Cascades Diversion Dam Removal

Yosemite National Park


Cascades Diversion Dam, once located on the Merced River just west of Yosemite Valley, was removed in 2004 followed by re-vegetation and monitoring of the river channel. After 68 years of operation, the hydroelectric facility associated with the dam was taken offline in the mid-1980s due to decay. The deteriorated dam, built of cribs formed by logs or square timbers spiked together, had spanned 184 feet with a crest height of approximately 17 feet. The National Park Service intended to restore the free-flowing conditions of the Merced, in keeping with its designation as a Wild and Scenic River. Removal has allowed for natural channel grades and hydrologic processes along this segment of river. Removal also eliminated the potential uncontrolled collapse of the dam, which had been weakened by the 1997 flood. (3 minutes 50 seconds)