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American Whitewater Joins Partnership to Conserve and Restore America’s Rivers

04/23/2024 - by Thomas O'Keefe

American Whitewater was invited to join the Biden Administration in announcing a new freshwater initiative, “The America the Beautiful Freshwater Challenge: A Partnership to Conserve and Restore America’s Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Wetlands.” American Whitewater has joined this partnership recognizing the fundamental role of our nation’s waterways to the health, prosperity, and resiliency of our communities, and recognizing that these resources are held sacred by many Tribal Nations. The primary goals of the partnership are to 1) reconnect, restore, and protect 8 million acres of wetlands by 2030; and 2) reconnect, restore, and protect 100,000 miles of our nations’ rivers and streams by 2030. The benefits of these actions are numerous and include maintaining water quality that is healthy and safe for recreation, ensuring that freshwater resources continue to support regional and rural economies including outdoor recreation, protecting our drinking water supplies, and supporting aquatic ecosystem biodiversity. American Whitewater is committed to helping realize the goals of this partnership through action, including restoring the full protections of the Clean Water Act, marshaling the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase and conserve river corridors, working to restore natural flow regimes to rivers affected by hydropower and advocating for the removal of dams when their environmental and social justice impacts outweigh any benefits, protecting thousands of miles of rivers through new Wild and Scenic, Outstanding National Resource Waters, National Monuments and other administrative designations and actions that safeguard rivers, and engaging local communities, investing in recreational access to rivers, and providing education on public safety around rivers that will bolster regional and rural economies that rely on outdoor recreation. 

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Speaking Up For Rivers at the Nation's Capitol

04/15/2024 - by Stewardship Staff

Last month, four members of American Whitewater’s Stewardship team—Kevin Colburn, Scott Harding, Kestrel Kunz, and Thomas O’Keefe—visited our nation’s capital to advocate for durable protections for key whitewater rivers across the country. Our trip was part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Hill Week, which drew river advocates from around the country. The event was organized by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Coalition, which American Whitewater co-founded in 2018. American Whitewater met with five federal agencies and 35 congressional offices to advocate for 14 different river protection bills and regional conservation efforts covering watersheds across nine states and thousands of rivers. 

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West Slope Rivers and Creeks Protected from Mining! (CO)

04/09/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

On April 3, the Biden Administration finalized a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the Thompson Divide and Mt. Emmons area between Crested Butte and Carbondale. The mineral withdrawal will protect beloved Colorado whitewater rivers and creeks, including Oh-Be-Joyful, the Slate River, Ruby Fork of the Anthracite, Anthracite Creek, and Crystal and Roaring Fork watersheds. More work needs to be done to protect this landscape permanently, but for now we can celebrate and thank the administration for prioritizing this area.

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Protect 500 California River Miles Today

04/09/2024 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

American Whitewater along with members of the California Hydropower Reform Coalition are inching closer to a crucial vote that will protect 500 river miles across California. The state's rivers are in the crosshairs of a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) application to transfer all 22 hydropower projects including 62 powerhouses, 97 reservoirs, 72 diversions, 167 dams, and 400 miles of water conveyance systems to a separate subsidiary, Pacific Generation LLC. American Whitewater encourages the paddling community to submit comments favoring the denial of this application to protect many of our outstanding whitewater reaches found on the North Fork Feather, the Pit, the McCloud, Butte Creek, Fordyce, the South Yuba, the Bear, the Eel, the Mokelumne, the San Joaquin, and the North Fork Kings. Comments are due before April 18.

Photo: Nathan Stayrook Hobbs, Nate Corona, Trevor Croft, and Kailee Hutchison on the San Joaquin River Gorge below PG&E's Kerckhoff Hydropower Project

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American Whitewater Launches New Initiative to Remove Deadbeat Dams

04/05/2024 - by Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater today launched a new project aimed at removing deadbeat dams from our nation’s rivers. With an increasing number of hydropower dams crumbling and being abandoned by their owners, the project seeks to require dam owners to remove these dams and restore our rivers for the fish and people that use and enjoy them. This initiative will focus on utilizing legal challenges to force the removal of these dams which no longer serve their purpose and present a significant hazard to the public.

