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Ecological Projects >> Ash Meadows >> School Spring Restoration

Project:  School Spring Restoration, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

Client:  United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Date:  2007-2010

Site Location: School Spring is located within the Warm Springs complex at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.  Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 70 miles northwest of Las Vegas and approximately 35 miles east of Death Valley National Park.

Rob Andress and Chad Gourley look over concrete ponds at School Spring.
Rob Andress and Chad Gourley look over concrete ponds at School Spring.
Project Summary:

School Spring is located within the Warm Springs complex.  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 at Ash Meadows.  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) and Ash Meadows sunray (Enceliopsis nudicaulis var. corrugata), can also be found within the Warm Springs complex.  Modification of springs in the Warm Springs area for culinary and agricultural use began in the late 1800s to early 1900s associated with small homesteads.

Two habitat restoration efforts have previously been completed at School Spring.  Beginning in 1969, two earthen ponds were excavated in the vicinity of School Spring and an enclosure fence was installed.  One pond was located inside the enclosure and a second pond was located outside of the enclosure for public viewing purposes.  In 1983, concrete and stone-lined ponds were constructed, but over time, cracks developed, necessitating habitat improvement for endemic Warm Springs species.

Otis Bay began implementing restoration actions at School Spring in 2008 to promote the recovery of the Warm Springs aquatic community. These restoration efforts included the removal of the artificial, concrete pools and non-native, invasive crayfish and snails. Native pupfish were salvaged and held in temporary holding tanks. A naturalized spring channel was then designed and created to harbor native pupfish and other aquatic invertebrates, and previously salvaged pupfish were transplanted into the restored spring.

This restoration served as an experiment to determine the best approach to habitat construction and restoration for other springs within the Warm Springs complex. Now that the School Spring restoration is complete, this restored spring site can serve as a storage facility for native aquatic species for additional Warm Springs restoration efforts.

Project Update:
This project has been completed.

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