America’s driest state contains a high concentration of springs. As in other arid regions, the number of springs is unknown, and hundreds likely remain unmapped. The springs map presented here was compiled by the Nevada Department of Wildlife as part of their 2012 Draft Wildlife Action Plan.
Northern Arizona University is engaged in a pilot test of US Forest Service Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Inventory and Assessment in the Spring Mountains, west of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Department of Interior agencies have completed several large springs restoration projects in Nevada, including several springs in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Corn Creek Spring, and two springs in Red Rock State Park west of Las Vegas.
The state of Nevada has also been a long leader in the understanding of springs and the challenges of management. The work of the Springs Stewardship Institute follows the lead of The Nevada Springs Conservation Plan, which summarizes current conditions, threats, and actions needed to conserve Nevada’s springs.
The plan was prepared to serve as a catalyst to advance conservation efforts for Nevada’s spring systems. At SSI, we are taking the next step to improve Great Basin and Mojave Desert springs stewardship. We recognize that springs and the ecological and economic amenities they provide are vital to those who own and manage them. However, the use and ecological function of springs are not necessarily contrary purposes.
Springs can be sustainably used for water supplies or other services while still providing many natural ecological functions. In addition, the appropriate care of springs enhances both property value and the integrity of our natural heritage. In the Nevada Springs Restoration Guide, SSI suggests a rationale, along with methods and approaches for accomplishing both ends, clearly recognizing the primacy of stewardship rights and goals.
The Spring Mountains are a prominent feature on the western skyline from Las Vegas. This northwest-trending mountain range stretches more than 55 miles, rising from desert elevations below 2,000 feet to more than 12,000 feet at the summit of Mount Charleston. Climate and vegetation zones, the Spring Mountains host many endemic flora and fauna. Some areas of the stunningly beautiful mountain range are heavily developed and visited. Vast areas are extremely remote, protected by Wilderness designation.
Springs were surveyed during 2010, 2011, and 2012 using USFS protocols. These protocols were in large part adapted from those developed by Stevens and Springer.
This map reflects the most recent status of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE) surveyed by Northern Arizona University for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area in Nevada