Browsing Hydrology and Water Resources in Arizona and the Southwest, Volume 44 (2015) by Authors
RESTORATION OF THE LAS VEGAS WASH AND ASSOCIATED WETLANDS IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADABurke, Megan; Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 2015-04-18)This paper evaluates the historical growth of the Las Vegas Wash, its subsequent degradation, and the current efforts to restore and stabilize its channel. The Las Vegas Valley Metropolitan Area is located in the Mohave Desert in a drainage basin surrounded by mountain ranges. This drainage basin and its dynamic system of stream channels constitute the Las Vegas Watershed in which the Wash is located. The condition of the Las Vegas Wash is unique, as is a perennial stream that evolved from an ephemeral wash in response to the rapid urbanization and subsequent production of treated wastewater input into the stream channel. The situation has created a series of wetland ecosystems along the Wash, and valuable riparian habitat in such an arid environment. The Wash and its associated wetlands system provide a variety of ecological services to the city of Las Vegas, including storm water conveyance, wastewater effluent filtration, flood protection, and a green space for residents to enjoy. However, continuous increase in volume and intensity of the stream flow has resulted in severe channel degradation and bank erosion in numerous locations along the stream channel. After an examination of the historic and present-day conditions of the Wash and its restoration activities, this essay suggests that future evaluations of the Las Vegas Wash case study may provide evidence to support the propagation of collaborative management efforts.