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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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
Browns Park, Utah - American Whitewater has asked the Utah Division of Water Resources to reject the latest attempt to pump water from Utah's Green River, and send it across the Rocky Mountains to Denver and Colorado's Front Range. The Water Rights Export Application is speculative and assumes availability of water with no consideration of impacts to downstream needs. In its letter, American Whitewater urges the Division to act with prudence and reject the application.
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.
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.
Kremmling, Colorado - The Bureau of Land Management has released for public review and comment a set of preliminary alternatives for managing about 40 miles of the Upper Colorado River between Parshall and State Bridge - including Gore Canyon and Pumphouse. This is your chance to weigh in on whether there should be a day-use permit; a camping permit with designated campsites in the popular stretch between Pumphouse and State Bridge; and expanding the developed Pumphouse Campground.
Bond, Colorado - American Whitewater is presenting Gore Canyon Festival - August 25-27th 2017. Online registration is open and there are events for everyone, so sign up today!
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Colorado - American Whitewater has released a new study on whitewater recreation in the San Miguel River Basin. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts for the San Miguel River. Montrose County acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in hopes of building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. American Whitewater worked with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals would have on existing recreational opportunities.
A new proposal to allow the development of a 90- acre open pit mine in Eagle County at the gateway to the Colorado River has local river users asking questions. We encourage everyone to attend an Open House December 6 at 6 PM at the Gypsum Recreation Center, and to make your voices heard at the Town Council meeting where they will discuss the application on December 13 at 7 PM.
Lyons, Colorado - For the second year in a row, Oskar Blues Brewery is hosting the Burning Can Festival at this year Lyons Outdoor Games. Burning Can, which takes place under the backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park and the St. Vrain River, is a celebration of good beer, served in a can. This year, All money raised from Lyons Outdoor Games recycled cans will be donated to American Whitewater. See you there!
Today, American Rivers released the annual report on America's Most Endangered Rivers. American Whitewater has partnered with American Rivers in past years in identifying threatened rivers, and this year we are working together to highlight threats to the Skykomish River in Washington and the Green River in Utah.
Green River (WY/UT/CO) - Wyco Power and Water, Inc. (“Wyco”), proponents of the 500 mile-long water-supply pipeline from Wyoming to Colorado, has requested a rehearing from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the Commission’s Order dismissing the Preliminary Permit Application for the Regional Watershed Supply Project (aka: Flaming Gorge Pipeline).
Wyco has stated that the Order is inconsistent with Section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act. In addition, Wyco believes that the dismissal of the Preliminary Permit Application based on the reasons presented in the Order establishes precedents that will likely be detrimental to future development of hydroelectric facilities in the United States.
Colorado/Wyoming - Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed Wyco Power and Water Inc.'s Preliminary Permit Application for the proposed Regional Watershed Supply Project, also know as the Flaming Gorge Pumpback. The Regional Watershed Supply Project was proposed to include seven hydropower projects and a 501-mile water pipeline that would extend from Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River in Wyoming to a proposed reservoir near Pueblo, Colorado. This is a major succes in AW's efforts to preserve the Green and Colorado Rivers!
Colorado - American Whitewater has filed a Motion to Intervene in Opposition to the Regional Watershed Supply Project Preliminary Permit Application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Joining us in our effort to protect the Green River from the project (aka Flaming Gorge Pumpback), is American Rivers and the Colorado River Outfitters Association.
Colorado River Basin - American Whitewater is asking for paddler input on flows and recreation quality for rivers across the Southwestern United States. We are gathering this information to help define recreational flow-needs, and to inform the US Bureau of Reclamations' Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study. Whether you live in Boston, San Francisco, or Jensen, UT, your input will help AW protect healthy rivers - TAKE OUR SURVEY TODAY!
Wyoming/Colorado - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has found the preliminary permit application for the Regional Watershed Supply Project (Flaming Gorge Pumpback) "deficient", stating that additional information and attention to scheduling is needed before the agency can complete it's evaluation of the project. If the Project's proponent fails to provide the information requested within 30 days, the application may be rejected.
Grand Junction, CO - This week, after much deliberation, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) approved a highly diluted request to fund a feasability study for the Flaming Gorge Pipeline. The feasability study, which uses the Flaming Gorge Pipeline as a test case, will focus on establishing a process that will identify issues and opportunities for developing new water supplies for Colorado's front range. Conservation groups continue to have numerous concerns about the process even in a scaled back form.
Wyoming/Colorado - Proponents of the 501-mile long pipeline that will send water from the Green River in Wyoming, to Colorado's Front Range, have submitted an Application for a Preliminary Permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project, known as the "Flaming Gorge pipeline," had been under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more than two years until the agency canceled it's environmental review. New plans for the pipeline now include hydropower production, requiring FERC to issue the permit.
Colorado - American Whitewater is conducting a study of flow-recreation relationships for the Yampa Basin, and identifying specific metrics for use in the Watershed Flow Evaluation Tool. This study is intended to inform local, state, and federal planning efforts as to the full range and quality of recreational boating opportunities for the Wild and Scenic suitable Yampa River, as well as the Elk and White Rivers, and their tributaries. Your participation in the flow survey is requested.
Public Notice - Regional Watershed Supply Project proposed by Million Conservation Resource Group. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers announces the scoping comment period for the Flaming Gorge/Green River Pumpback has been extended to September 28, 2009.
The US Army Corps of Engineers announced two additional meetings and an extension of the scoping comment period for the RWSP, also known as the Green River Pumpback. One of the proposed benefits of the RWSP, the largest water project in Colorado's history, is the mitigation of future pressure on the Upper Colorado River and the state's western slope rivers. With the recent ACOE announcement, western slope communities will have a chance to review and comment on the proposed project. The comment period has been extended until July 27, 2009 and two additional scoping meetings will be conducted in both Grand Junction and Craig, Colorado.
Green River, Wyoming - After much anticipation, the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has announced the first set of public meetings on thecontroversial Regional Watershed Supply Project (RWSP)--also known as the Green River or Flaming Gorge Pumpback. The Project proposes to remove up to 250,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River at Flaming Gorge, sending it east through 500 miles of pipelines to Colorado's Front Range. The project also proposes two new reservoirs for Colorado's Front Range. The ACOE will be holding several meetings to describe the project, the NEPA process, and to solicit input on the issues and alternatives to be evaluated before permiting the RWSP.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />American Whitewater has joined the Outdoor Industry Association and Outward Bound in formally protesting oil and gas leases that threaten the recreational experience in Utah's Desolation Canyon on the Green River. The development threatens potential wild and scenic designation, and the recreational experience of thousands of whitewater boaters.
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