Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan, Yosemite National Park, Madera and Mariposa Counties, CA, 5492-5494 [2013-01461]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with 5492 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 17 / Friday, January 25, 2013 / Notices announcing details of the 60-day public scoping period, including information about public meetings. In July and August 2006, a series of thirteen public scoping meetings were held; in addition, an on-site visit was hosted in Tuolumne Meadows on August 29, 2006. In addition to local and regional press media, public meetings were publicized on the park’s Web site, through emailed notices on the park’s electronic newsletter, and on various state-wide online bulletin boards. The scoping period was extended for an additional two weeks in deference to public requests. Overall there were 457 public responses (including letters, faxes, emails, comment forms, and public meeting flip-chart notes), and over 4,000 individual comments. From 2006–2010 over 127 public meetings, presentations, workshops, field visits, and open houses were conducted in support of preparation of the Tuolumne River Plan. These included all-tribes meetings, public work sessions to parallel planning team work sessions (known as ‘‘Planner-for-a-Day’’ workshops), socioeconomic workshops held in gateway communities, open houses and other public forums, meetings with park staff, and presentations to other land management agencies and stakeholder groups. The park’s Web site served as a central repository for not only information about the plan’s status, but various products for public comment— including two separate workbooks devoted to release of preliminary concepts and early alternatives. How to Comment: All comments must be transmitted or postmarked not later than 60 days from the date the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes their notice of filing of the DEIS in the Federal Register. Immediately upon confirmation of this date it will be announced via local and regional news media, through direct mailings, and posted on the project Web sites. Written comments should be mailed to: Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, Attn: Tuolumne River Plan DEIS, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, California 95389. If preferred, comments also may be transmitted electronically through the http:// parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_trp Web site. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:39 Jan 24, 2013 Jkt 229001 information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. During the public review period public meetings will be hosted in Yosemite gateway communities, as well as in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows; Web-based meetings will also take place. Public site visits may be offered during the public review period, depending upon weather conditions. All meeting and site visit locations and dates will be announced similarly as noted above for the comment due date, and will be included in the Yosemite electronic newsletter and posted on the Yosemite National Park Web site http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/ trp.htm. Limited printed and CD copies of the TRPCMP/DEIS will be available, and may be requested by email (yose_planning@nps.gov) or telephone at (209) 379–1110. The document will be sent directly to congressional delegations, state and local elected officials, federal and state agencies, tribes, organizations, local businesses, public libraries, and the news media. Printed copies can be viewed at local and regional libraries (i.e., El Portal, Mariposa, Oakhurst, Sonora, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). Electronic versions will be available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_trp, or may be accessed through the Yosemite National Park Web site http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/ trp.htm. Decision Process: All comments received on the TRPCMP/DEIS will be duly considered in preparing the Final EIS. The Final EIS is expected to be available in early 2013; availability of the document will be announced in a manner similar to that used for the DEIS, including publication of a notice of availability in the Federal Register. A Record of Decision would be prepared not sooner than 30 days after release of the Final EIS. Because this is a delegated EIS, the official responsible for approving the final plan is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service; subsequently the official responsible for implementation of the approved Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan will be the Superintendent, Yosemite National Park. Dated: November 26, 2012. George J. Turnbull, Acting Regional Director, Pacific West Region. [FR Doc. 2013–01464 Filed 1–24–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–FY–P PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–PWR–PWRO–11522; PX.P0131800B.00.1] Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan, Yosemite National Park, Madera and Mariposa Counties, CA National Park Service, Interior. Notice of availability. AGENCY: ACTION: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), and the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR part 1500–1508), the National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (Merced River Plan). The Merced River Plan will fulfill the requirements of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 U.S.C. 1271–1287, and will provide long-term protection of river values and a user capacity management program for 81 miles of the Merced River that flow through Yosemite National Park and the El Portal Administrative Site. Consistent with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA), the purposes of the Merced River Plan/DEIS are to protect the