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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Draft Flathead River Management Plan Released for Comment (MT)

Posted: 08/23/2019
by Kevin Colburn

The Forest Service has released a Proposed Action which is essentially a partial draft management plan the forks of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River. The Proposed Action is available for public review and comment through September 13, 2019. The Forest Service proposed a number of management actions that would be triggered by encounter limits being reached, including new permit systems. We encourage Flathead River paddlers to give the agency some feedback on the encounter thresholds they propose, the proposed management actions, and the Proposed Action as a whole.

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Final Slate River Floating Management Plan Released (CO)

Posted: 05/16/2019
by Kestrel Kunz

Crested Butte, CO - Increased user conflict on the Slate River has led to a Floating Management Plan that proposes a "voluntary no-float period" between March 15 and July 15 this season. Since our last news post in November, the Slate River Floating Management Plan has been updated and revised for the 2019 season. An open house will be held at The Depot in Crested Butte on Thursday, May 16 and it is critical that paddlers from the local community attend and engage in the conversation. (Photo courtesy of the Crested Butte Land Trust).

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Positive Outlook for Lower Dolores Flows This Spring!

Posted: 05/09/2019
by Hattie Johnson

The Dolores Water Conservation District recently put out their updated spill prediction based on the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center's May 1st inflow forecast. In addition to a positive forecast indicating a likely 3-4 week spill of boatable flows beginning before Memorial Day, low and middle elevation snowpack has raised McPhee water levels at approximately a foot per day. This lower elevation snow and May storm cycle have also helped in keeping fields wet and pushing back the start of irrigation season. One more benefit of the healthy low elevation snowpack was the flows downstream of McPhee reached boatable levels for over a week. Many regional boaters were out enjoying these natural flows and levels even reached 2,000 cfs for a period!

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Land and Water Conservation Fund Secures Access to Upper Colorado River

Posted: 05/08/2019
by Hattie Johnson

A bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was introduced last month by Colorado Senator Cory Gardener and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and cosponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennett. If passed the bill would provide $900M annually for projects protecting natural, cultural and historic resources. Existing funding from the LWCF recently enabled the transfer of two important river access points on the Upper Colorado River. The State Bridge and Two Bridges parcels were owned by Eagle County and had been improved - boat ramps, parking, restroom/changing facilities - by the Eagle County Open Space program with coordination and management support from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This land transfer will protect public access at these locations in perpetuity. 

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Dolores River (CO) 2019 Spill Forecast Update

Posted: 05/02/2019
by Hattie Johnson

Dolores Water Conservation District put out their most recent predictions on April 23rd. More can be found on their website. We are expecting an updated forecast on May 6th and will be meeting with them on May 9th to begin discussions on how the recreational boating releases can align with other ecological goals. American Whitewater has developed a wide range of guidelines on how a spill can meet both recreation goals and goals to improve aquatic species and riparian health.

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New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham Vetoes Gila Diversion Funding

Posted: 04/10/2019
by Hattie Johnson

In her campaign, newly elected Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham laid out a plan to end work on the Gila River Diversion Project. This past Friday she took great strides towards that promise by vetoing $1.698M in New Mexico Unit funding requested by the Interstate Stream Commission for Gila diversion planning and design.

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Help Protect Crested Butte Area Rivers and Creeks under Wild and Scenic Act

Posted: 02/26/2019
by Kestrel Kunz

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) are conducting a Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Evaluation as part of the current Forest Plan Revision process. While the Forest Service is mandated to conduct an Eligibility Study as part of the Plan Revision process, this opportunity only happens every 15-20 years and we need to ensure that the Study is comprehensive and robust. We need YOU to share your love and knowledge of these rivers with the Forest Service! We've put together an easy-to-use tool for you to submit comments here. Please consider personalizing your comments and take the time to review the Forest Service's Story Map of the Eligibility Evaluation. 

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

Posted: 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!

Posted: 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)

Posted: 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. 

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AW Comments on Colorado Nat'l Forest Wilderness Process

Posted: 09/05/2018
by Kestrel Kunz

Today, September 5, marked the close of the public review process for the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Phase is the second step of 4 different steps required in the assessment of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). American Whitewater thoroughly reviewed the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report and submitted our comments to the Forest Service on September 4, 2018. Overall, we found that key paddling reaches throughout the GMUG area were greatly under-represented in the Polygon narratives and thus weren't acknowledged as contributing factors to the Polygon's respective Wilderness Ratings. We let the Forest Service know this, highlighting specific paddling reaches that should be added to each Polygon and which Polygons we believe should have a higher Wilderness Rating based on the high-quality recreation opportunities that each area has to offer. 

Please stay tuned as we continue to report on the GMUG Land Management Revision Process and in the meantime you can learn more about the GMUG here. (Photo of Josh King by Nick Spitzer)

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2018 Colorado Whitewater Events

Posted: 04/02/2018
by Kestrel Kunz

It's that time of year folks! Colorado Event Season is soon upon us. Whether you've been training all winter in preparation or whether you just enjoy a good show and boating with your friends, these classic Colorado river events are not to miss! 

In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 24 - 26. Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.

