This regional gem has regularly scheduled recreational releases, and frequent power releases from Rio Dam. For the release schedule, see Eagle Creek Renewable Energy's Release Schedule.
Releases are 1 tube or barrel (about 500 cfs) and 2 tube (~1000 cfs). 1 tube requires more maneuvering but has less push making it easier for the less experienced. 2 covers a lot more of the rocks but gives holes and drops more power. As you'd expect with paddlers, opinions vary as to which is best or even easiest.
The only guidebook description is in Dennis Squires' "New York Exposed: The Whitewater State, Volume 2,", which (on p 140) describes the rapids as "pretty continuous class II and easy class III all the way down to the Delaware." (There was formerly a decent description on the now defunct Inland Surfing Association website. If anyone has access to its text, please contact the streamkeepers.) In general terms, while the gradient is fairly consistent on this reach, the rapids on the second half of the reach (below the lunch spot) are more sustained than on the upper portion. Save some energy for the rapids under the Route 97 bridge, which may be the most difficult on the river, and for the wave train at the confluence with the Delaware. Especially if the Delaware is high boat recovery after the wave train is a pain so think twice before letting beginners run it.
If you still have energy, the Mongaup Wave is a short distance down the Delaware on river right though it ain't what it used to be.
There are several takeouts. The first one is on river right above the Route 97 Bridge, and avoids the Bridge Rapid and also avoids a significant carry as you can bring the car within 50 feet of the river. There is a good takeout along the Delaware above the confluence. To reach it, eddy out on the right at the confluence and head up the left (your right as you face upstream) bank of the Delaware. The takeout is a short distance up on your right. A path leads to the DEC Parking Lot. The takeout for the Mongaup Wave is a sandy beach on the left bank of the Delaware, visible from the wave.
This is not a beginner's run. First-time Mongaup paddlers would be well advised to hook up with friends who've done it before, or make contact with experienced local paddlers on the Lehigh Valley Canoe Club Forum or KCCNY both of which run trips for most releases.
Power releases occur frequently on the Rio Reach. One rule of thumb that is frequently cited is that if the temps are over 100 degrees in NYC, the Mongaup will release at 870 cfs, if there is enough water in the system. Realistically, on hotter days and wetter seasons they release a lot during the week and comparing recent releases and temperatures can give you a guess. Unfortunately for paddlers, power demands are lower on weekends so they seldom have weekend power releases.
Note that since 9/11, when the Homeland Security Threat Level is orange or red, the gate to the powerhouse/whitewater recreational facility will be locked. Boaters are permitted to carry down to the put-in, but at present there is no parking near the gate. According to Mirant, the previous licensee, "When the threat level is raised to 'Orange' or 'Red,' the gate will be closed to vehicular access although access via foot is permitted." Current information, from Eagle Creek, is not available at this time.
Paddlers should remember that the speed limit on the dirt access road to the put-in is 10 MPH! We urge everyone to obey that limit and to respect the neighbors. We are only there a couple of days a month but they live there. Please show them respect and encourage others to do the same.
Upper SectionAbove the powerhouse is about a mile of free flowing river. As part of the relicensing of the Rio Dam on the Mongaup, Eagle Creek
released an additional 125 cfs (in addition to the 100 cfs min
flow) below the dam on October 27th. The study was to tell us whether the bypassed reach is
boatable at 250 cfs (the amount they can release with existing
equipment). And we determined that though runnable it was too low to be much fun. Significant wood, general class 2 gradient. If they ever get more water in this reach it would be nice if the Mongaup was a bit longer, but until then this stretch is only likely to run when the whole the east coast is flooding and you'll have little challenge then finding better rivers with less wood.
In order to protect Bald Eagle nesting habitat, kayaking and other activities on the Mongaup are illegal during the winter season. New York State Law prohibits "entering onto the surface of the water or ice on the Mongaup River... or entering the upland surrounding those waters as designated by posted signs from December 1 through March 31". Violation carries a $5,000 fine, and will endanger all boating on the river.
Some phone numbers and web addresses:Eagle Creek Renewable Energy
Eagle Creek Renewable Energy Phone: (855) 313-ECRE (call to check the status of releases, you may get an actual person).
Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)1-609-883-9500.Google Map of New York WhitewaterNew York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
Actually a nice takeout on right above bridge. Sign has been edited. Carry up a steep bank and there's parking for half a dozen vehicles right there. Bridge waves rapid can be challenging for a beginner and if the Delaware is high boat and swimmer recovery is a pain as you can easily get carried well below any of the pullouts.
On the Delaware, the downstream take out is at the confluence on the east side, at about Zone 18 520493E 4586022N.
This is the same as the takeout for the Mongaup Wave on the Delaware.
2015 release schedule is here: http://www.eaglecreekre.com/facilities/northeast-region/mongaup-river-ny/whitewater-recreation
The under bridge construction at the Route 97 rapid appears to be completed.
All of the websites and numbers have been updated. Safe Paddling Everyone.
Releases will commence, for the first time in nearly 3 years, on April 19!
There was formerly a USGS guage located at the put in. It has been deactivated for some time, however due to the pending installation of another Turbine, FERC has indicated it would require the guage to be reactivated with internet access available for real time data.
