American Whitewater has worked on restoring flows to benefit ecological processes while providing enhanced recreational opportunities on dozens of rivers across the country. Many rivers that were dewatered by hydropower projects for decades have benefited with new long term agreements that include new flow provisions while still allowing hydropower to be generated. On several rivers we have worked to remove outdated dams and on others we have fought the construction of new ones. The projects below are just of a few of those we have worked including those that have been particularly high profile where whitewater recreation has been a major issue.
Ausable (NY), Flows Restored: New York State Electric and Gas blocked access to the Ausable River downstream of their Rainbow Falls project for many years. American Whitewater worked through the dam relicensing process for at least 6 years to force the power company to allow public access.
Beaver (NY) The releases are a product of negotiations by American Whitewater that resulted in a series of 11 whitewater releases during a typical year spread over three challenging sections of Beaver River whitewater.
Deerfield (MA), Flows Restored: Signed in 1994, the Deerfield was one of the first settlement agreements in the country for a hydropower project. The agreement provides a number of resource protection and enhancement provisions and benefits for whitewater recreation that are celebrated each year at the Deerfield River Festival.
Kennebec (ME) American Whitewater negotiated a settlement after 9 years of efforts resulting in guaranteed daily boatable flows, removal of access fees, improved access, land protection, construction of sanitary facilities, and the establishment of a river restoration fund.
Megalloway (ME) American Whitewater negotiated a settlement providing 22 scheduled releases, notification of unscheduled releases, removal of hazards and minimum flows on this challenging river.
Moose (NY), Flows Restored: American Whitewater joined forces with environmental groups and worked for several years to reach an agreement with the power company in 1984 which provided 20 days of scheduled releases on the Bottom Moose, and various other aesthetic and environmental enhancements to their planned project. With this project we learned to use the federal hydropower licensing process to integrate whitewater recreation into license agreements.
Pennobscot (ME) Secured whitewater releases at varying levels on both the weekly releases at Canada Falls and daily releases on the Seboomook sections of the Penobscot River.
Rapid (ME) American Whitewater negotiated 22 releases, preserved shorelines and other lands and established an Enhancement Fund providing the premier wilderness paddling experence in the northeast.
Cheoah (NC), Flows Restored: American Whitewater fully supported provisions in the settlement agreement for this project to restore flows but did not sign the final agreement due to the utility proposal that would have required whitewater boaters to pay for releases. FERC agreed with our assessment that restoring flows should be a required mitigation measure which have since restored ecological function and provided significant local economic benefits.
Tallulah (GA), Flows Restored: This Georgia Power project affects flows in the dramatic Tallulah Gorge and was one of American Whitewater's first projects in the southeast. With restored flows in this previously dewatered gorge, the river attracts hundreds of paddlers to enjoy this spectacular run.
Black (WI), Flows Restored: This project provides an outstanding section of whitewater in the Midwest with a couple of really great features. While whitewater recreation is specifically recognized in the license, actually implementing the releases has proven difficult. We worked with local paddlers and the utility in an attempt to develop recreational opportunities on this river. (FERC License Article 404, Midwest Hydraulic Company, 1997, 79 FERC 62,101)
Chippewa, Jim Falls (WI), Flows Restored: This hydro project provides whitewater recreational opportunities during the summer months. (FERC License Amendment, Northern States Power Company, 2003, 102 FERC ¶ 62,098)
Cuyahoga, (OH), Hydropwer Defeated: American Whitewater successfully defeated a proposal to build a new hydropower project on a dam that has been identified for removal.
