be working to get this across the finish line - for good. Please take a moment to thank the Senators for their hard work and dedicated to protect the Gila River! 

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It’s Finally Time to Protect Colorado’s West Slope Rivers!

08/16/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

Today, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Unit announced the much-anticipated release of the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft Plan materials were released on Friday, August 13, initiating a 90-day review period. The GMUG National Forest is home to gems like Oh-Be-Joyful Creek, the Taylor River, Norwood Canyon on the San Miguel, and numerous others. Many of these rivers are free-flowing and offer outstanding values, including paddling, breathtaking scenery, fish habitat, and profound history and culture. This point in the plan revision process is the most important time for the river community to engage and speak up to protect our beloved West Slope rivers in Colorado!

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Proposed Hydropower Dams on Little CO River Stopped (AZ)

08/03/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

This week, I returned from a 19-day Grand Canyon trip to learn that two proposed hydropower projects on the Little Colorado River had been formally abandoned. On July 26, Pumped Hydro Storage LLC officially surrendered their two preliminary permits for the Salt Trail Canyon and Little Colorado River Pumped Storage Projects. These two projects received preliminary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2019 and if completed, would have inundated 4.5 miles of the Little Colorado and created 4 dams up to 240 feet high. American Whitewater and our members were among hundreds of commenters that opposed these hydropower projects, including multiple native tribes whose sacred lands would have been irrevocably destroyed. 

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Water Quality Rollback Stopped, Issues Unresolved (CO)

06/18/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

At 5pm tonight, Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission voted not to rollback the antidegradation rule that has for decades helped to keep our rivers clean. However, they did uphold their ability to make arbitrary decisions on polluting Colorado’s waterways - like they did on the South Platte in 2020 - for the next ten years. The outcome followed a two-day hearing earlier this week, during which the antidegradation rule was discussed at length. While we still have a long road ahead, Coloradans were able to stop what would have been an atrocious rollback of protections for Colorado’s beloved streams. Thank you to those that stood up and took action to protect Colorado's water quality! 

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Take Action to Protect Water Quality in Colorado

04/28/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

Colorado’s waters are at stake. From our high mountain streams to the backyard of urban communities, water quality is threatened state-wide. The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission has proposed a change to the antidegradation rule that would allow for more pollution into higher quality waters without review or justification. The proposed rule would go against the very premise of the Clean Water Act, which the Commission is tasked with implementing and overseeing in Colorado. Help us protect the antidegradation policy by signing on to this petition to the Water Quality Control Commission. 

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Black Canyon Put-In Closed for 2021 Season (CO)

04/06/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

The National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that the East Portal Road which serves as the put-in for the Black Canyon section of the Gunnison River will be closed for maintenance for the duration of the 2021 season. While the road closure is an unfortunate obstacle for many this season, the needed maintenance of the road will lead to fewer unexpected road closures due to rockfall and will improve access to the Black Canyon for the long term. American Whitewater will track the status of the road closure and we will share an update as soon as access to the Black Canyon is reopened.  

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Train Operations in Eagle and Arkansas Corridors to Require Full Review (CO)

03/25/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

This morning, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) made a much-anticipated decision on the revival of the Tennessee Pass Rail Line - a 160-mile rail line that follows the Eagle and Arkansas Rivers between Sage and Parkdale, Colorado. The STB formally rejected Colorado, Midland and Pacific Railway’s (CMPR) request to be exempt from oversight and regulation of their proposed operation on the line, which would be leased under an agreement with Union Pacific. This decision comes nearly three months after CMPR filed a notice of exemption on December 31, 2020, as people were bringing in the new year. 

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Help Protect Colorado’s Western Slope Rivers this Valentine’s Day

02/09/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater is asking the paddling community to step up this Valentine’s Day to help protect rivers like the Taylor, Oh-Be-Joyful, and San Miguel rivers in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) in Colorado. This Valentine’s Day and for the whole month of February we are collecting LOVE LETTERS from you to your favorite river in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre National Forests. We want to hear directly from you about why you love these rivers and why they are worth protecting. We have made this easy-to-use form to submit your letter to us! 