Merced River’s free-flowing conditions, and to: (1) Review, and if necessary revise, the river corridor boundaries and segment classifications, and provide a process for protection of the river’s free-flowing condition in keeping with the WSRA; (2) Refine descriptions of the river’s outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs), which are the unique, rare, or exemplary in a regional or national context, and the river-related/river-dependent characteristics that make the river eligible for inclusion in the national wild and scenic rivers system; (3) Identify management objectives for the river, and specific management measures that will be implemented to achieve protection and enhancement of river values; (4) Establish a user capacity program that addresses the kinds and amounts of public use that the river corridor can sustain while protecting and enhancing the river’s ORVs; (5) Commit to a program of ongoing studies and monitoring to ensure that the ORVs are protected and enhanced over the life of the plan. The Merced River Plan/DEIS evaluates the potential adverse and beneficial environmental consequences of implementing a range of five action SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25JAN1.SGM 25JAN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 17 / Friday, January 25, 2013 / Notices alternatives, including a no action alternative in accordance with NEPA; and for the potential to cause adverse effects to historic properties in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Both the agency preferred and environmentally preferred alternatives are identified. Actions called for in the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan (GMP) addressing management within the Merced Wild and Scenic River corridor would be amended and are outlined in the Merced River Plan/ DEIS. DATES: The NPS will be accepting public comments on the Merced River Plan/DEIS for 90 days. All comments must be transmitted or postmarked no later than 90 days from the date of publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of filing for this Draft EIS in the Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please contact Kathleen Morse, Planning Division, Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; telephone (209) 379–1110. Development of Proposal and Alternatives: On April 11, 2007, the NPS published a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register. This initial scoping period included three public meetings and resulted in 191 responses. Public scoping was reopened with a Federal Register notice on June 30, 2009, and through multiple public notices in newspapers throughout northern California and the Yosemite region. The second scoping period was extended until February 4, 2010 and resulted in 576 responses. Also throughout this period, e-newsletters were sent to 5,700 recipients and postcards to 25,000 Yosemite campers. The Merced River Plan/DEIS has been developed through consultation with traditionally associated American Indian tribes, the State Historic Preservation Officer, and other federal and state agencies. Gateway communities, organizations, and interested members of the public have provided more than 1,460 pieces of correspondence (including letters, faxes, emails, comment forms, and public meeting flip-chart notes). The NPS has conducted more than 40 public meetings, presentations, workshops, field visits, and open houses in support of the EIS process. Two preliminary alternatives concept workbooks were prepared and distributed for public review and comment prior to completion of the Merced River Plan/ DEIS. Based on a thorough examination of the river’s baseline conditions at the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:39 Jan 24, 2013 Jkt 229001 time of designation (1986), a multifaceted approach to river management and stewardship is proposed. To address the WSRA mandate to protect and enhance river values, many of the plan’s actions would be common to all the action alternatives, including: (1) All WSRA management elements (boundaries, classifications, § 7 determination process); (2) actions to protect and enhance river values (e.g., ecological restoration components); (3) removal and/or relocation of numerous facilities and services; (4) actions to improve traffic circulation and reduce congestion; (5) implementation of a monitoring program that sets thresholds for when management actions must be taken to protect river values; and (6) numeric limits on use through a user capacity management program. In keeping with the expressed purpose and need, the DEIS identifies and evaluates five action alternatives for management of the river corridor, and a No-Action alternative. The action alternatives vary primarily in the degree of restoration and the amount of visitor use that could be accommodated by the commensurate level of facilities and services necessary to protect river values under each scenario. The interdisciplinary and public involvement effort provided varying perspectives and experiences that were considered during the alternative development process. Alternative 1 (No-Action; baseline conditions) would continue current management and trends, including ongoing localized impacts associated with impacts to free flowing condition of the river and connectivity of meadows, permanent facilities in the Merced River floodplain, and pedestrian-vehicle conflicts at major intersections. In 2011, the peak daily visitation recorded for East Yosemite Valley was 20,900 people over a 24-hour period. Under the existing GMP, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 18,241 people. Actions Common to Alternatives 2–6: All five action alternatives would protect and enhance river values by improving conditions that threaten sensitive meadows, archeological resources, and scenic vistas, and would differ primarily in