Protect the Merced River

03/16/2013 6:38 PM

03/16/2013 6:39 PM

In your March 7 editorial, The Bee encouraged Congress to approve HR 934, which, if passed, would annul protection for a portion of the Wild and Scenic Merced River. This recommendation ignores the thorough process that led to protecting the river in the first place.

On Oct. 23, 1992, President Bush signed Public Law 102-432 that guaranteed permanent protection of the free-flowing upper Merced River.

This law was the result of a six-year comprehensive effort, which started in 1986 when a Placerville engineer proposed a dam and hydroelectric plant in El Portal. Hundreds of local residents and supporters from around the country rallied to inform and engage everyone, including our elected officials, conservation organizations, Merced Irrigation District board members, Lower Merced River watershed water users. In spite of differences, we reached consensus to establish "permanent" protection for the Upper Merced River.

Yes, the population of the Central Valley and demand for water has increased, but some things have not changed — the superlative wild and scenic Merced River values, rooted in a unique sense of place. You need to exhort the Merced Irrigation District to take responsibility for finding other sources of water storage without impacting the Wild and Scenic River boundary.

DON FOX

Upper Merced Watershed resident

Mariposa

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