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Ecological Projects >> Ash Meadows >> Warm Springs Complex and Big Spring

Project:  Assessment of Restoration Needs and Implementation of Restoration Activities at Warm Springs Complex and Big Spring, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Client:  United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Date:  2004-2007

Site Location:   Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 70 miles northwest of Las Vegas and approximately 35 miles east of Death Valley National Park.  Ash Meadows harbors numerous plant, fish, and invertebrate species that are found nowhere else in the world.  Native fish and aquatic invertebrate species have adapted to thermal spring conditions and habitat types found at Ash Meadows.  Similarly, numerous plant species have adapted to the unique soil conditions that have developed at Ash Meadows.

Big Spring at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
Big Spring at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
Project Summary:
The Warm Springs complex contains the only population of the Warm Springs pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis pectoralis).  The springs within the Warm Springs complex are small in comparison to other springs within the Refuge.  However, numerous species can be found at the site such as the thermal endemic Warm Springs naucorid (Ambrysus relictus) and Ash Meadows riffle beetle (Stenelmis calida).  Numerous threatened and endangered plant species, such as the Ash Meadows Ivesia (Ivesia eremica) (Enceliopsis nudicaulis var. corrugata), can also be found at the Warm Springs complex.  Diversion of the spring sources and impoundment of flows behind berms has resulted in hydrologic alterations that reduce habitat quality and quantity for native species and often create conditions suitable for the establishment of invasive species.  Big Spring contains the Ash Meadow pupfish Cyprinidon nevadensis mionectes) and Ash Meadows speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus nevadensis).  Spring channel alteration and invasive species introduction (primarily bass) endanger the continued existence of these two species that only occur at Ash Meadows.

In conjunction with Refuge staff and other agency stakeholders, Otis Bay assessed the restoration needs at the Warm Springs complex and at Big Spring. Otis Bay’s construction crew initiated restoration activities at the Warm Springs complex in 2007. See School Spring and Indian Spring. Further restoration activities within the Warm Springs complex or at Big Spring have been prioritized.

Project Update:
Otis Bay and project stakeholders have prioritized restoration actions at the Warm Springs complex and Big Spring, and construction crews have implemented restoration actions within the Warm Springs area.

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