Fox River, (WI), Flows Restored: American Whitewater negotiated flow improvements and access with the reconstruction of the Badger-Rapide Croche Hydroelectric Project. (FERC License Article 410, City of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, 2011, 135 FERC ¶ 62,149)
Menominee River, (WI/MI) Flows Restored: Through the hydropower licensing process more dependable flows are now provided over weekends. (FERC License Article 401, Niagara of Wisconsin Paper Corporation, 1997, 79 FERC 62,095)
Wisconsin River, (WI), Flows Restored: Flows restored to the Pelican Rapids reach of the Wisconsin River. (Rhinelander Paper Company, 2003, FERC License Article 408, 104 FERC ¶ 62,134)
Bear (ID), Flows Restored: The Bear River project flows through a dramatic canyon in southeast Idaho. American Whitewater signed the settlement agreement for this project that includes restored spring flows providing recreational opportunities. (FERC License Order Articles 418 and 419, PacifiCorp, 2003, 105 FERC ¶ 62,207)
Bear (ID), Dam Defeated: Working with our partners at Idaho Rivers United we defeated a proposal for a new dam and hydropower project on the Oneida Narrows section of the Bear River that would have inundated a section of river we worked to restore (FERC License Denial Order: Twin Lakes Canal Company, 2016, 155 FERC ¶ 61,261)
Rosebud, West (MT), Flows Restored: The Mystic Lake Hydropower Project was the first project in the country to go through FERC's new Integrated Licensing Process. (USFS 4e Terms and Conditions, PPL Montana, 2007, 121 FERC ¶ 62,198)
Snake, Milner Gorge (ID)
Swan (MT), Flows Restored: PacifiCorp's Big Fork Project diverts flows from the Wild Mile section of the Swan River. A new license agreement resulted in improved access and scheduled flows on Wednesday evenings in early summer. (FERC License Order, Articles 403 and 411, PacifCorp, 2003, 104 FERC ¶ 62,059)
Canyon Creek (WA), Dam Defeated: Paddlers led the charge to fight this hydro project on small creek that is widely regarded as one of the finest whitewater resources in the region and an annual race that attracts the region's top talent.
Chelan (WA), Flows Restored: The Chelan Gorge is a short section of challenging whitewater that flows through a spectacular canyon right before the river joins the Columbia River. New base flows benefit fishery resources and provide spawning habitat for salmon while whitewater boaters have the opportunity to enjoy the gorge for a few weekends over the summer. (FERC License Article 11, Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, 2006, 117 FERC ¶62,129).
Cispus (WA), Dam Defeated: Paddler unsuccessfully fought two dams that were built on the Cowlitz River and a third that was constructed where the Cispus joins the Cowlitz. While ongoing challenges remain, paddlers were able to secure an agreement for access to the Cispus River upstream of the new reservoir. Our community was successful in stopping the Cispus 4 hydro project.
Clackamas (OR), Access Improved: American Whitewater represented local paddlers with an interest in examining whitewater opportunities associated with the Clackamas Hydro Project. In the end, we were not able to justify flows to provide recreation on impacted reaches but supported a comprehensive restoration plan for the river and its salmon and recreational amenities that include improved access, better flow information, support for the Clackamas Whitewater Festival, and a feasibility study of a play feature. (FERC License Order, Portland General Electric Company, 2010, 133 FERC ¶ 62,281)
Clearwater (WA), Dam Defeated: Paddlers were successful in mounting a challenge to this hydropower project in the North Cascades recommended by federal regulators for construction.
Elwha (WA), Dam Removed: While the primary arguments for removal of two dams on the river centered on opportunities for salmon restoration and social justice issues raised by the tribe whose creation site was inundated by one of the reservoirs, paddlers were instrumental in countering arguments regarding “lost recreation” by pointing out the recreational benefits of a restored river. (Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, 1992, Public Law 102-495)
Rogue, North Fork (OR), Flows Restored: The North Fork Rogue begins at Crater Lake National Park and flows through a beautiful series of gorges that maintain flows throughout the summer. The last and most dramatic of these gorges was largely dewatered throughout the summer but as part of a new license the generators are shut down over weekends to provide boating flows. (FERC License Article 413, PacifiCorp, 2008, 123 FERC ¶ 62,021)
Sullivan Creek, WA, Dam Removal, Pending: American Whitewater was the only organization to protest the plans of a utility to walk away from this outdated and unused hydro project, potentially leaving the public on the hook to clean up the mess and deal with an outdated dam. We joined other resource agencies and successfully made our case before federal regulators ultimately leading to a settlement that calls for dam removal and benefits all parties.
