Merced River Plan Documents

Merced River with view of Yosemite Valley in background
 

On This Page Navigation

 

Learn and Explore

This page contains a wide range of documents related to the Merced River Plan, with the most recent documents listed first. The National Park Service prepared the initial Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan in August 2000. After multiple lawsuits and litigations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion on March 27, 2008, expanding the scope of what the NPS had previously understood must be included in a legally valid Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan. Public scoping on the new Merced River Plan was initiated and over the course of numerous years many documents were compiled throughout this complicated planning process.

 

Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (February 2014)

Record of Decision (March 2014)

Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (February 2014)

The Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Final Merced River Plan/EIS) is divided into three volumes (The complete five-volume Plan and EIS (approximately 3,000 pages). Volume 1: Chapters 1-8 provides the framework for comprehensive management plan, as well as the range of alternatives. Volume 2 contains Chapters 9-13, which provides the analysis of impacts associated with each alternative and information about consultation efforts. Volume 3 contains Appendices A-T which provide additional detail and specific evaluations to support the plan's framework and decisions.

 

Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (January 2013)

The Draft Merced River Plan/EIS was released on January 8, 2013. Originally, the 100-day comment period was slated to close on April 18, 2013. In response to several requests for an extension, the comment period was extended through April 30, 2013. The NPS hosted ten public meetings and four webinars. The NPS received 4,098 individual unique correspondences and 25,302 form letters.

The Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is a complex publication, derived from a sophisticated and lengthy planning process. The Merced River Draft Plan is made up of more than 2,500 pages broken into 13 chapters and 15 appendices. It contains sets of maps and conceptual site plans prepared for common-to-all actions and for each alternative. Depending on your viewing preference, you can view the Merced River Draft Plan by volume or by chapter.

The Summary Guide
along with an Alternative Matrix served as a condensed digest of the Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The 20-page guide describes the plan's framework and gives insight into important considerations for managing a Wild and Scenic River within a national park.

Volume 1: Chapters 1-8

Chapter 8: Alternatives

Chapter 8: Planning Maps

Within Chapter 8, maps of key locations orient readers to the river plan's planning areas-Curry Village and Campgrounds; Yosemite Village and Housekeeping Camp; Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4; West Yosemite Valley; El Portal; Wawona; and Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. Find sets of maps organized by alternative to view the context in which the actions and facilities are situated.

Chapter 8: Conceptual Site Drawings

Within Chapter 8, site drawings of key locations also orient readers to select planning areas-Curry VillageYosemite Village Day-use Parking AreaValley Maintenance Yard and Yosemite Lodge Day-use Parking Area.Find sets of conceptual site drawings organized by alternative to demonstrate where facilities would be removed, relocated or constructed.

Volume 2A: Chapter 9

Chapter 9: Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences

Volume 2B: Chapters 9 (continued)-13

Appendices

  • Appendix A: Actions that Amend the 'General Management Plan [700 kb PDF]
  • Appendix B: Cumulative Actions [154 kb PDF]
  • Appendix C: Mitigation Measures [239 kb PDF]
  • Appendix D: Draft Floodplain Statement of Findings [174 kb PDF]
  • Appendix E: Proposed Restoration Actions [10.8 MB PDF]
  • Appendix F: Acoustical Measurement Locations [262 kb PDF]
  • Appendix G: On-road Vehicle Criteria Pollutant and GHG Emission Estimates [100 kb PDF]
  • Appendix H: Scenic Vista Management [3.3 MB PDF]
  • Appendix I: Yosemite Valley Historic District Resources [103 kb PDF]
  • Appendix J: NHPA Assessment of Effect for Site-specific Actions [222 kb PDF]
  • Appendix K: Management Considerations and Actions [406 kb PDF]
  • Appendix L: Determination of Extent Necessary [234 kb PDF]
  • Appendix M: Changes to the ORVs Over Time [229 kb PDF]
  • Appendix N: Draft Biological Assessment [1 MB PDF]
  • Appendix O: Draft Wetland Statement of Findings [16.5 MB PDF]
 

Draft Merced River Plan/EIS Public Meeting Documents (Winter/Spring 2013)

The Draft Merced River Plan/EIS was released on January 8, 2013. A variety of public webinars and workshops were held during the public comment period, which ended April 30, 2013. During this time, Yosemite hosted several informational webinars to brief the public on the plan's key elements prior to the start of the public meetings in February 2013. As part of the meeting schedule, a socioeconomic workshop considered the social, financial, and economic impacts of project alternatives within the draft plan.

