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Recreation Flow Assessment Study

As described in the Revised Study Plan for the Hawks Nest and Glen Ferris Projects, which was approved by FERC in May 2013, Brookfield is conducting a Recreation Flow Assessment of the Hawks Nest bypass reach. Experienced boaters are invited to participate in the Recreation Flow Assessment through participation in the Controlled Whitewater Releases (500 cfs – 3,000 cfs) or the Extended Whitewater Evaluation (any flow).

Controlled Whitewater Releases (500 cfs – 3,000 cfs)

As part of the Recreation Flow Assessment Study, Brookfield conducted a series of six controlled recreational flow evaluations at flow levels ranging between 500 cfs and 3,000 cfs. Study participants wererequested to participate in all of the controlled releases, to the greatest extent possible.

Brookfield closely monitored flows in the New River, as well as forecasted rainfall patterns within the river basin and regionally in preparation for these releases.

The first controlled flow releases were conducted on August 28, 2013 (500 cfs) and August 29, 2013 (1,000 cfs). The remaining controlled flow releases were conducted on May 6, 2014 (2,000 cfs and 2,500 cfs) and May 7, 2014 (1,500 cfs and 3,000 cfs).

Brookfield is currently compiling and processing the results of the evaluation forms completed for these releases and thanks everyone who participated in or helped with the controlled flow evaluations.

Extended Whitewater Evaluation

The Extended Whitewater Evaluation provides an opportunity for experienced boaters who already kayak or raft in the bypass reach at flows higher than 3,000 cfs, or flows up to 3,000 cfs that occur outside of the controlled flow releases, to provide information through the Extended Whitewater Evaluation.

Survey forms have been developed to collect information about users’ overall experiences and the desirability of the run at a particular flow in the bypass reach. Study participants may complete multiple Post-Run Surveys to provide survey information on different flows or watercraft. This additional information will assist Brookfield and Recreation Flow Study participants in assessing whitewater opportunities in the Hawks Nest bypass reach.

To assist boaters in identifying potential upcoming spill events that may provide whitewater opportunities, Brookfield is providing additional information about forecasting flows in the Hawks Nest bypass reach through this website.

Unlike the six controlled whitewater releases, the extended whitewater evaluations are not formally organized and supervised by Brookfield. The extended whitewater evaluations are an attempt to capture feedback from those who choose to boat the by-pass on their own and should not be interpreted as Brookfield condoning or encouraging the activity.

Extended Whitewater Evaluation Participation Requirements

Participation in the Extended Whitewater Evaluation is voluntary. The study period was scheduled to end on July 31, 2014 but has been extended to September 30. 2014. All study participants must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age;
  2. Submit a signed Waiver;
  3. Submit basic background recreational information by completing the Pre-Run Survey; and
  4. Submit a Post-Run Survey form for each evaluated flow.*
*Please be sure to provide the date of your run. The flow can be left blank, if unknown.

There are two options to complete the Extended Whitewater Evaluation Survey. Either option is acceptable. For additional information regarding the Extended Whitewater Evaluation or questions on how to complete the survey, please contact

Option 1: Mail or Email Submittal

Participants may complete the Extended Whitewater Evaluation using the original process of submitting forms by email or mail. Participants wishing to complete the survey using this option can access the Waiver, Pre-Run, and Post Run survey forms at the following links:

1. Waiver (pdf);
2. Pre-Run Survey form (Word) (pdf); and
3. Post-Run Survey form (Word) (pdf)*

*Please note that Post-Run Survey forms will not be processed until receipt of the Waiver and Pre-Run Survey form.

Participants using Option 1 should submit the Waiver and completed survey forms to or mail the completed forms to: 

Hawks Nest Survey
HDR Engineering, Inc.
1304 Buckley Road, Suite 202
Syracuse, NY 13212

Option 2: Direct-Entry Online Survey

Alternatively, a direct-entry online survey is available at: Hawks Nest Extended Whitewater Evaluation -- Online Survey. Survey participants will be prompted to complete and electronically sign the Waiver and the Pre-Run Survey forms before accessing the Post-Run Survey questions. The direct-entry online survey allows participants to complete the survey entirely online and does not require participants to email or mail completed Waiver or survey forms.

Forecasting Flows in the Hawks Nest Bypass Reach

As described in the Revised Study Plan, flows realized to Hawks Nest Dam are driven primarily by releases made from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) Bluestone Lake Dam (located approximately 59 miles upstream, and just upstream of the USGS Hinton gauge), as well as by unregulated intervening drainage (mainly from the Greenbrier River). Under most circumstances, the travel time of nominal releases between Bluestone and Hawks Nest dams averages approximately 12 hours (low flows can take up to 24 hours, high flows can arrive in as little as 6 hours).

  • For the period of this Recreation Flow Study, it should be expected that typically 7,500 cfs of incoming flows to Hawks Nest Lake will be conveyed to the Hawks Nest Powerhouse, with remaining flow released over the dam into the bypass reach. Please note that other sources of information may state that 10,000 cfs is conveyed to the powerhouse. However, one of the four generating units at the powerhouse is presently unavailable, reducing the amount of water that can currently pass through the plant.
  • The USGS New River Below Hawks Nest Dam gage measures stage (the height of flow) in the Hawks Nest bypass reach. Brookfield and USGS are cooperating to develop a stage-discharge ating curve to convert stage to discharge. A preliminary version of this curve is available for use in the relicensing studies.

Upstream river gages, in combination with regional weather forecasts, are valuable tools for forecasting the range of flows that will be passed at Hawks Nest Dam:

  • The National Weather Service also maintains a 3-day projection of flows of the New River at Hinton.
  • The White Water Page maintained by the USACE Huntington District provides a snapshot of river conditions at locations upstream of Hawks Nest.
  • The USGS New River at Thurmond gage can reasonably represent inflow conditions to Hawks Nest Dam under most conditions.

Revised September 6, 2013