Sultan (WA), Flows Restored: American Whitewater was the lead public interest organization in settlement negotiations for a new license for a project that dewatered a spectacular river gorge in the North Cascades. The new license provisions are good for fish, good for boaters, and good for the river. (FERC License Article 412, 401 Water Quality Certification, USFS 4e conditions; Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington, 2011, 136 FERC ¶ 62,188).
North Fork Snoqualmie, WA, Dam Defeated: American Whitewater worked to defeat a dam and hydropower project that would have dewatered the Ernie's Gorge section of the North Fork Snoqualmie River. In October 2016 the developer pulled his application to develop this project and the river remains free-flowing.
American, South Fork (CA) Final settlement was reached with PG&E and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in 2007. This agreement provided for releases on the Slab Creek reach of the South Fork American River and South Fork Silver Creek, an upstream tributary. Settlement agreement also created a regular release schedule for the South Fork American below Chili Bar Dam. This provided certainty to the most heavily boated river on the west coast and the associated $25 million a year rafting industry. (USFS 4e condition #4, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, 2014, 148 FERC ¶ 62,070)
Canyon Creek (CA) http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/6363/Canyon Creek is a tributary to the South Fork Yuba River. Flows for this Creek were negotiated as part of the Yuba Bear /Drum Spaulding relicensing. As part of the negotiated agreement, flows out of Bowman Reservoir will now be ramped down from spill events in a way that more closely mimics natural conditions. In addition to improving conditions for frogs and fish, these more natural flows will also provide paddling opportunities for boaters. Upstream, Nevada irrigation district (NID) has agreed to a reservoir drawdown flow schedule that will provide an important boating opportunity in the fall. NID has also agreed to implement these flows in advance of the new license being issued for this project. The first of these flows commenced in 2014.
Feather, North Fork (CA), Flows Restored: With the settlement agreement that reached in 2000, the Rock Creek and Cresta project was one of the first in a wave of relicensing to be negotiated in California. With between 6 and 8 releases every summer, the Rock Creek reach on the North Fork Feather River have become one of the most important paddling destinations in California. The Feather River Festival, which is held during the September recreation release, has become the largest river festival on the West Coast. (FERC License Order, USFS Condition 16, PG&E, 2001, 97 FERC ¶ 61,084)
Feather, South Fork (CA) Left off the radar for most paddlers, the South Fork feather started to gain notoriety in 2004, after American Whitewater requested flow studies as part of the relicensing process. Every fall, South Fork Water and Power draws down the Little Grass Valley reservoir. They have agreed to provide flows that are in the flow ranges determined optimal during our flow study. They have also agreed to provide these flows in advance of the license being issued.
Kern (CA) After challenging the USFS 4e conditions on the Kern River 3 project, we reached a settlement agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE)and the USFS in 2004. This agreement requires SCE to reduce their diversion when flows were within a potable range. The agreement also provides paddlers with flow information for this reach. (FERC License Order, USFS Condition 6, SCE (Amended 3/12/2015, 1996, 77 FERC ¶ 61,313)
Mokelumne (CA), Flows Restored: The Mokelumne River has some of the most popular releases that we have negotiated in California. The runs on the Mokelumne appeal to a wide range of paddlers offering Class II to Class V paddling opportunities including roadside as well as pristine wilderness experiences. The BLM 4e conditions for this project also included important river access improvements. (FERC License Order, USFS Condition 28, PG&E, 2001, 97 FERC ¶ 61,031)
Pit (CA), Flows Restored: American Whitewater has been involved in several relicensing’s on the Pit River. The high desert feel of this run, combined with a significant waterfall with multiple route options, has made this run very popular with paddlers. Downstream, the pit 345 project has 3 river reaches with the range of difficulty from class III to class V. pit 5 reach has releases that occur during August and September. USFS 4e conditions included numerous access improvements and campground developments along the 22 miles of river that encompasses project. (FERC Pit 1 License Order, Article 424, PG&E, 2003, 102 FERC ¶ 61,3099)(FERC Pit 345 License Order, SWRCB condition 8 Appendix A , PG&E, 2007, 120 FERC ¶ 62,001)