Webinar Slides

  • Preferred Alternative webinar slides [11.4 MB PDF]
  • Protecting and Enhancing River Values webinar slides [13.5 MB PDF]
  • User Capacity and Visitation webinar slides [5 MB PDF]
  • Socioeconomics webinar slides [635 kb PDF]

Public Meeting Slides and Posterboards

  • Draft Yosemite Valley parking inventory [142 kb PDF]
  • MRP socioeconomic public meeting slides [635 kb PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan: Groveland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles meeting slides [10.2 MB PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan: Wawona meeting slides [10 MB PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan: Oakhurst meeting slides [9.7 MB PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan: Mariposa meeting slides [7.5 MB PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan: El Portal meeting slides [7.5 MB PDF]
  • Merced River Draft Plan slides at Yosemite Valley Open House [7.3 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 6 [6.6 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 5 Site Drawings [16.9 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 5 Maps [14.6 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 5 (Preferred) [6 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 4 [6.5 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 3 [5.8 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Alternative 2 [5.8 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Common to Alts 2-6 [4 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: Public Engagement [5.5 MB PDF]
  • Public Meeting Posterboard: WSRA [5.9 MB PDF]

Draft Merced River Plan/EIS Factsheets (Winter 2013)

 

Summer 2012

After the spring 2012 workshops, the Yosemite Planning Division engaged the public through webinars, public meetings, and the release of documents.

  • Yosemite National Park, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and other academic researchers, completed a comprehensive rock-fall hazard and risk assessment for Yosemite Valley. Park geologist Greg Stock presented the scientific methods used to derive a rock-fall hazard line, the results of risk analyses of structures and campsites, and actions proposed by the park to reduce this risk. (July 2012)
  • Yosemite National Park presented the framework that was being developed to achieve protection and enhancement of Outstanding Remarkable Values (ORVs) of the Merced Wild and Scenic River. Park planners, scientists, and user-capacity experts were present to collaborative dialogue throughout the day. (August 2012)
    • "Protection and Enhancement of Outstandingly Remarkable Values"

      • Agenda: With five-part presentation outline [48 kb PDF]
      • Meeting Notes [182 kb PDF]
      • Part 1 Slide Show: Merced River Plan Framework [857 kb PDF]
      • Part 2: Recreation ORV and River-use Study [10 MB PDF]
      • Part 3: Facilities and Services Analysis [364 kb PDF]
      • Part 4: Background to User Capacity [641 kb PDF]
      • Part 5: Addressing User Capacity [11.2 MB PDF]
 

Preliminary Alternative Workshops (Spring 2012)

The MRP Spring 2012 Preliminary Alternative Concepts Workshops were aimed to allow participants to examine a range of potential visitor experiences designed to be protective of river values. The final plan will guide the care and protection of the Merced River for the next 15 to 20 years. A workbook helped prepare the public to attend one of our four public workshops and two webinars.

 

Merced River Planning Workbook and Workshops (2011)

In 2011, workshops were held to identify options to protect river values.

 

Science Forum and Workshops (Spring 2011)

Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plan (MRP) team hosted a series of workshops and a science forum in the spring of 2011. These workshops were a chance to find out more about the conditions of the river's Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) and management considerations that need to be addressed in a successful Merced River Plan. The workshops focused on transportation, user capacity, and the Merced River's ORVs.

