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Rincon Mine on the Colorado River STOPPED! (CO)

05/17/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater and our members helped stop a proposed gravel mine on the banks of the Colorado River – at least for now. The Rincon gravel mine would have been adjacent to the Dotsero Landing river access near the confluence of the Colorado and Eagle Rivers in Eagle County. The project threatened to diminish the scenery, air quality, wildlife, and overall experience of boaters and recreationists of all types on the Colorado River where Eagle County and the state have invested time and resources to improve and protect water quality, river flows and recreation. 

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Nine Days of Whitewater Flows for the San Joaquin River on Horseshoe Bend (CA)

05/09/2024 - by Jeffrey Venturino and Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Southern California Edison (SCE) has released the first 2024 forecast for flows on the San Joaquin River Horseshoe Bend Reach. As of May 21st, 2024, SCE anticipates providing boatable flows from May 25th to June 2nd. SCE’s operating license requires that they release up to 9 days of boating flows in wetter water years using a prolonged ramp down. These boating flows range from 3500 to 1600 cfs. However, keep in mind these dates are a forecast and are subject to change based on when SCE actually has control of spill. A slow ramp down of spill mimics a natural snowmelt period which improves conditions for native aquatic fish and mussels, controls invasive species that thrive in warmer water, and provides whitewater recreation opportunities. This boating flow requirement is a result of American Whitewater’s negotiated Long Term Operating Rules for the Big Creek 4 hydropower project.

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Ask the Forest Service to Protect Our Nation's Headwaters

05/09/2024 - by Hattie Johnson

Healthy headwaters are integral to the flowing and functioning rivers and streams we all love to paddle. An incredibly crucial aspect of these headwaters are fens. Fens are a rare type of “old-growth” wetland that play a crucial role in climate resilience and are renowned as biodiversity hotspots and natural reservoirs.In Colorado, there are reservoirs being proposed now - like Homestake II in the headwaters of the Eagle River - that could affect these headwater fens on National Forest lands. Join us in signing this petition asking the Forest Service to create strong safeguards for this most precious water resource.

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American Whitewater Reaches Major Milestone for Big Sandy Land Stewardship (WV)

05/09/2024 - by Kevin Colburn

Thanks to the generosity of the boating community, American Whitewater is pleased to announce that we’ve met our fundraising goal for the purchase and permanent stewardship of our new property on the Big Sandy! In January of this year, American Whitewater purchased 4.25 miles of river frontage spanning almost the entire river-left side of the Lower Big Sandy gorge, the remainder of which is already under conservation ownership. We’ve now raised the funds needed to cover perpetual stewardship of the land by the West Virginia Land Trust. Protecting this land is a testament to what our river-loving community is capable of and we would like to thank all who contributed to this effort! American Whitewater is now in the process of transferring the land to the West Virginia Land Trust, which we hope to complete this year. Under the Land Trust’s care, the Big Sandy will continue to charm paddlers and other visitors for generations to come.

 

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Access Improvements on the Taylor River (CO) 

05/06/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater is partnering with the Gunnison Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, outfitters, and the local boating community to secure river access improvements at the The Slot access area on the Taylor River in Colorado. The access improvements aim to improve safety, erosion issues, and the user experience for all types of river users enjoying the Taylor River Canyon. When the time comes, we will be reaching out to our members, partners, and supporters to help us reach our fundraising goals for the project. Stay tuned for additional updates as we make progress on the improvement designs. If you have questions about this project or want to be involved please reach out to Kestrel Kunz at kestrel@americanwhitewater.org.

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Big Canyon Dams Denied in Grand Canyon (AZ)

05/03/2024 - by Kestrel Kunz

On April 25, 2024, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the preliminary permit application for a large pumped storage hydropower project on Big Canyon after the same developer tried and failed to build a large pumped hydro project directly on the Little Colorado River. Big Canyon is a tributary of the Little Colorado River just miles from the heart of the Grand Canyon; the project would have relied on dwindling groundwater supplies to fill a large reservoir. The Little Colorado River, from its confluence with the Grand Canyon to its own canyons and tributaries upstream, has been the center of a series of proposed development projects that threaten the sensitive and culturally significant watershed. FERC’s notice not only denies Pumped Hydro Storage’s permit application and essentially kills the project, it properly applies FERC’s new policy to require Tribal support for hydropower projects proposed on Tribal land. 

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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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PG&E PROPOSAL IMPACTS 500 MILES OF CA RIVERS

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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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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American Whitewater Prevails in Case to Protect the Tuolumne River

06/21/2022 - by Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

In a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, American Whitewater and our allies prevailed to uphold the Clean Water Act in protection of the Tuolumne River. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act which requires that any utility applying for a hydropower license that may discharge pollutants into waters of the United States must receive state certification ensuring the project complies with all state standards for beneficial use, water quality, and anti-degradation of the waterway. The case brought forth by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts (the Districts) challenged a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order upholding California’s clean water certification for the Don Pedro and La Grange Hydropower Projects located on the Tuolumne River. 

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It’s Finally Time to Protect Colorado’s West Slope Rivers!

08/16/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

Today, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Unit announced the much-anticipated release of the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft Plan materials were released on Friday, August 13, initiating a 90-day review period. The GMUG National Forest is home to gems like Oh-Be-Joyful Creek, the Taylor River, Norwood Canyon on the San Miguel, and numerous others. Many of these rivers are free-flowing and offer outstanding values, including paddling, breathtaking scenery, fish habitat, and profound history and culture. This point in the plan revision process is the most important time for the river community to engage and speak up to protect our beloved West Slope rivers in Colorado!

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Black Canyon Put-In Closed for 2021 Season (CO)

04/06/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

The National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that the East Portal Road which serves as the put-in for the Black Canyon section of the Gunnison River will be closed for maintenance for the duration of the 2021 season. While the road closure is an unfortunate obstacle for many this season, the needed maintenance of the road will lead to fewer unexpected road closures due to rockfall and will improve access to the Black Canyon for the long term. American Whitewater will track the status of the road closure and we will share an update as soon as access to the Black Canyon is reopened.  

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Train Operations in Eagle and Arkansas Corridors to Require Full Review (CO)

03/25/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

This morning, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) made a much-anticipated decision on the revival of the Tennessee Pass Rail Line - a 160-mile rail line that follows the Eagle and Arkansas Rivers between Sage and Parkdale, Colorado. The STB formally rejected Colorado, Midland and Pacific Railway’s (CMPR) request to be exempt from oversight and regulation of their proposed operation on the line, which would be leased under an agreement with Union Pacific. This decision comes nearly three months after CMPR filed a notice of exemption on December 31, 2020, as people were bringing in the new year. 

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Help Protect Colorado’s Western Slope Rivers this Valentine’s Day

02/09/2021 - by Kestrel Kunz

American Whitewater is asking the paddling community to step up this Valentine’s Day to help protect rivers like the Taylor, Oh-Be-Joyful, and San Miguel rivers in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) in Colorado. This Valentine’s Day and for the whole month of February we are collecting LOVE LETTERS from you to your favorite river in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre National Forests. We want to hear directly from you about why you love these rivers and why they are worth protecting. We have made this easy-to-use form to submit your letter to us! 



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