On September 29, 2009, the National Park Service signed a settlement agreement with several plaintiffs, ending nine years of litigation regarding planning for the Merced Wild and Scenic River. The settlement agreement stipulates that the NPS will produce a new Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the river by March 31 2014, and that the agency would employ an "extensive, frequent, and robust public involvement process" that enables all interested parties access to the planning process.

* indicates the current step in the planning process
Step 1. Conduct public scoping and compile comments from previous plans into comprehensive scoping report (Fall 2009-Summer 2010)
Step 2. Define purpose and need (Winter 2009-2010)
Step 3. Develop outstandingly remarkable values report (Winter-Spring 2010)
Step 4. Conduct condition assessments of outstandingly remarkable values (2010-2011)
Step 5. Devise alternative management options, with more public input (2010)
Step 6. Prepare Draft Comprehensive Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (2010-2012)
Step 7. Public review of draft plan/EIS (early 2013)
Step 8. Analyze public comment and prepare final plan (spring - winter 2013)
Step 9. Release final plan/decision document to the public (winter - spring 2014) *