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Ron Stork Goes to Washington to Save the Merced! 

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"It is not the National Reservoir Protection Act, nor is it the National Protect a River for 20 years and Then Turn it into a Reservoir Act." - Ron Stork, 6-14-2011 before Congress on the National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. HR 869 has a companion bill HR 2578 that is moving at the same time and can accomplish the drowning of the Merced as well.

To skip down to video link - click here

To read Ron's written testimony - click here.

FOR's Ron Stork testified on Tuesday, June 14 at a Congressional hearing on HR 869. Ron's mission in DC is to oppose HR 869. Congressman Denham, the bill's proponent, asked does FOR "really believe that this bill is an assault on the nation’s environmental laws (sinking) to an historic low." Yes, we do and we want to thank Congressman Denham for quoting our Merced Action Alert in the hearing!

Ron clearly got the goats of both Denham and the subcommittee chair Congressman Bishop. Ron would not allow either of them to put words in his mouth no matter how bad they wanted to, nor would Ron allow them to back the Merced River community into a corner.

Ron provided quite an educational experience for both Denham and Bishop teaching them that water does indeed flow downhill and that there are natural seasonal variations in water levels in a river. Denham did not realize that a dam downstream of Yosemite National Park - would not prevent flooding occurring 20+ miles upstream in the park. Ron taught both the Congressmen the difference between a dam raise causing the flooding a Wild & Scenic river and the seasonal high-water line along a river, the former destroys habitat - the latter is a natural and restorative part of the habitat. Ron also pointed out that Merced Irrigation District (MID, the Dam's operators) already have a stable water supply and enough to meet the district's needs.

There was much debate about the jobs impact of the bill. The best argument that Denham could muster was that the bill could help the San Joaquin's chronically high unemployment rate by adding maybe about 80 jobs according to the most favorable study he could find. However Congressman Denham - if this abomination only catches water once every three years you are adding 80 people to the ranks of the unemployed 2-out-of-every-3 years! Even the facts the proponents are using point out that this dam raise will lead to a higher long-term unemployment rate.

You can hear his testimony and listen to the full hearing - by following the link below. It was a long hearing and the portion dealing with HR 869 was at the end of the day and begins around 2:34:00 on the video link below.  Ron's testimony begins at 2:43:30 and the bill testimony and hearing both conclude at 3:14:24.

We will post a transcript of Ron's remarks in a few days - be sure to check back soon!


HR 869 starts at 2:34:00 on the video link below.  Ron's testimony begins at 2:43:30
Watch the Archived Hearing Webcast 
(Follow the link above - opens in WM Player)


  • H.R. 869 (Denham), To clarify the definition of flood control operations for the purposes of the operation and maintenance of Project No. 2179 on the Lower Merced River.

For more information concerning Friends of the River’s Merced River Restoration Campaign, contact Ron at (916) 442-3155 x220, email: rstork(at)

For more information about the FERC relicensing of the New Exchequer/McSwain project, visit

  Resources on the Merced River and Our Campaign  
   Merced River Page   
   Merced Campiagn Donation page  
   Campaign Background page  
   Read the HR 869 Opposition Letter (pdf)  
   FOR's Press room  

 Merced with save.jpg

Photos of the Wild & Scenic section at risk of being drowned by MID's plans - courtesy Mike Osborn, photographer
Merced mini#10 Mike Osborn.jpg
Merced mini#9 Mike Osborn.jpg
Merced mini#8 Mike Osborn.jpg

MAP OF SEGMENT TO BE DROWNED  (download the pdf)

Merced W&S to be dro

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