California Native Plant Society

Conservation Program

Enviros and UC Merced Reach a Win-Win Accord

Beginning in 2005, CNPS (along with Butte Environmental Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Protect Our Water, San Joaquin Raptor/Wildlife Rescue Center, San Joaquin Valley Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy) held meetings with the University of California and the regulatory agencies to discuss conservation issues related to the Merced campus. These meetings resulted in a stronger conservation strategy and a smaller campus. On Friday, October 5, 2007, the University issued a press release announcing the reduction of their footprint and the intention to start the environmental review process over.

Merced aerial view
Much of the proposed campus location will be permanently protected by a conservation easement. More easements to protect vernal pools and to contain sprawl are also expected as the new campus plan unfolds.

The agreed upon reduced footprint will protect an additional 670 acres of pristine vernal pool habitat that would have been destroyed by the current plan. Many additional occurrences of threatened and endangered plants and animals will also be conserved by the reduced footprint. CNPS applauds the University of California for coming to the table with a willingness to work out a compromise that works both for the environment and for the campus.

The UC’s announcement marks the beginning of a new public process for the campus expansion. Previous permit applications will be withdrawn. A new application will be submitted that will trigger a joint EIR/EIS for the campus and community. CNPS and others will continue to participate in the public process.

Background Information

For links to the press releases and news articles as they are published visit

CNPS Statement of Policy - Wetlands

CNPS Policy on Appropriate Application of Ex Situ Conservation Techniques

CNPS Wetland Source Book 2000 (PDF, 137k)

Vernal Pool Ecosystems Conference Proceedings (1998 CNPS Press) also available in PDF Format

CNPS sends second packet of vernal pool information to California Legislature. Vernal pools and their associated grasslands are an ecosystem in peril (PDF, 5/21/01)

CNPS Invites members of the California Legislature and their staff to a tour of Mather Field Vernal Pools  (PDF, 4/5/01) and Press Invitation (PDF, 4/24/01)

CNPS sends Regents education packet about vernal pools including October 1976 and January 2000 Fremontia as well as Vernal Pool Ecosystems (PDF, 9/19/00)

Resolution of CNPS concerning the siting of a University of California campus at Lake Yosemite, Merced County -- the proposed UC Merced campus (PDF, 6/10/00. 238k)

CNPS letter to UC regarding changes in scope and impacts since the original 1994 site selection EIR for the UC Merced campus location (PDF, 5/23/00, 329k)

Wetlands and Vernal Pools Web Links


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