The mighty rivers of the Adirondack Region have been dammed and dewatered for more than a century. Once vibrant and free flowing, dams have damaged the natural river ecosystems of the region, home to diverse aquatic and terrestrial life. The Adirondack Region is renowned for its abundant recreational opportunities that have provided economic benefits to communities for over a century, yet these dams have reduced boating and fishing opportunities by inundating rapids, diverting flows, and dewatering natural river channels for miles. Public access to river corridors for recreation and aesthetics has been often been gated and posted, leaving entire river sections dewatered and inaccessible as communities have lost their connection to their natural resources.
American Whitewater is launching the Adirondacks River Restoration Campaign to restore and improve river flows for aquatic ecosystems and to improve recreation opportunities across the region. Over the next 10 years, more than 50 hydroelectric dams in New York are scheduled to get new 30 to 50-year federal licenses, creating a once in a generation opportunity to improve river conditions. In the Black River Basin alone, there are more than 20 hydropower dams on the Black, Beaver, and Moose rivers that will begin the relicensing process in the next year, and American Whitewater will need to participate with other partners in order to mitigate project impacts and achieve river restoration goals. Through these efforts, we will restore flows to dewatered river reaches, improve existing flows, enhance public access, and benefit communities throughout the region.
In order to assure that these dams are operated in a way that protects the aquatic habitat, recreation opportunity, and other environmental values, we will be joining together with public resource agencies, environmental advocacy groups, local communities, and concerned individuals to raise public awareness of the impact of hydropower dams on communities in the Adirondack Region with an emphasis on the Black, Beaver and Moose rivers. Through the combined efforts of these groups and individuals, we will assess opportunities for river restoration in the Adirondack Region through dam removal, flow restoration, habitat protection, recreation opportunity enhancement. The goal of the campaign is to develop and advocate for a plan to improve river ecosystems, public health, outdoor recreation economy.
For more information on the Adirondacks Rivers Restoration Campaign or to learn how you can support our efforts, please sign up here.