Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and EIS Image

The National Park Service (NPS) initiated the Yosemite National Park Merced Wild and Scenic River comprehensive management planning process in 1996. In 1999, NPS resumed the planning process after the U.S. District Court determined that the absence of a river management plan hindered NPS's ability to ensure that projects in the river corridor adequately protected the river.

ESA worked closely with Yosemite National Park to develop the 2000 Merced River Plan and EIS. The state-of-the-art management plan set the standard for Wild and Scenic River planning in the country. The plan includes management zoning to guide conservation and development practices in the river corridor, and policies to protect and enhance the Merced River's Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs). In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit directed the NPS to revise the Merced River Plan to address two issues: user capacity and the river boundary drawn for the El Portal Administrative Site. As the natural resources task leader for the Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS, ESA facilitated alternatives workshops and led the planning team through a Choosing by Advantages alternative selection process. On the basis of a recent settlement agreement, ESA is now collaborating with the Park to develop a new management plan and prepare the corresponding EIS, drawing on our expertise with the Wild and Scenic River Act and steering the Park through a contentious process of court-ordered deadlines.

ESA continues to assist NPS in creating a comprehensive management plan and navigating environmental compliance for the Yosemite National Park river corridor project. We are providing expertise in Wild and Scenic River Act compliance, extensive public outreach, scientific technical studies, and permitting.

Specialized Services

  • Air quality assessments
  • Baseline protocol and surveys
  • Biological assessments
  • Biotechnical bank stabilization and grade control
  • Channel and floodplain restoration design
  • Community and ecosystem adaptation plans
  • Community outreach programs
  • Content analysis
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Environmental impact statements
  • Floodplain mapping
  • Geomorphic assessments
  • Grade control and bank stabilization
  • High-quality cartographic mapping
  • Historical investigations, documentation, and plans
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling
  • Inventories and reporting
  • Modeling and analysis
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Native American, ethnographic, and archaeological studies
  • Park and land management plans
  • Project website; social media management and communication materials development
  • Public access, trail analysis and design
  • Real-time data collection systems
  • Restoration and reclamation plans
  • Schematic and conceptual design
  • Special status species surveys and inventories
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Traffic and parking studies
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Visual impact analyses
  • Watershed assessments
  • Wetland assessments
  • Wetland delineations
  • Wetland restoration
  • Wild and Scenic River Act
  • Wild and Scenic River management plans