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Urgent: Help Protect Browns Canyon and the Arkansas and Eagle River Valleys

01/21/2021 - by Hattie Johnson

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if up to 10 trains full of heavy crude oil and hazardous chemicals were rumbling by while paddling the Arkansas or Eagle Rivers. It would, without question, change the experience in negative ways, including opening up the opportunity for the major disturbances associated with any kind of derailment and spill of hazardous materials into the river.  We need your help today to protect these incredible places. This past New Year’s Eve, Colorado Midland and Pacific Railway filed a notice of exemption for lease and operations of the Tennessee Pass line that runs through the Eagle and Arkansas Valleys to Parkdale. You have two options to make your voice heard. We have created a sign on letter to be submitted along with American Whitewater’s’s technical comments. However, if you’ve got the time to go the extra mile, we’ve included detailed directions below to submit your own filing directly to the Surface Transportation Board. Please follow these directions carefully and copy hattie@americanwhitewater.org if you decide to file your own comments. Comments are due by January 22 - please take action today! 

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Little CO River Dams Receive Preliminary Permits, New Proposal Submitted (AZ)

06/21/2020 - by Kestrel Kunz

In October of 2019, we reported that Phoenix-based hydroelectric company, Pumped Hydro Storage, submitted applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for preliminary permits for two different hydroelectric projects in the Little Colorado River basin. At the end of May, both proposals received approval for their preliminary permits despite formal intervention from Native American tribes, American Whitewater, many of our members, and numerous environmental organizations. Thank you to those of you who provided your comments to FERC! These comments are on record and will help the continued fight against these dams. Next up, the same hydropower company has submitted another preliminary dam proposal on Big Canyon. American Whitewater is reviewing the Big Canyon application and is working on providing our supporters with guidance to submit your own comments.

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AW releases Saint Vrain and Lefthand Creek Recreational Flow Study - CO

12/14/2018 - by Nathan Fey

Longmont, Colorado - As part of a comprehensive Stream Management Plan for the St Vrain Creek Watershed, American Whitewater is collecting and compiling data on recreational uses, and identifying projects and strategies to improve stream health, recreation, and environmental conditions in the region. You can help with this extensive effort. Please participate in the Recreational Flow survey.

 

Support Colorado River Access on Colorado Gives Day!

11/29/2018 - by Kestrel Kunz

Colorado Gives Day is on December 4 this year and is fast approaching! Go here to schedule your online donation to support American Whitewater's Colorado River Access Program. All donations made to American Whitewater on Colorado Gives Day (December 4) will be put towards our River Access Program in Colorado. American Whitewater works to improve river access and public safety throughout the state by working with landowners and managers, paddlers, law enforcement, and lawmakers to understand Colorado's river access laws and the ongoing threats to public safety. Thank you for your support!

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Voluntary River Closure Proposed On the Slate River (CO)

11/02/2018 - by Kestrel Kunz

Crested Butte CO - Alleged disruption to a Heron Rookery and concerned private landowners have led to a "Voluntary Closure" of the Slate River from the Gunsight Bridge to the Town of Crested Butte between March 15 and June 21 for the 2019 season. The Slate River between Oh Be Joyful Campground and Skyland Bridge, a 10.5 mile stretch, provides an incredibly scenic and unique flatwater paddling experience in the Gunnison Valley. The Voluntary clsoure is a product of the Slate River Floating Management Plan, created by a Working Group convened by the Town of Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Land Trust. The Working Group was created in direct response to pressure from the local community including conservationists and private landowners adjacent to the river, who are concerned that a recent increase in boating activity is disturbing a Heron Rookery that straddles the Slate River. 


Associated News


Related Groups

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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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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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

Bear River Restoration (ID)

Hydropower relicensing on the Bear River offered an opportunity to restore aquatic resources and recreational opportunities on this river.

Boundary Creek (ID)

AW lead the charge to stop a dam and diversion project from being built on Northern Idaho's stunning and remote Boundary Creek.

Clean Water Act

American Whitewater's advocacy to protect water quality.

