January 19, 2005
Public Comment Period Open for Draft Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS
The National Park Service announces the opening of the public review and comment period for the Draft Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The public is invited to review the document and submit written comments through March 22, 2005.
The revised plan will amend the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan, originally completed and approved in 2000. The specific purpose of the revision is to remedy the plan’s two deficiencies as identified by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Namely, the plan must adequately address the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act’s user capacity requirement by creating “specific measurable limits on use.” The Court also specified that the revised plan must draw a corridor boundary in El Portal that protects and enhances the river’s Outstandingly Remarkable Values—those unique qualities that make the river worthy of protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The revision will also describe how the comprehensive management plan amends the park’s 1980 General Management Plan.
The draft document proposes four alternatives evaluating the environmental impacts associated with a user capacity program for the entire corridor under NPS management. The draft also analyzes four alternatives for a revised river boundary in the El Portal Administrative Site.
The NPS manages 81 miles of the 122-mile Merced Wild and Scenic River, including the main stem in Yosemite National Park and the El Portal Administrative Site, as well as the South Fork through Wawona. The plan does not prescribe management of uses and activities on private land.
If approved, these revisions will amend the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan, which guides future management in the river corridor. As a whole, the plan serves as a template against which all activities and projects must be evaluated in order to insure the protection and enhancement of the river’s unique values.
To request a hard copy or CD ROM, call 209/379-1365 or write to the park as specified below.
During the comment period, public meetings will be held in a number of local communities, as well as in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. At that time, participants can talk with the planning team and submit written and oral comments. The dates and specific locations will be announced through this e-newsletter, on the park’s planning web site, and in a later news release.
Comments will also be accepted at the next NPS Open House, to be held January 26 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the East Auditorium, located behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.
Send written comments to the park via fax (209/379-1294), (e-mail us), or mail (Yosemite National Park Superintendent, Attn: Revised MRP/SEIS, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389). All comments must be postmarked no later than March 22, 2005.
For information on this and other planning efforts in Yosemite National Park, go to www.nps.gov/yose/planning.
You can learn more about this project at www.nps.gov/yose/planning/mrp.