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Draft Environmental Impact Statements for Merced River and Tuolumne River Available for Public Review
Yosemite National Park announces the release of two Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statements for the Merced River (MRP) and the Tuolumne River (TRP) for public review and comment. The public comment period for the MRP is open now through Thursday, April 18, 2013. The public comment period for the TRP is open now through Monday, March 18, 2013. Both documents, in their entirety, are available for public review on the park's website beginning today.
In accordance with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Yosemite National Park is required to release a management plan that adequately protects the Merced River and the Tuolumne River. The Merced River was designated Wild and Scenic by the U.S. Congress in 1987 to preserve its free-flowing condition and to protect and enhance the values that made it unique. The Tuolumne River was designated Wild and Scenic in 1984 due to its rich natural, cultural, and scenic values.
The MRP presents the environmental analysis of six alternatives, including a No Action Alternative, the National Park Service (NPS) is considering, according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The park has identified Alternative Five as the Preferred Alternative:Enhanced Visitor Experiences and Essential Riverbank Restoration.
The Preferred Alternative will protect and enhance the Merced River's iconic resources in perpetuity and allow visitors the freedom to access Yosemite Valley by private vehicle, with expanded options for public transit; reduce traffic congestion and crowding and provides organized and efficient parking for day use visitors; expand the opportunity for overnight accommodations (camping and lodging) in Yosemite Valley; maintains Yosemite's positive effect on local and regional economies; replace substandard, temporary, and aging employee housing currently in the park with code compliant residences that fit the historic character and significance of Yosemite; and promote environmental sustainability and public safety by relocating facilities away from flood and rockfall hazards and on to more resilient, buildable sites.
The TRP presents the environmental analysis of four alternatives the National Park Service is considering, according to NEPA. The park has identified Alternative Four as the Preferred Alternative: Improving the Traditional Tuolumne Experience.
The Preferred Alternative seeks to retain a traditional Tuolumne experience while reducing development and making the visitor use more sustainable. Specifically, the alternative will allow for the restoration of informal trails, replanting of native vegetation, and the restoration of natural hydrologic conditions; continue to provide visitor access to the Tuolumne River; repair damaged riparian areas near the river and in meadows; maintain the health and integrity of the river system, while still providing access to the river without damaging sensitive areas.
For a copy of the plans and a complete description of all alternatives, please visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp. htm (MRP) o rhttp://www.nps.gov/yose/ parkmgmt/trp.htm (TRP). Comments on either DEIS can be made through the Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ yose_mrp (MRP) or http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ yose_trp (TRP). Comments made through the PEPC website are the preferred method of submission. However, comments can also be sent via email to e-mail us or via U.S. mail to:
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Merced River Plan or Attn: Tuolumne River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Public meetings will be held in multiple locations throughout the Yosemite area. Specific dates, locations, and times will be announced soon.
To learn more about how Yosemite inspires generations of visitors, please see our video entitled "The Yosemite Inspiration" at http://www.nps.gov/yose/ parkmgmt/planning.htm.