GAUGE UPDATE: A stick gauge was located in the river at the put in, with color coding. The orange bar is one turbine, the blue bar is two turbines. Flooding in 2004 washed away the stick gauge. You're on your own until it's replaced. Hint: Look at the power plant to see how many turbines are running, then look at the bypass reach, right of the power house outflow as you look upriver, to judge natural flow. To state the obvious, if it looks like one turbine is running, it's a one-turbine release. If two turbines are running, well, you know.
FLOW UPDATE: Most releases are one turbine (435cfs), or Class II+, but FERC now requires that the schedule include some two-turbine releases (870cfs) or Class III-. Paddlers are encouraged to call Eagle Creek Renewable Energy (855-313-ECRE) after Wednesday on release week and again before leaving home on release day to verify release volume.
Of course, the river does release frequently during the week for power generation Release volumes for power releases are not specified or announced; During drought conditions, the Delaware River Basin Commission has the authority to suspend recreational releases, though unscheduled power releases still occur.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Preferred parking is either the DEC Parkling Lot, on the left after the river, or the old takeout lot, on the right a short distance up Upper Mongaup Road. The lot just before the river on the right is a good place to meet up with boaters, check out the Bridge Rapid, or rack your boat if you're coming from the wave, but please try not to park there. It is only designed for 10 cars, and is supposed to be for fishermen. Do not park along Route 97. Please be careful crossing Route 97, as traffic moves very fast in the area.
There are only about a dozen spaces at the put-in, so use your judgement. The preferred option is to meet at the DEC Lot on Route 97, shuttle to the put-in, and then for the drivers there to arrange subsequent shuttles to reduce the number of vehicles in the put-in lot. REMEMBER: If you leave your vehicle at the put-in, you'll only have to find a way back up to get it at the end of the run.
DIRECTIONS: I'm still trying to master the mapping thing, but these narrative directions will get you to the put in. The present map directions will not.
Starting at the intersection of Route 97 and Route 31, just west of where the river crosses Route 97, head north on Route 31, also known as Upper Mongaup Road. You'll be heading uphill for about 2 miles.
Turn Right onto KNIGHT RD. Go a little more than 0.2 miles, and take your first right onto RIO DAM RD. It will sneak up on you if you're not paying attention, and sometimes the street sign is missing.
On RIO DAM RD, go about 0.3 Miles. There will be an intersection right where the road begins to go up a hill. There is a paved road to the right. Slow down and bear slightly right onto a dirt road. There will be a power company sign and a gate.
The dirt road is known as POWERHOUSE RD. The speed limit on this road is 10 MPH. The road is very narrow and people live along it. Local paddling groups have worked with the neighbors here on traffic issues and have arrived at an understanding. DO NOT EXCEED 10 MPH ON POWERHOUSE ROAD! This applies before, during, and after releases. Doing so will endanger access. Enough said.
POWERHOUSE RD. goes downhill and curves to the right. After the second gate, keep to the right. The put in parking is past the powerhouse.
Best drop on the upper section
Penstock on upper section
Below Rio Dam
Under the Bridge
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Paddlers on the Lehigh River below the Francis E. Walter Dam and Reservoir are concerned that a planned study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will lead to a reduction in whitewater boating opportunities on the Lehigh. The study will evaluate the feasibility of various alternatives to optimize project operation. Aside from the project's authorized primary missions of flood risk management and recreation, the study will also consider water supply and water quality, to identify possible improvements to the existing structure, infrastructure, and operations that will support current and future demands within the region. The Army Corps is holding a public meeting on January 9, 2020 at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA from 6-8 p.m. to explain the study and hear public comments. American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, and other organizations are expected to file comments with the Army Corps prior to the September 29th deadline in order to share our concerns about the study and potential impacts on boating, the outdoor recreation economy, and the Delaware RIver Basin. We encourage our members to attend the public meeting to voice their concerns.
American Whitewater, along with Kayak and Canoe Club of New York and Appalachian Mountain Club, have joined with FERC in calling on Eagle Creek Renewable, owner and operator of three hydropower projects on the Mongaup River in New York, to conduct a whitewater boating study on section below the Rio Dam. The Mongaup is a scenic Class II/III river within easy reach of New York City and southern New England. Both whitewater groups and FERC are seeking to determine whether releasing flows into the natural river channel below the Rio Dam would provide new recreational boating opportunity at the Rio Project. The study will determine whether the whitewater boating run can be extended upstream to the Rio Dam. In addition, AW and its partners will be seeking additional whitewater boating release days through the relicensing process.
American Whitewater and the Kayak and Canoe Club of New York filed a motion to intervene in a proceeding with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 24 to protect our interests as a utility tries to increase its power output on a dam on the Mongaup River in New York.
2010 marked the 25th anniversary of protecting the Black and Moose rivers! View an online video documentary on the Moose River and the early role that American Whitewater played in protecting this amazing river.
Earlier this month, the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) sent a letter asking the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to prohibit boating on the MongaupRiver, except on scheduled boating release days. It is extremely unlikely that the DEC would take such an action, but AW and KCCNY will be responding just in case.
Boaters in the northeast have good reason to be excited this month. The Rio Project on the Mongaup River (NY) will reopen this month after being closed to recreation for nearly three years. Releases will begin this month!
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