In 2016, with support from Conservancy donors, 400-acre Ackerson Meadow became part of Yosemite National Park. The extensive meadow system, which was previously used for logging and cattle grazing, supports numerous rare plant and animal species, including monkeyflowers, willow flycatchers and western pond turtles.

A century of agricultural use left a mark on the meadow, visible in a deep, mile-long gully flanked by dried-out wetlands, invasive plants and bare ground. This grant funded initial steps for a comprehensive project to return Ackerson Meadow to natural conditions and boost its potential as critical habitat for diverse species. In 2018, work focused on surveying for rare plants and birds, analyzing water conditions, identifying cultural resources, and mapping out plans for a large-scale, landmark restoration. Through this grant, scientists observed 48 bird species, identified numerous archeological sites, mapped meadow hydrology and documented more than 50 acres of invasive plants.

Your gifts supported essential research to ensure that natural processes and wild species can flourish in a newly protected habitat.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park, Stanislaus National Forest and American Rivers.

Athena Demetry

Branch Chief, Vegetation and Ecological Restoration, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

Wetland restoration on the scale of Ackerson Meadow is seldom attempted, and this will be a landmark project that others will learn from for years to come.