Water issues in Yosemite and the Central Sierra

Protecting the Sierra Nevada's Precious Water

The waters that flow from the Northern Yosemite and Central Sierra region face threats from many sides: new development increases domestic water supply demands; livestock grazing can damage stream banks and add sediment and bacteria to the water; herbicides accumulate in forest waters; and dams and diversions destroy the natural flow of the river. All of these processes degrade habitat for wildlife that depend upon healthy watersheds and clean water to thrive.

The Sierra Nevada watershed provides a huge percentage of the water California uses. The water that residents and agriculturists alike rely upon in California is stored and filtered by the forested watersheds of the mountains. The value of water from this area is greater than the value of all the other economic practices of this region (such as logging and grazing) combined.

Below you can read more about what CSERC does to protect water quality and watersheds in the Northern Yosemite and Central Sierra region.

Protecting water in the Northern Yosemite region

The Tuolumne River, Stanislaus River, Merced River, Mokelumne River, and Clavey River - just their names alone are enough to bring to mind towering waterfalls, thundering rapids, deep quiet pools, and countless ways for outdoor recreational visitors to savor their beauty on a hot summer day.

But the natural ecology of these rivers faces major challenges - challenges that CSERC confronts at every opportunity, defending water resources of the Northern Yosemite region.

Click here for more info about how CSERC protects water resources in the Northern Yosemite and Central Sierra region.

National Forest Water Resources

Water resources on public lands face many threats; National Forests are mandated to be lands "of many uses", unlike National Parks. These many uses lead to significant impacts on the watershed. Every new road and timber sale in the mountains results in herbicides and increased sediment washing into streams and rivers.

The Wild Clavey River

While most of the rivers in the Sierra Nevada are dammed and diverted, the Clavey River still flows completely unrestricted for its entire 47 miles of length. As one of only three free-flowing rivers in California, the Clavey River deserves our protectionRead on!

Clean, pure water - vital for Life

When many people look at a stream and see clear, running water, they assume the water is relatively clean and that contact with it is safe. Sadly, that's not always the reality.

In collaboration with regional and state water board staff, CSERC developed protocols for collecting water samples from streams throughout the local national forest, in order to test for contaminants. Our results have revealed septic effluent and petroleum runoff in some neighborhood creeks, and bacterial contamination of forest streams at levels that could cause people to become sick from mere contact with the water!

Read about our fight for clean water, here

Tips for Saving Water

Even during an average water year, water is precious. Droughts and water shortages are becoming more and more common here in California. In those dry years, every drop can count -- even more than normal. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do in your home to help reduce your water usage and help the environment. Read on here!