Hydrology, Biology, and Geology Workshop

This workshop focused on the biologic, hydrologic and geologic outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs) of the Merced Wild and Scenic River. Presenters identified the major issues that have arisen due to past and present uses. To examine specific issues pertaining to free flow of the river a park hydrologist discussed removal of large, woody debris, accelerated riverbank erosion, and the disrupted connectivity between the river and floodplain. Additionally, a park botanist identified impacts and stressors to meadows including social trails, ditches and invasive species and will discuss potential management actions and ecological restoration.

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Introduction [2.1 MB PDF]

  2. Presentation 2: Overview of the Merced Wild and Scenic River's Geological Hydrological and Biological Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) [3.1 MB PDF]

  3. Presentation 3: History of Use and Management within the Merced River Corridor [6.9 MB PDF]

  4. Presentation 4: River Issues in Yosemite Valley: large wood management, bridges, and loss of riparian vegetation [3.4 MB PDF]

  5. Presentation 5: The Meadows of yosemite Valley: Impacts and Stressors [3 MB PDF]

Transportation Workshop

The purpose of this workshop was to gain a common understanding of transportation issues and constraints and how these may affect river values. The Merced River Plan identifies opportunities for different types of transportation options that provide visitor access while offering a quality experience and protecting river values. The workshop provided the public with the opportunity to participate in discussions about the various transportation and related access options that were going to be considered in the plan and how these may affect river values and their experiences.

The workshop showcased research, modeling and other information related to transportation considerations that will inform the development of the Merced River Plan.

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Introduction
  2. Presentation 2: Transportation Issues and the Merced River Plan [1.2 MB PDF]
  3. Presentation 3: Current Transportation Conditions [4 MB PDF]
  4. Presentation 4: Video simulations of traffic patterns in currently congested areas of Yosemite Valley [52 MB PDF]
  5. Presentation 5: How Transportation and Access Options Affect River Values [3.6 MB PDF]

Cultural Resources Workshop

This workshop presented scientific and legal information about the cultural resources ORVs within the Merced Wild and Scenic river corridor. The workshop also included an update on the overall planning process, and followed with presentations and facilitated discussions specific to the cultural resources ORVs that provide the following:

  • Legal background for considering cultural resources in the planning process;

  • An understanding of the ORVs and their baseline conditions;

  • Cultural resource issues that are being considered in the planning process; and

  • Potential management actions for protecting and enhancing cultural resource ORVs.
  • Agenda [136 kb PDF]
  • Presenter Bios. [95 kb PDF]
  • Comment Form [99 kb PDF]

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Introduction [2.5 MB PDF]
  2. Presentation 2: Overview of Cultural Resources Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) [3.1 MB PDF]
  3. Presentation 3: Discussion of Cultural Resource ORVs and their Conditions [2.7 MB PDF]
  4. Presentation 4: Cultural Resources and Historic Properties Consideration [2.4 MB PDF]
  5. Presentation 5: Selected Case Studies - Illustrating Challenges [1.3 MB PDF]

User Capacity Workshop

This workshop outlined how the National Park Service will meet Wild and Scenic River Act requirements to address user capacity, or the kinds and amounts of visitor use that can be accommodated in the Merced River corridor without negatively affecting river values. Foundational aspects of this process were discussed along with engaging the public in first hand case examples. Relevant science and information was brought to bear on this important topic to illustrate how user capacity was going to be addressed the planning effort.

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Introduction [2.5 MB PDF]
  2. Presentation 2: Addressing Capacity: What is the process for the Merced? (Part One) [7 MB PDF]
  3. Presentation 3: Addressing User Capacity for the Merced Wild and Scenic River in Yosemite National Park (Part 2) [2 MB PDF]
  4. Presentation 4: Why are Conditions Important? How indicators and standards identify when river values are being compromised [6.6 MB PDF]
  5. Presentation 5: How does use affect Conditions? Understanding use-condition relationships and identifying capacities [6 MB PDF]
  6. Presentation 6: How do capacities fit into plan alternatives? [3.4 MB PDF]

Science Forum

In May 2011 the National Park Service hosted a science forum to provide the results of several research projects commissioned by the Merced River Plan. These studies were intended to expand the park’s existing knowledge of the Merced River's water quality, its free-flowing condition, and its Outstandingly Remarkable Values (those values that merit the river's designation as wild and scenic, pursuant to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act).