the kinds of visitor opportunities available at Yosemite Valley and the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. Restoration actions common to alternatives 2–6 include the removal of revetments, abandoned infrastructure, informal trails, and encroaching conifers in meadows; restoring riparian areas and meadow hydrology; regulating river access; and cultural resource protection and scenic resource protection. All PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5493 alternatives would accommodate traditional cultural practices by American Indian tribes and groups. The action alternatives included in the Merced River Plan more closely align capacity with visitation to improve the visitor experience and allow for more extensive resource protection. Alternative 2: Self-Reliant Visitor Experiences and Extensive Floodplain Restoration would include major restoration within the 100-year floodplain, significant reduction in facilities and services, and significantly lower visitor use than today. Given the conditions in this Alternative, visitation to East Yosemite Valley would be approximately 13,900 people per day over a 24-hour period. Alternative 3: Dispersed Visitor Experiences and Extensive Riverbank Restoration would include significant restoration within 150 feet of the river, marked reduction in visitor facilities and services, and significantly lower visitor use than today. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 13,200 people per day over a 24-hour period. Alternative 4: Resource-based Visitor Experiences and Targeted Riverbank Restoration would include targeted restoration within 150 feet of the river, reduced commercial services with a significant increase over current camping opportunities, and slightly lower visitor use than today. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 17,000 people per day over a 24-hour period. Alternative 5 (agency-preferred): Enhanced Visitor Experiences and Essential Riverbank Restoration would include essential restoration within 100 feet of the river, reduced commercial services with moderate increases to current camping opportunities, and approximately the same level of visitor use as today. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 19,900 people per day over a 24-hour period. This preferred course of action is also identified as the ‘‘environmentally preferred’’ alternative. Alternative 6: Diversified Visitor Experiences and Selective Riverbank Restoration would include limited restoration within 100 feet of the river, expanded facilities and services with the largest increase over current camping opportunities, and some growth in visitor use over time. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be allowed to increase to approximately E:\FR\FM\25JAN1.SGM 25JAN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with 5494 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 17 / Friday, January 25, 2013 / Notices 21,800 people per day over a 24-hour period. How To Comment: At any time during the 90 day public review period, comments may be transmitted electronically through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment Web site at http:// parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_mrp, or through the Yosemite National Park Web site at yose_planning@nps.gov. Alternately, written comments may be mailed to Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, Attn: Merced River Plan DEIS, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, California 95389, or may be handdelivered at one of the scheduled public meetings. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Public meetings and site visits will be hosted in Yosemite Valley and in several gateway communities, and San Francisco. Any individual or organization who wants to express an opinion about the effects of the plan on natural or cultural resources and/or the visitor experience is encouraged to attend. All in-park meetings will be available through the park’s Web site at https://yose.webex.com. All meeting locations and dates will be announced via the Yosemite electronic newsletter, press releases, and posted on the park’s Web site http://www.nps.gov/yose/ parkmgmt/mrp.htm. Printed or CD format documents may be requested through email (yose_planning@nps.gov), or by telephone at (209) 379–1110. In addition, the DEIS will be available at public libraries in local communities. Electronic versions will be available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ yose_mrp, which can be accessed directly through the Yosemite National Park Web site (noted above). Decision Process: All comments submitted on the Merced River Plan/ DEIS will be duly considered in preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS). The Final EIS/Merced River Plan is expected to be available in Spring of 2013; availability will be announced similarly as the DEIS, including notice in the Federal Register. A Record of Decision will be prepared not sooner than 30 days after release of the FEIS. As a delegated EIS VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:39 Jan 24, 2013 Jkt 229001 process, the official responsible for final approval is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service; subsequently, the official responsible for implementation of the approved Merced River Plan is the Superintendent, Yosemite National Park. Dated: November 19, 2012. Christine S. Lehnertz, Regional Director, Pacific West Region. [FR Doc. 2013–01461 Filed 1–24–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–IMR–LAMR–10224; 2310–0091–422] Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas National Park Service, Interior. Notice of Availability. AGENCY: ACTION: Pursuant to § 102(2)(C) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service (NPS) is releasing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan (Plan), Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (LAMR), Texas. The Plan/DEIS evaluates the impacts of four alternatives that address off-road vehicle (ORV) management in the national recreation area. It also assesses the impacts that could result from continuing the current management framework in the no action alternative. The selected alternative will guide ORV management at LAMR for the next 15 years. DATES: The NPS will accept comments on the DEIS from the public for 60 days following publication by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the Notice of the Availability of the DEIS. After the EPA Notice of Availability is published, NPS will schedule public meetings during the comment period. Dates, time, and locations of these meetings will be announced in press releases, a newsletter, and on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site for the project at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/ LAMR. ADDRESSES: Information will be available for public review and comment online at: http:// parkplanning.nps.gov/LAMR. Copies of the Plan/DEIS will be available in the office of the Superintendent, Lake SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Meredith National Recreation Area, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, 419 E. Broadway, Fritch, Texas 79036–1460, or by phone at (806) 857–3151. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cindy Ott-Jones, Superintendent, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, P.O. Box 1460, Fritch, Texas 79036–1460, or by phone at (806) 857– 3151, or by email at Cindy_OttJones@nps.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of this Plan/DEIS is to manage ORV use in the national recreation area for visitor enjoyment and recreation opportunities, while minimizing and correcting damage to resources. By special regulation (Title 36, Section 7.57 of the Code of Federal Regulations), the national recreation area allows the use of ORVs in two areas: Blue Creek and Rosita Flats. Action is needed at this time to comply with Executive Order 11644, provide for sustainable ORV use areas, address the lack of an approved plan, address resource impacts resulting from ORV use, and address the change in numbers, power, range, and capabilities of ORVs currently using the ORV areas. The Plan/DEIS evaluates four alternatives: A No Action Alternative (A) and three Action Alternatives (B, C, and D (preferred)). These are summarized briefly here. Other alternatives were explored but dismissed; these are discussed in some detail in the draft Plan/DEIS. • Alternative A: No Action—The national recreation area would continue to operate under the 2007 Interim ORV Management Plan where ORVs are allowed below the 3,000 foot elevation line in Rosita Flats and from cutbank to cutbank at Blue Creek. Limited facilities are supplied. No additional management tools such as zoning, permits, or use limits would be implemented. • Alternative B: Under this alternative, ORV use would be managed through a zone system. Uses would be separated into the following zones: Camping, hunting, resource protection, low speed, and beginner. At Rosita Flats, two areas would be established as ORV areas and a number of routes would be designated. At Blue Creek, ORVs would only be allowed on sandy bottom areas designated routes, with ORV use prohibited on vegetated areas. ORV users would be required to obtain a free permit for educational purposes. • Alternative C: This alternative manages ORV use through a fee permit system and user limits. Permits would E:\FR\FM\25JAN1.SGM 25JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 17 (Friday, January 25, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5492-5494]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01461]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-PWR-PWRO-11522; PX.P0131800B.00.1]


Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Merced Wild and Scenic 
River Comprehensive Management Plan, Yosemite National Park, Madera and 
Mariposa Counties, CA

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), and the Council on Environmental Quality 
Regulations (40 CFR part 1500-1508), the National Park Service (NPS) 
has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the 
proposed Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan 
(Merced River Plan). The Merced River Plan will fulfill the 
requirements of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 U.S.C. 1271-1287, 
and will provide long-term protection of river values and a user 
capacity management program for 81 miles of the Merced River that flow 
through Yosemite National Park and the El Portal Administrative Site.
    Consistent with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA), the purposes 
of the Merced River Plan/DEIS are to protect the Merced River's free-
flowing conditions, and to: (1) Review, and if necessary revise, the 
river corridor boundaries and segment classifications, and provide a 
process for protection of the river's free-flowing condition in keeping 
with the WSRA; (2) Refine descriptions of the river's outstandingly 
remarkable values (ORVs), which are the unique, rare, or exemplary in a 
regional or national context, and the river-related/river-dependent 
characteristics that make the river eligible for inclusion in the 
national wild and scenic rivers system; (3) Identify management 
objectives for the river, and specific management measures that will be 
implemented to achieve protection and enhancement of river values; (4) 
Establish a user capacity program that addresses the kinds and amounts 
of public use that the river corridor can sustain while protecting and 
enhancing the river's ORVs; (5) Commit to a program of ongoing studies 
and monitoring to ensure that the ORVs are protected and enhanced over 
the life of the plan.
