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  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Yosemite National Park Continues Efforts to Restore the Wawona Meadow

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Date: November 4, 2010

Yosemite National Park contains approximately 3,000 meadows that range in elevation from 3,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Each of these plays an integral role in the parks biological diversity, with as many as one third of the park’s plant species located in these meadows. The Wawona Meadow, located in the southern portion of Yosemite National Park, has been severely altered by human activity over the past 60 years. This included the grazing of cattle and horses and an airstrip that was decommissioned in the late 1930’s. The Wawona Ecological Restoration Project, which began in September, is intended to restore the meadow to its natural condition.

The goals of the Wawona Meadow Ecological Restoration Project are to improve meadow hydrology, native plant communities, and wildlife habitat. While the lower portion of the Wawona Meadow was developed into a golf course in 1918, the upper 165 acres were left primarily in their natural state. This provides exceptional habitat that facilitates life for a plethora of plants and animals. In 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed two mile-long ditches through the upper portion of the Wawona Meadow which resulted in the drying of the meadows. This also resulted in drying out the adjacent areas and significantly changing plant communities. Sections of the ditch are now ten feet deep, which lowers the groundwater. Upland and non-native plants dominate these areas, which alter habitat for wildlife and insects.
The Wawona Meadow Ecological Restoration Project includes filling in the deepest sections of the ditch with soil to restore natural meadow topography and plant willows to help slow water flows. This will raise the groundwater elevation to levels needed to support wetland plants. Newly restored areas will be seeded with locally gathered seeds and planted with plugs of sod from nearby vegetation to support propagation of native plants. Monitoring of hydrology, plant communities, and wildlife will help determine the success of the project.

Work on the meadow restoration has been completed for this year and will resume in the spring of 2011.

Did You Know?

Merced River Gorge

Descending from Yosemite Valley, the Merced River becomes a continuous cascade in a narrow gorge littered by massive boulders. Dropping 2,000 feet in 14 miles, canyon walls rise steeply from the river and have many seasonal waterfalls cascading down to the river.