07:00 pm - 08:00 pmClick to Register: Click to Register
Friends of Gold Butte
Join the Friends of Gold Butte as Von Winkel shares information about The Warm Springs Natural Area (WSNA), which is owned by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), and is situated in the Upper Moapa Valley, 50 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The WSNA is the site of major thermal springs that flow from a deep carbonate aquifer, into tributaries that form the Muddy River. The WSNA has been disturbed in the past by various human activities. Major impacts included the entrenchment of the Muddy River and its tributaries, the capping of springs and diversion ofstreams and the cultivation of hundreds of acres of flood plain. These actions severely impacted the endangered Moapa dace fish, other endemic aquatic species and a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.
The SNWA is committed to restoring disturbed lands on this property.
The North and South Forks of the Muddy River located on the WSNA are deeply entrenched because of past modifications for agriculture, and intense flooding in the 1880s. Before entrenchment, they meandered through the floodplain, and the water table was high and supported marshes, meadows, mesquite woodlands, and riparian corridors. As entrenchment progressed, the water table dropped, and the riparian species dependent on the high-water table died. These stream channels were also widened by livestock trampling and springs that softened the stream banks making them more vulnerable to erosion, especially during flash floods. Channel widening decreased the velocity of the stream, which decreased the value of the streamsas habitat for the endangered Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea). From 2016 through 2022, over 3200 feet of streambanks along the North and South Forks of the Muddy River were widened by excavating approximately 12,000 cubic yards of soil. This increased riparian habitat along these streams ten-fold.
During 2016, 200 feet of stream was narrowed along the South Fork. This added over 2400 square feet of riparian habitat. During 2020, an additional 100 feet of stream channel was narrowed along the North Fork. Over 800 native ash trees (Fraxinus velutina), hundreds of coyote willow (Salix exigua) cuttings and over a thousand understory plants have been installed in this new habitat. In addition to the propagated plants, over one hundred volunteer cottonwood trees (Populus fremontii) have become established along these sections of the Muddy River. During spring and fall 2023, nearly 300 additional ash trees and thousands of understory plants will be installed along the North and South forks of the Muddy River. These improvements should benefit the endangered Moapa dace as well as provide valuable habitat for native birds such as the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and threatened yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus).
Friends of Gold Butte is proud to offer this monthly speaker series free to the public. This event will be presented via Zoom videoconference, so please register to get the link. To learn more about our organization, visit our website: friendsofgoldbutte.org