(Chelan, WA) A plan developed jointly by American Whitewater and Chelan PUD reduces weekend water releases into the Chelan River Gorge for whitewater boating to one weekend a year from the four weekends originally ordered in the dam’s 50-year license granted in 2006.
On Monday, Kris Pomianek, recreation resources adviser, told PUD commissioners the annual water release balances recreation with operational certainty for the hydro project as the number of kayakers has decreased during a three-year study of the activity. The plan was approved by federal dam regulators on July 16.
“… Which is really nice for Chelan PUD, and is really nice for American Whitewater because it brings all the boaters together (for the one event),” Pomianek said.
The new schedule starts this year on Sept. 15 and 16, with flows of 375 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Saturday and 400 cfs on Sunday. (Minimum flow in the gorge is 80 cfs year-round and is currently about 140 cfs.) Whitewater boaters must register by 5 p.m. on Friday, sign a liability waiver before launching and be approved by American Whitewater, which has the responsibility for overseeing the runs.
The PUD will continue to evaluate Chelan River whitewater boating and update recommendations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission every three years over the term of the license.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Applauded the addition of $25,000 to the Andrew York Memorial Scholarship fund from proceeds of June’s Andrew York Lineman Rodeo. Daryn Klinginsmith and Sarah DeLozier, lineman rodeo committee members, thanked board members for their support and presented the check to Beth Stipe of the Community Foundation of NCW, which manages the fund. The scholarship honors the memory of Chelan PUD journeyman lineman Andrew York who died in 2000 from injuries suffered while on the job when he was hit by a drunken driver. In eight years, the lineman rodeo has provided $24,000 in scholarships to Washington state graduating high school seniors active in preventing teen drug and alcohol abuse. The endowment now totals about $86,700.