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TAKE ACTION: Comment on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan

Posted: 11/01/2017
by Kestrel Kunz

ARKANSAS RIVER, Colo. - The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is revising their Management Plan for the first time since 2001. The new Draft Plan was made publicly available in October and the AHRA is accepting public comments through November 10, 2017 (next week!). In order to design effective and productive comments, American Whitewater has thoroughly reviewed the Draft Plan, discussed the Plan with our local Affiliate Clubs, attended AHRA Public Open Houses, and reached out to key members of the local paddling community. To make it easy for you to SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS, American Whitewater staff have compiled our key concerns and comments for your review. 

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Colorado Honors the legacy of Matt Brown

Posted: 10/30/2017
by Nathan Fey

Gunnison, Colorado - Last Wednesday, Matt Brown - longtime river guide, adventurer, and pillar of the Gunnison Valley community- passed away tragically after an accident in Moab. Matt was so much to so many.  At the request of his family and friends, contributions in Matt's memory can be made to American Whitewater’s River Access work in Colorado.  Matt was a strong ally and advisor in our work to protect the public’s rights to float and fish in the State.  We miss him immensely.

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Save The Date: Wild West River Fest (WY)

Posted: 07/03/2017
by Kestrel Kunz

Cody, Wyoming - This August 19 & 20 the Wild West Paddle Club is hosting the 2017 Wild West River Fest in Cody, Wyoming. In celebration of the beautiful Shoshone River, the Fest has events for everyone - Slalom Race, Class II Sprint, Shoshone Canyon Boater Cross, and many other fun activities for the whole family! Weekend festivities are free to the public, with the exception of race registration fees for competitors. You can find a full schedule here and all competitors need to register online in advance.  

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A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)

Posted: 06/07/2017
by Kestrel Kunz

On Sunday, nearly 50 people gathered on the banks of the St. Vrain River to pick up trash from the water and the shoreline. We started the day off with Hotbox Roasters coffee and donuts, and a few words about River Stewardship – the common cause that brought us all together. We found bedframes, rusty nails, lawn chairs, car doors, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, fast food containers, and it doesn’t stop there. Our findings are likely a combination of leftover debris from the floods, illegal waste dumping along the river, and built up trash from years of careless passers-by. Thank you to all those that came out for the river cleanup! American Whitewater depends on our affiliate clubs, members, and dedicated volunteers in order to tackle our many River Stewardship projects.  

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Green River Boat Passage Officially Open! - UT

Posted: 04/06/2017
by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater staff traveled to Green River, UT in late March to meet with private water users and state agencies, and to participate in the official opening of the new boat passage through the Green River Diversion (Tusher Dam). Completion of the boat passage has freed the Green River from its last in-stream obstruction between the Flaming Gorge Dam and the confluence with the Colorado River – over 400 floatable river miles through iconic canyons and historic landmarks. It has a been a long process, and our work isn’t over yet! As your boating representative, American Whitewater will continue to work closely with the dam operators and Utah’s Division of State Lands (FFSL) to ensure that the boat passage meets the needs of the public during its inaugural year.

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Releases to Lower Dolores River certain in 2017.

Posted: 02/17/2017
by Nathan Fey

Cortez, Colorado - Last week, American Whitewater met with local water managers, fisheries biologists, an other interests in Dolores River water, to start negotiating releases from McPhee Dam - like we do every spring.  This year, things are looking very good for the Dolores...

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Upper Colorado River Access funded by Land & Water Conservation Fund - CO

Posted: 02/06/2017
by Nathan Fey

Dotsero, Colorado - A key river access point on the Upper Colorado river, once threatened with closure, has now been permanently protected through a partnership between BLM and Eagle County. 

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One more day to submit input on Colorado's Brown Canyon National Monument!

Posted: 01/17/2017
by Kestrel Kunz

There is only one more day left to share what you value most in the Browns Canyon National Monument planning area! The Bureau of Land Management, U.S Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to develop a Coordinated Management Plan for Browns Canyon National Monument. In order to design a plan that most benefits citizens and visitors of Colorado, the agencies designed an Online Survey and Mapping Tool to understand how the public interacts with the Browns Canyon planning area and what aspects of the area are most important to the public.

 


Upcoming Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

May 2019

S M T W T F S
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Bear River Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm est
1200-900 cfs

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Bear River Releases
10:00 am -4:00 pm est
1200-900 cfs

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Events
Swan River Releases Bigfork,MT runs 07/04/07 - 08/30/17
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Dolores River Releases Delores,CO runs 04/01/08 - 06/30/08
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Bear River Releases Oneida,ID runs 05/03/08 - 05/12/19
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CKS PaddleFest Buena Vista,CO runs 05/27/16 - 05/29/16
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Dolores River Releases Dolores,CO runs 04/01/17 - 04/01/17
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Ogden GNARrows Down River Race 2017 Ogden,UT runs 09/23/17 - 09/23/17
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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)  

Associated News


Related Groups

Sultan Relicensing - West Rosebud (MT)

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 - Boundary Creek (ID)

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 - Windy Gap Firming Project (CO)

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,
Say Thanks for Designating Browns Canyon
Stub description
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

Arkansas CO