Congressional efforts to turn part of the Wild and Scenic Merced River into a reservoir are
heating up, and American Whitewater needs your continued help in standing up for the Merced and
all Wild and Scenic Rivers.
On June 12, the House introduced the “Conservation
and Economic Growth Act
”. The bill includes HR 2578, which proposes to roll back the
boundary of the Wild and Scenic Merced River to allow Merced Irrigation District to raise New
Exchequer Dam and expand McClure Reservoir. The bill will likely be heard in the House
next week, and your Representatives need to hear from you about how important the Merced
is. Find your representative
The section facing inundation is not only part of the best wilderness paddling experience on the
Merced below Yosemite National Park, but also supports biking, hiking and camping – which
will all be lost if this bill passes. HR 2578 would be a blow to the local recreation
The area also provides important habitat for eagles, trout and the state protected limestone
salamander. When the reach was designated in the early 1990’s, 90% of California’s
Central Valley low elevation riparian habitat had already been lost to human activity – we
can’t afford to lose more.
The Merced bill is packaged with 13 other bills in the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, most
of which are bad news for public lands. For example, the National Security and Federal Lands
Protection Act (H.R. 1505) will create a zone 100 miles wide along our borders with Mexico and
Canada where the Department of Homeland Security would be exempt from the Clean Water Act, the
National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and dozens
of other critical environmental, public health and safety laws. This would harm treasured places
like Glacier National Park (MT), North Cascade National Park (WA), Big Bend National Park (TX)
and portions of forests, including the Flathead (MT), Green Mountain (VT) and White Mountain
(NH). Other bills in the package open up backcountry roadless areas in California (H.R. 3685) and
old-growth forests in Alaska (H.R. 1408) to logging.
Please contact your
Representatives and ask that they vote “no” on the Conservation and Economic
Growth Act and any effort to un-designate a portion of the Wild and Scenic Merced.
efforts will help make a difference for the Merced, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and public lands
nationwide. Stay tuned for information about the vote.