    The Merced River Plan/DEIS evaluates the potential adverse and 
beneficial environmental consequences of implementing a range of five 
action

[[Page 5493]]

alternatives, including a no action alternative in accordance with 
NEPA; and for the potential to cause adverse effects to historic 
properties in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act. Both the agency preferred and environmentally 
preferred alternatives are identified. Actions called for in the 1980 
Yosemite General Management Plan (GMP) addressing management within the 
Merced Wild and Scenic River corridor would be amended and are outlined 
in the Merced River Plan/DEIS.

DATES: The NPS will be accepting public comments on the Merced River 
Plan/DEIS for 90 days. All comments must be transmitted or postmarked 
no later than 90 days from the date of publication of the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's notice of filing for this Draft EIS 
in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please contact Kathleen Morse, 
Planning Division, Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 
95389; telephone (209) 379-1110.
    Development of Proposal and Alternatives: On April 11, 2007, the 
NPS published a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal 
Register. This initial scoping period included three public meetings 
and resulted in 191 responses. Public scoping was reopened with a 
Federal Register notice on June 30, 2009, and through multiple public 
notices in newspapers throughout northern California and the Yosemite 
region. The second scoping period was extended until February 4, 2010 
and resulted in 576 responses. Also throughout this period, e-
newsletters were sent to 5,700 recipients and postcards to 25,000 
Yosemite campers.
    The Merced River Plan/DEIS has been developed through consultation 
with traditionally associated American Indian tribes, the State 
Historic Preservation Officer, and other federal and state agencies. 
Gateway communities, organizations, and interested members of the 
public have provided more than 1,460 pieces of correspondence 
(including letters, faxes, emails, comment forms, and public meeting 
flip-chart notes). The NPS has conducted more than 40 public meetings, 
presentations, workshops, field visits, and open houses in support of 
the EIS process. Two preliminary alternatives concept workbooks were 
prepared and distributed for public review and comment prior to 
completion of the Merced River Plan/DEIS.
    Based on a thorough examination of the river's baseline conditions 
at the time of designation (1986), a multi-faceted approach to river 
management and stewardship is proposed. To address the WSRA mandate to 
protect and enhance river values, many of the plan's actions would be 
common to all the action alternatives, including: (1) All WSRA 
management elements (boundaries, classifications, Sec.  7 determination 
process); (2) actions to protect and enhance river values (e.g., 
ecological restoration components); (3) removal and/or relocation of 
numerous facilities and services; (4) actions to improve traffic 
circulation and reduce congestion; (5) implementation of a monitoring 
program that sets thresholds for when management actions must be taken 
to protect river values; and (6) numeric limits on use through a user 
capacity management program.
    In keeping with the expressed purpose and need, the DEIS identifies 
and evaluates five action alternatives for management of the river 
corridor, and a No-Action alternative. The action alternatives vary 
primarily in the degree of restoration and the amount of visitor use 
that could be accommodated by the commensurate level of facilities and 
services necessary to protect river values under each scenario. The 
interdisciplinary and public involvement effort provided varying 
perspectives and experiences that were considered during the 
alternative development process.
    Alternative 1 (No-Action; baseline conditions) would continue 
current management and trends, including ongoing localized impacts 
associated with impacts to free flowing condition of the river and 
connectivity of meadows, permanent facilities in the Merced River 
floodplain, and pedestrian-vehicle conflicts at major intersections. In 
2011, the peak daily visitation recorded for East Yosemite Valley was 
20,900 people over a 24-hour period. Under the existing GMP, East 
Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 18,241 people.
    Actions Common to Alternatives 2-6: All five action alternatives 
would protect and enhance river values by improving conditions that 
threaten sensitive meadows, archeological resources, and scenic vistas, 
and would differ primarily in the kinds of visitor opportunities 
available at Yosemite Valley and the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. 