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West Canada Creek (NY) Call to Action

04/02/2024 - by Lila Thomas Caldwell

A recent boating study demonstrated that the Prospect Gorge of West Canada Creek in New York, including the grandeur of Prospect Falls, is a hidden gem of the Adirondacks, yet been off limits to the public for over 100 years due to the dam owner’s prohibition. American Whitewater has been working to restore open public access and aesthetic flows at Prospect Falls and Trenton Falls, plus scheduled boating opportunities in Prospect Gorge and on the river below Trenton Falls Gorge. Meanwhile, Erie Boulevard Hydropower (a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Power) filed a Settlement Agreement with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation that continues to bar the public from the river and they now seek to incorporate those settlement provisions into a new 40-year license for the project. Elected officials must hear from the public on this issue now. Without immediate action, waterfalls and gorges in West Canada Creek will remain locked away and silenced. We’ve made it super simple to send a message with our easy-action form. Take action today! The deadline to comment is April 18. 

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Boating Flow Study and Notifications NF Kern River (CA)

03/30/2024 - by Jeff Venturino

Southern California Edison (SCE) is currently in the process of relicensing the Kern River #3 hydropower project. Information is being gathered through a series of studies to inform final license conditions and measures that will include recreational flows. SCE’s Whitewater Boating Study is being conducted on the following sections of the North Fork Kern below Fairview Dam: Sidewinder/Bombs Away, Fairview, Chamise Gorge, Salmon Falls, Goldge Ledge, Thunder Run, Cable, and the Licky Split. This spring SCE will be modifying the flows in the river to gather more information on flows targeted between 200 cfs and 800 cfs.

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Powerhouse Outage Adds to Spring Flows on South Yuba (CA)

03/30/2024 - by Jeff Venturino

The South Yuba River will soon experience spring runoff season, and we have received news there is a Pacific Gas & Electric powerhouse outage on the South Yuba. PG&E discovered a leak in their Spaulding 1 Powerhouse below Lake Spaulding that required them to shut it down. Unfortunately, the failure creates a critical water supply issue for Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and could seriously impact NID customers and irrigators. Nevertheless, American Whitewater is informing the paddling community that the powerhouse outage will will increase the volume and duration of spring flows on the South Yuba including Yuba Gap, Washington to Edwards, Edwards to Purdons, Purdons to Bridgeport, and 49 to Bridgeport. 

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Wells River (VT) Whitewater Access to be Improved under New FERC License

03/28/2024 - by Robert Nasdor

The new hydropower license for the Newbury Hydroelectric Project on the Wells RIver in Vermont requires access impropovements to the whitewater takeout. Home to the Wells River Rumble, the new access will improve the current boater take-out -- a steep, narrow, poison ivy covered goat path.

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Public Input Needed for Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands NP (UT)

03/26/2024 - by Hattie Johnson

The confluence of the largest two rivers in the Southwest is a special place. Anyone who has traveled down the Green or Colorado rivers and seen where they join has undoubtedly been moved by these two lifelines in the desert becoming one. This confluence is inside Canyonlands National Park. Right now, there is a public comment period open for the National Park Service’s comprehensive river management  for the Green and Colorado rivers. Relevant to this planning process, American Whitewater has been working with partners over the past few years on a durable solution to the serious access issue at the take-out for Cataract Canyon. Use our Every Action form to share your thoughts.

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Georgians Ask Your Legislators to Affirm the Right to Float

02/22/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

The Georgia General Assembly is considering legislation that would subtly shift the rights of the public to navigate and otherwise enjoy the state’s rivers. This is the second such bill in as many years, and more legislative action is anticipated on the topic. The legislature is hearing from special interest groups that seek exclusive private rights to Georgia’s rivers, and they also need to hear from the public that is concerned for their basic rights to paddle the state’s rivers. Learn more and take action in this article! 

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State Legislation Threatens Spring Upper Yough Releases (MD)

02/22/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

New legislation is threatening spring releases on the Upper Youghiogheny, and we encourage Maryland residents to reach out to your state House and Senate legislators to share your concerns. The bill aims to subvert the state permit for the dam that was crafted through a science-based and balanced public process, and deliver benefits to reservoir-side homeowners at the expense of downstream river users. Specifically the bill would require the power company to expand their winter drawdown of the reservoir, jeopardizing spring releases that require a full reservoir. 

