Upper Merced River Watershed Council













Current Focus

Bureau of Reclamation Grant Received
The Upper Merced River Watershed Council's (UMRWC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that their application for the Bureau of Reclamation's 2021 WaterSmart Grant Program was chosen for funding. The scope of the work for the grant will be twofold: outreach to connect with stakeholders and agencies and the creation of a new collaborative plan for Watershed Restoration going forward. At present the group is reviewing a previous effort done by the UMRWC in 2005: "Draft Management Plan -- A Collaborative Action Strategy for the Upper Merced River Watershed."

Current Focus
The current focus of the Upper Merced River Watershed Council includes trails along the Merced Wild and Scenic River, monitoring water quality and any threats to the river’s Wild and Scenic Status and therefore public access to the river. Visit our Stewardship Programs page for more detail or read about some of our programs below.

 The Merced River Trail

The Merced River Trail is a concept envisioned by many local people for many years to support use of the existing railroad bed on the North side of the Merced Wild and Scenic River as a trail with appropriate mitigation efforts to minimize the impact of trail use on our natural resources. You can read much more about this project here.  

Monitoring and Documenting Threats to the Merced River’s Wild and Scenic Status

The Wild and Scenic Status of the Merced River has several advantages to our community, first it guarantees public access to the river for recreation including hiking, rafting, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, etc.. This is not only of benefit to those who live here and want to enjoy the river, but it is also a non-Yosemite based activities for visitors to our area, benefiting our local economy. Second, the protection afforded by Wild and Scenic status makes sure that the river remains in a condition that will assure that those visit the river will have a positive natural experience.

However, over the last 20 years, there have been a number of threats to the Wild and Scenic status of the Merced River, both to the headwaters in Yosemite National Park, and also to the lower end of the Wild and Scenic River where it flows into Lake McClure. Since these threats are as real today as they ever were, another focus of the Watershed Council is to monitor and document these threats. Please visit our page on the Merced Wild and Scenic River and the links therein.

Other Programs

You can read about the other programs our group conducts and organization with which we coordinate our efforts on our Stewardship Programs and Partner Organizations pages.













Current Events

Merced River Trail Speaker + Engagement Series

Online Meeting, March 29th,PM Ralph Mendershausen – Community Activist :  Ralph will discuss the history of the conservation activities concerning the Merced River and its designation as Wild and Scenic. Click here for a pdf description of the meeting with a link.   

Online Meeting Dec. 14th
Rob Grasso – Yosemite National Park:
Rob leads the aquatic wildlife restoration project in Yosemite National Park, restoring amphibians and rare turtles. Rob has over 20 years of experience working in the West including the study of amphibian decline in the Sierra Nevada. I video of Rob’s presentation is available here.

Feb. 26th, 6:30 PM El Portal Community Hall. Irene A. Vasquez is the secretary for the American Indian Council of Mariposa County (Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation) and an expert in eco-cultural uses of native plants. Learn about the river canyon’s place in generations of indigenous history, while shaping the Merced River Trail Master Plan’s guiding vision and aspirations.


The Great American River Cleanup: Saturday Sept 21, 9:00 AM at Briceburg.  Join the Watershed Council and Sierra Foothills Conservancy to help clean up the Merced River. Details here.

 Joint Meeting with Friends of the River:  Sept. 10 at 5:30 PM – Bodie Room at the Yosemite Bug.  Subject: the Wild and Scenic Status of the Merced River and discussion of the draft plan for the Sierra National Forest.