Stanislaus Audubon Society joins Yosemite Audubon Society, Friends of the River, The Sierra Club and the Merced River Conservation Committee in opposition to HR 934, introduced by Congressmen Tom McClintock and Jim Costa on March 4.
We believe that this bill is an attack on the National Wild and Scenic River Act, which has protected the Merced River since its inception in 1968. Any perceived benefits of raising the level of Lake McClure are greatly outweighed by the damages to the Merced River's riparian habitat, flood control, the state-listed limestone salamander, and dam and bridge safety. The proposed Merced Irrigation District project is ill-advised; the bill would reverse the historic, publicly supported purposes of protecting one of this state's most precious "wild" rivers.
We believe this bill, if passed, would set into motion a project that would reduce and degrade pristine habitat not only for native plants, but also numerous species of birds and other wildlife that depend on that riparian corridor for migration, nesting and breeding. We also have grave concerns about the harm to recreation use and water quality if this bill is passed.
It is important for public servants to remember that although members of Audubon and other conservation groups may number only in the hundreds, their beliefs on this issue are shared by thousands of citizens in the communities along the Merced River.
Our organization, along with other groups that are alarmed by this and other environmental encroachments, is asking the public to speak in opposition to HR 934. Please write to our elected representatives and convince them that HR 934 is the wrong bill for the Merced River.
president, Stanislaus Audubon Society, serving Stanislaus and Merced counties