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2024 Southeast Advanced Release Calendar Announced!

11/20/2023 - by Kevin Colburn

American Whitewater and our affiliate clubs have spent the past 25 years working to restore flows to incredible Southeastern rivers impacted by dams. A lot of our work has focused on releases and access on Class II and III rivers like the lower Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Hiwassee, and Catawba, but we also secured releases in some classic steeper reaches previously dewatered by hydroelectric diversions. Each year we meet with power companies and agencies to schedule future releases, review ongoing ecology studies, and discuss any issues with the release programs. We strive to create a schedule with minimal conflicts to maximize recreational value. In this article you'll find the 2024 dates for the Class IV/V Cheoah, Nantahala Cascades & Upper, West Fork Tuck, and Tallulah rivers. 

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Index-Galena Road Providing North Fork Skykomish Access Repaired! (WA)

11/06/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

Nearly 20 years ago, the Index-Galena Road which provides access to the North Fork Skykomish River sustained heavy damage in a high water event that washed away portions of the road between milepost 6 and 7. The onset of fall rains coincided with the opening of the new road this past weekend and whitewater boaters have been among the first recreational users to get out and enjoy the restored access. We are pleased that the sustained efforts of our members and many partners helped keep this project on track.

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10/11/2023 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman


Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) operates 22 hydropower projects on 500 river miles across California that American Whitewater has spent nearly 30 years of work to protect and restore. This includes whitewater reaches on the North Fork Feather, the Pit, the McCloud, Butte Creek, Fordyce, the South Yuba, the Bear, the Eel, the Mokelumne, the San Joaquin and the North Fork Kings. Now, in an application before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E is proposing to transfer all non-nuclear assets including these 22 hydropower projects to a new and separate subsidiary, Pacific Generation LLC (PacGen). American Whitewater, believes that the CPUC should not simply rubber stamp the largest, unprecedented, and “first of its kind” handover of hydropower assets. This asset transfer will impact dam safety and the operation and maintenance of multiple projects that restore ecological and recreational releases to our rivers. We need paddlers to help persuade the CPUC to take heed. Read on to learn more and find out how you can help!

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Pit River (CA) Whitewater Boating Opportunities in September & October

09/04/2023 - by Scott Harding

Every late summer and early fall, it’s time for boating on California’s Pit River when the hydropower boating flow releases that American Whitewater has secured come into play. Here’s how it looks this season: there’s more whitewater than usual!

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Protection for the Headwaters of the Illinois and North Fork Smith Rivers (OR)

07/27/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

We are pleased to report that Representative Val Hoyle, the new representative for Oregon's 4th Congressional District has reintroduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act (SOWSPA) as her first piece of conservation legislation. This legislation will permanently protect the headwaters of Southwest Oregon’s outstanding collection of wild rivers—including the National Wild and Scenic Illinois and the National Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith, plus Pistol River and Hunter Creek—from the threat of mining in the headwaters.

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Clackamas River Visioning Public Input Opportunity (OR)

06/22/2023 - by Thomas O'Keefe

In 2020, Mt. Hood National Forest and surrounding communities experienced catastrophic wildfire events that damaged recreational sites and transportation assets along the Clackamas River corridor and have impacted visitation to the forest. American Whitewater was invited to join a visioning workshop with Forest Service staff this past week and there will be additional opportunities for public input in the coming week. We encourage the paddling community to participate in developing a future vision for the river corridor.


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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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A Big Win for Rivers in the Sierra & Sequoia National Forests (CA)!

07/25/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

The Sierra and Sequoia National Forests have released final forest land management plans containing protections for 498 miles of rivers found eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Since 2013, American Whitewater has been engaged in this forest planning process with the goal of getting California's whitewater resources included in the eligibility inventory and recognized for their outstandingly remarkable values. As a tenet of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, managing agencies like the Forest Service (USFS) provide interim protections for eligible river's free flowing character and outstandingly remarkable values until they can be designated by Congress. 


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