Representatives from various whitewater organizations including the AMC, FLOW, American Whitewater and others have been meeting and corresponding with the Army Corps of Engineers since March 1998 regarding the Corps’ lack of communication and steady reduction of whitewater releases on their dams in New England especially on the West River.
Knowing full well of the concerns of the whitewater groups, the Army Corps of Engineers met separately with and reached flow agreements with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and deliberately excluded the whitewater representatives from this process. Subsequent meetings and correspondence with the Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources have resulted in no progress.
As a result of the agreement made between ACOE and these agencies, Spring releases on the West which historically took place over two weekends in April and May have been reduced to one April weekend. In addition these agencies eliminated the second day whitewater release on the Fall weekend, unless there is an unusual amount of rain.
NO ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE OF ANY KIND TO THE WEST RIVER ECOSYSTEM BY WHITEWATER RELEASES THAT HAVE BEEN ONGOING FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED.
The alleged basis for the new dam operating rules is the possibility that environmental damage might occur. In fact, non of the agencies have conducted fish habitat flow studies on the West. Instead, they are relying purely on a “one size fits all” generic base flow level set by the USF&W. We believe that whitewater releases are not environmentally significant given the manner in which the dam has been operated historically. We protest being deliberately left out of the negotiation process and being listened to ‘with a deaf ear’ in our subsequent meetings