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Ecological Projects >> Corn Creek >> Restoration and Refugium

Project:  Desert National Wildlife Refuge Corn Creek Restoration and Refugium

Client:  United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Date:  2002 - 2003

Site Location:   The Corn Creek Field Station is located off Highway 95, about 23 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The refugium at Corn Creek.
The refugium at Corn Creek.
Project Summary:
Corn Creek is a small spring system located just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada in Clark County. Already protected from further development as part of the Desert National Wildlife Range, Corn Creek provides refuge for wildlife and contains important desert spring habitat. The site harbors the endangered Pahrump Poolfish (Empetrichthys latos latos), and an endemic snail known as the Corn Creek pyrg (Pyrgulopsis fausta). Ornamental and native woodlands at the site that attract migrating birds make Corn Creek one of the most popular bird-watching destinations in Nevada.

For centuries, Native Americans used the springs and outflow channels at the Corn Creek field station as home sites and hunting grounds. However, when Europeans settled in the area, they modified the springs and outflow channels for agricultural purposes. Outflow channels were diverted, piped and confined to concrete structures and spring pools were over-excavated for water delivery purposes. Unrestricted groundwater pumping dried up and destroyed Manse Spring, home of the Pahrump poolfish (Empetrichthys latos latos), and this fish was listed as endangered in 1967. Fortunately however, in the early 1970s, prior to the desiccation of Manse Spring, local ichthyologists rescued a small population and transferred the Pahrump poolfish from Manse Spring to the Corn Creek outflow and two other remote sites. Unfortunately, the poolfish population at Corn Creek did not survive, likely due to competitive interactions with exotic species such as crayfish, goldfish, and mosquitofish. To aid Pahrump poolfish conservation efforts, Otis Bay designed and provided construction oversight for a refugium to house the Pahrump poolfish at the Corn Creek Field Station. In addition, Otis Bay designed and provided construction oversight to restore several spring pools and their associated outflow channels to their historical nature.

Project Update:
The Pahrump poolfish refugium and spring channel restoration are complete.

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Click the links below to view the interactive panorama
and hear audio from Corn Creek!

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