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Status Update: Comprehensive Geologic Hazard and Risk Assessment [4.7 MB PDF]
  2. Presentation 2: Water Supply Impacts Assessments for Yosemite Valley and Wawona [2.7 MB PDF]
  3. Presentation 3: Yosemite Valley Merced River Condition Assessments [3.5 MB PDF]
  4. Presentation 4: A Preliminary Assessment of Meadow Conditions in the Merced River Corridor [5 MB PDF]
  5. Presentation 5: Special Status Plant Species in the Merced River Corridor [3.9 MB PDF]
  6. Presentation 6: Wildlife Special Status Species [2 MB PDF]
  7. Presentation 7: Historic Resource Survey for El Portal [10 MB PDF]
  8. Presentation 8: Baseline Data Collection in the Three Archeological Districts of the Merced River Corridor [4 MB PDF]
  9. Presentation 9 & 10: Integrating Transportation and Visitor Use Research and Modeling Transportation and Visitor Use Components [59.5 MB PDF] (large file due to embedded simulation models)

Recreation Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to develop a common understanding of recreation activities and related resource protection along the Merced River. A social scientist along with other park planners, scientists, and operations specialists will present an overview of current recreation conditions and managerial considerations. The conversations generated in this workshop will provide a foundation for dialog between park managers and the public as the Merced River Plan is developed.

Presentations

  1. Presentation 1: Introduction [2.7 MB PDF]

  2. Presentation 2: Background of Recreation in Yosemite and Overview of Recreation Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) (by river segment) [6.8 MB PDF]

 

General Documents and Updates (2011)

 
 

Public Scoping (2007-2010)

The first four documents below summarize the public comments received from 2007 through 2010 on the scope of the new Merced River Plan. The 2007 Public Scoping Comments and the 2009-2010 Public Scoping Comments are unedited compilations of all substantive comment letters the NPS received during those two scoping periods. The file entitled Merced River Plan Public Scoping Comment Summary summarizes the public comments received from both scoping periods; it is intended to be a guide to the major ideas submitted by the public. Comments pertaining to natural and cultural resource subjects were analyzed separately by park staff and are included in the Merced River Plan Public Scoping Comment Summary Supplement.

 

Various References and Research (1994 - 2014)

Yosemite National Park commissioned several 2010 research projects into facets of the Merced River's natural or cultural history. These river-related research studies were intended to augment the park's existing knowledge base of the current conditions of the Merced Wild and Scenic River as well as its condition at the time of designation in 1987. Yosemite staff completed these projects with assistance from National Park Service contractors, university professors, and U.S. Geological Survey personnel. The results of this research, combined with existing resources knowledge, has assisted park managers in assessing the condition of the river's values, including water quality, free-flowing condition, and outstandingly remarkable values. These are the values that merit the river's designation as "Wild and Scenic," pursuant to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Merced Wild and Scenic River Values Final Baseline Conditions Report

The Merced Wild and Scenic River Values Draft Baseline Conditions Report, first published in April 2011, has been updated in July 2012 to include insight from research studies, as well as pertinent information from public review and comment on the report.

The condition assessment of the river values has been an iterative and ongoing process and is a critical part of the foundational framework of the Merced River Plan (MRP). Management actions proposed in the MRP will address issues brought forward as a result of the condition assessment.

Additional Research

Yosemite's resource specialists gained an updated understanding on cultural resources in the river corridor throughout this planning process. The park completed an archeological ORV condition assessment [124 kb PDF] and an archeological site-stock use impact report. Due to culturally-sensitive details, these reports cannot, by law, be published for review.

 


Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement [in sections] (June 2005)

Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (2000)

Last updated: March 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Phone:

209/372-0200

Contact Us