Dogwoods Glow Against Merced River, Yosemite NP

Dogwoods Glow Against Merced River, Yosemite NP

Dogwoods Glow Against Merced River, Yosemite NP.   As the sun was setting from the sky, it left a beautiful warm glow on the water and illuminated the petals of the dogwood flowers.  The Merced River in the central part of the U.S. state of California, is a 145-mile (233 km)-long tributary of the San Joaquin River flowing from the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin Valley. It is most well known for its swift and steep course through the southern part of Yosemite National Park, and the world-famous Yosemite Valley. The river’s character changes dramatically once it reaches the foothills and the lowlands, becoming a slow-moving waterway meandering through irrigated fields.

When tectonic activity first led to the uplift of the Sierra, the river formed as a steep stream eroding into the range’s western flank.  The River carryed sediments that would later help form the floor of the Central Valley. A rich riparian zone around the Merced once supported millions of migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway, and the river had one of the southernmost runs of salmon in North America. Indigenous people, including the Miwok and Paiute tribes, lived along the river for thousands of years, thriving on the bountiful flora and fauna supported by the river and its diverse lower course, aided by fertile soils eroded from the mountains.

Large-scale irrigated agriculture was introduced to the Central Valley in the late 19th century, and led to the construction of numerous state, federal and privately owned dams. Water demand has often been higher than the river’s environment can sustain. Salmon have been blocked from migrating and riverside habitat has declined dramatically. Recent years have seen habitat conservation work, mimicking of historic streamflow patterns, and the establishment of a salmon hatchery, in the hopes that the river’s health can be protected from further damage.  For more information about the Merced River and Yosemite NP follow this link:

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