Colorado River Access (CO)

The decades old debate over public use of waterways in Colorado continues, and AW is working to protect the rights of all paddlers to enjoy Colorado's Rivers.

Colorado SWSI (CO)

Colorado's Statewide Water Supply Initiative may very well determine the fate of Colorado's whitewater rivers by dictating how much water can be removed from rivers to serve a growing population.

Conservation System

The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of BLM lands and rivers.

Dolores River (CO)

American Whitewater is working to conserve and restore a dynamic, healthy Dolores River by leveraging recreational water needs to enhance and support in-stream flows.

Grand Canyon

American Whitewater has long worked on the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. From fighting dam proposal decades ago, to advocating for equitable access in the recent development of a new management

Green River (WY/UT/CO)

A private firm in Colorado has identified the Green River in Wyoming as a potential source of new water supplies for Colorado's growing East Slope. The proposal to divert more than 250,000 acre-feet o

Lower Salmon River (ID)

The Lower Salmon River offers a wonderful multi-day river trip managed by the BLM, yet us under-protected compared to most other multi-day destinations. AW has worked with the BLM on recreational man

Milltown Dam Removal (MT)

AW participated in this landmark dam removal process throughout the FERC process.

Milner Whitewater (ID)

AW supports the efforts of local paddlers who have advocated for whitewater recreation on the Milner Mile.

Montana Headwaters

The Montana Headwaters Campaign is a creative grassroots approach to conserving some of Montana's and the continents most incredible rivers. American Whitewater is one of the champions of this issue,

New Mexico Stream Access

Issues on the privatizing of public streams in New Mexico

Snake Headwaters (WY)

American Whitewater joined a coalition of partners to designate the Snake Headwaters as Wild and Scenic.

Swan River, Bigfork Hydro (MT)

AW negotiated scheduled recreational releases, flow information, public access, and land protection as part of a new hydro license on the Swan River in Montana.

Upper Colorado River (CO)

American Whitewater is working with various stakeholders to develop a resource management plan for the BLM, as an alternative to "Wild and Scenic River" management.

Virgin River (UT)

AW advocates for paddling opportunities and stewardship of the Virgin River.

West Rosebud (MT)

AW is working with Beartooth Paddlers on the relicensing of the Mystic Lake Hydroelectric Project on West Rosebud Creek

Windy Gap Firming Project (CO)

American Whitewater is working to protect outstanding paddling opportunities in Colorado, and a healthy Colorado River system from future water development.

Yampa River (CO)

AW is working to preserve the free-flowing character of the Yampa River, while multiple interests set their sights on the Yampa as a new source for clean, high quality water supplies for Oil and Gas d

Yellowstone and Grand Teton

AW has advocated for opportunities to experience the incredible rivers of Yellowstone National and Grand Teton National Parks through paddling.

Associated Rivers

Documents

Colorado Policy Pathways (1/6/2020)

A write up of how American Whitewater is approaching its Colorado Policy Program.

Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

May 2022

S M T W T F S
1
Bear River Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/denver
Black Canyon Release1200-900 cfs

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12
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14
Bear River Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/denver
Black Canyon Release1200-900 cfs

15
Bear River Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm america/denver
Black Canyon Release1200-900 cfs

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Events
Swan River Releases Bigfork,MT runs 07/04/07 - 08/30/17
[+] favorites
Dolores River Releases Delores,CO runs 04/01/08 - 06/30/08
[+] favorites
Bear River Releases Grace,ID runs 05/03/08 - 05/15/22
[+] favorites
CKS PaddleFest Buena Vista,CO runs 05/27/16 - 05/29/16
[+] favorites
Dolores River Releases Dolores,CO runs 04/01/17 - 04/01/17
[+] favorites
Ogden GNARrows Down River Race 2017 Ogden,UT runs 09/23/17 - 09/23/17
[+] favorites
Ogden GNARrows Down River Race 2017 Ogden,UT runs 09/23/17 - 09/23/17
[+] favorites
Gore Canyon Festival Bond,CO runs 08/24/18 - 08/26/18
[+] favorites
  (iCal)  

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