Project goal: Rehabilitate wetland habitat and improve hiking experiences near Lower River Amphitheater in Yosemite Valley.

Why this work matters: When wetlands are working, they provide immeasurably important environmental services, from filtering and storing water, to creating hot spots for biodiversity and supporting rare plants and animals. But functioning wetlands are an increasingly rare resource. In Yosemite, park crews are working to restore and protect these vital ecosystems.

Infrastructure, trails and invasive plants have fractured and degraded wetlands in the eastern part of Yosemite Valley. This project builds on recent donor-funded work to continue ecological restoration work in wetlands near the Valley’s Lower River Amphitheater and the former Lower River Campground.

In 2019, crews removed culverts, road fill and a trail that were disrupting water flow; in 2020, with your support, they continued work to restore and protect wetland habitat.

How your support helped: Your gifts funded the key next steps to revitalize struggling ecosystems and create an environmentally sustainable way for people to experience healthy wetlands in Yosemite Valley. In the Lower River area, park crews removed invasive plants, installed an 85-foot-long boardwalk that allows people to cross the restored wetlands without harming habitat, and revegetated the area with more than 550 native plants. With your support, park ecologists also created a detailed map identifying areas in Yosemite Valley that could benefit from future wetland restoration efforts — areas that, like the Lower River wetlands, could support California red-legged frogs, a threatened species that donor-supported wildlife work brought back to the Valley after a half-century absence.

Project partner: Yosemite National Park.

Joy Baccei

Plant Ecologist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Strategic wetland restoration is critical, as wetlands are now rare on the overall landscape, both in the park and in the state."