Restoration actions common to alternatives 2-6 include the removal of 
revetments, abandoned infrastructure, informal trails, and encroaching 
conifers in meadows; restoring riparian areas and meadow hydrology; 
regulating river access; and cultural resource protection and scenic 
resource protection. All alternatives would accommodate traditional 
cultural practices by American Indian tribes and groups. The action 
alternatives included in the Merced River Plan more closely align 
capacity with visitation to improve the visitor experience and allow 
for more extensive resource protection.
    Alternative 2: Self-Reliant Visitor Experiences and Extensive 
Floodplain Restoration would include major restoration within the 100-
year floodplain, significant reduction in facilities and services, and 
significantly lower visitor use than today. Given the conditions in 
this Alternative, visitation to East Yosemite Valley would be 
approximately 13,900 people per day over a 24-hour period.
    Alternative 3: Dispersed Visitor Experiences and Extensive 
Riverbank Restoration would include significant restoration within 150 
feet of the river, marked reduction in visitor facilities and services, 
and significantly lower visitor use than today. Given the conditions in 
this Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be 
approximately 13,200 people per day over a 24-hour period.
    Alternative 4: Resource-based Visitor Experiences and Targeted 
Riverbank Restoration would include targeted restoration within 150 
feet of the river, reduced commercial services with a significant 
increase over current camping opportunities, and slightly lower visitor 
use than today. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite 
Valley visitation would be approximately 17,000 people per day over a 
24-hour period.
    Alternative 5 (agency-preferred): Enhanced Visitor Experiences and 
Essential Riverbank Restoration would include essential restoration 
within 100 feet of the river, reduced commercial services with moderate 
increases to current camping opportunities, and approximately the same 
level of visitor use as today. Given the conditions in this 
Alternative, East Yosemite Valley visitation would be approximately 
19,900 people per day over a 24-hour period. This preferred course of 
action is also identified as the ``environmentally preferred'' 
alternative.
    Alternative 6: Diversified Visitor Experiences and Selective 
Riverbank Restoration would include limited restoration within 100 feet 
of the river, expanded facilities and services with the largest 
increase over current camping opportunities, and some growth in visitor 
use over time. Given the conditions in this Alternative, East Yosemite 
Valley visitation would be allowed to increase to approximately

[[Page 5494]]

21,800 people per day over a 24-hour period.
    How To Comment: At any time during the 90 day public review period, 
comments may be transmitted electronically through the NPS Planning, 
Environment and Public Comment Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_mrp, or through the Yosemite National Park Web site at yose_planning@nps.gov. Alternately, written comments may be mailed to 
Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, Attn: Merced River Plan DEIS, 
P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, California 95389, or may be hand-delivered at 
one of the scheduled public meetings.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    Public meetings and site visits will be hosted in Yosemite Valley 
and in several gateway communities, and San Francisco. Any individual 
or organization who wants to express an opinion about the effects of 
the plan on natural or cultural resources and/or the visitor experience 
is encouraged to attend. All in-park meetings will be available through 
the park's Web site at https://yose.webex.com. All meeting locations 
and dates will be announced via the Yosemite electronic newsletter, 
press releases, and posted on the park's Web site http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm.
    Printed or CD format documents may be requested through email 
(yose_planning@nps.gov), or by telephone at (209) 379-1110. In 
addition, the DEIS will be available at public libraries in local 
communities. Electronic versions will be available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_mrp, which can be accessed directly through 
the Yosemite National Park Web site (noted above).
    Decision Process: All comments submitted on the Merced River Plan/
DEIS will be duly considered in preparing the Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (Final EIS). The Final EIS/Merced River Plan is 
expected to be available in Spring of 2013; availability will be 
announced similarly as the DEIS, including notice in the Federal 
Register. A Record of Decision will be prepared not sooner than 30 days 
after release of the FEIS. As a delegated EIS process, the official 
responsible for final approval is the Regional Director, Pacific West 
Region, National Park Service; subsequently, the official responsible 
for implementation of the approved Merced River Plan is the 
Superintendent, Yosemite National Park.

    Dated: November 19, 2012.
Christine S. Lehnertz,
Regional Director, Pacific West Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-01461 Filed 1-24-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-FF-P