The owners of Hawks Nest Dam on the New River Dries is undertaking a thorough inspection of the Hawks Nest Tunnel this fall, something that has not been done since completion of the tunnel over 85 years ago. This work, slated to begin on September 8, 2020 and last for 60 days, will will require drawing down the reservoir 20+ feet and result in 2 months of natural flows in the New River Dries. Flows should be boatable non-stop during this period. The drawdown may also expose seldom-seen rapids on the New River beneath the Hawks Nest Reservoir.
American Whitewater and others negotiated a new stream gage in the Dries as well as new river access areas on the New River Dries that will help paddlers enjoy the Dries this fall. While the Dries often flow at high and flashy levels following big winter and spring rains that cause flows to overwhelm the hydropower diversion, this fall could provide for more moderate and predictable flows during warmer weather.
This summer marked the second summer of scheduled releases on the Dries, and we hope paddlers had a great time. American Whitewater worked hard to secure these summer releases, and they will continue for over 4 decades to come. The fall drawdown however is a special event that may not reoccur for many years.