Help protect Nevada's freshwater systems for nature and people.
Thank you for your interest in The Nature Conservancy in Nevada. The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working across Nevada and around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.
All contributions, no matter the size, are gratefully received and put to work right away to make a difference for conservation.
As of March 2013, our current funding priorities are:
1. Eastern Sierra Rivers: Nevada’s Eastern Sierra Rivers – the Truckee, Carson and Walker – are green ribbons in our arid state, providing habitat and refuge for many plant and animal species, and drinking water, power and recreational opportunities for people. The rivers themselves are important as are their terminuses (Pyramid Lake, Stillwater Marsh and Walker Lake, respectively). The Nature Conservancy has a long history of successful restoration work along the Truckee River (both on the lower Truckee, east of Sparks, and in its headwaters, at Independence Lake) and a growing body of work along the Carson and – most recently – along the Walker.
2. Colorado River: The Nature Conservancy’s efforts along the Colorado River system are ambitious and focus primarily on restoring flows to the River and on removing invasive species such as tamarisk. Restoring flows takes many forms, such as retiring agricultural water uses and redirecting them to the River; providing efficiencies in agricultural production so that less water is needed for this purpose; and potentially to reworking some of the legal arrangements that guide the allocation of water among Colorado River users. For Nevada, we believe that if we can create a situation where there is more water in Lake Mead – available for use by the people of Las Vegas – this may create a healthier River and may relieve the pressure to build a pipeline to tap groundwater from Eastern Nevada and carry it to Las Vegas.
3. Mojave Desert: The Mojave Desert (located in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah) is an iconic landscape. It draws millions of visitors each year and is home to Death Valley, Ash Meadows, Desert tortoise, and the Devil’s Hole pupfish. Change is coming to the Mojave Desert – driven by large federal investments in renewable energy, California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Obama administration – which require the construction of significant new solar energy infrastructure in the Mojave Desert. The Nature Conservancy believes that we can have renewable energy development while also maintaining the viability of core ecosystems and species. The challenge is to site these new facilities in places that do the least damage to ecosystems and to the desert’s rare springs and seeps due to overuse of groundwater (water is used in some cases for steam generation and to clean solar panels).
4. Greater sage-grouse: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be making two different decisions regarding the potential listing of Sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. By far the larger in terms of area and likely conservation and economic impact is for the “Greater” population that occurs across 11 states. The decision for this area is due in September, 2015 and will have an influence on Nevada’s economic and conservation future. The sagebrush ecosystems in Nevada on which Sage grouse depend cover much of the northern half of Nevada. This habitat is declining, largely due to altered fire patterns (especially larger, more frequent fires) and invasive species (especially cheat grass). Large-scale restoration of habitat will be needed to prevent further declines in Sage grouse populations as well as the populations of other species that depend on sagebrush ecosystems, such as mule deer. The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to design habitat restoration plans that are specific and provide quantitative metrics for how much improvement will result from the proposed actions.
Call Nancy Light at 775.322.4990, extension 3117 to talk with her about these exciting opportunities. To make a grant from your Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund, call Tracy Turner at 775-333-5499 or go to www.nevadafund.org.
April 19, 2013