A large blue pool in the desert surrounded by shrubs.
Ash Meadows A spring at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge © Simon Williams/TNC


Nevada State Director Statement: The Nature Conservancy opposes proposed exploration for lithium near Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Statement from Mauricia Baca, Nevada State Director of The Nature Conservancy

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Mauricia Baca, Nevada State Director of The Nature Conservancy: “The Nature Conservancy is a science-based, solutions-oriented partner to private landowners, communities, businesses, and governments seeking to address the global biodiversity and climate crises. Through our decades of work in conservation, The Nature Conservancy has established a proven track record of demonstrating that economic development need not come at the expense of protecting nature.

“Indeed, across the southwestern deserts, we have partnered with the mining industry and the energy sector to advance conservation and clean energy goals. Key to realizing such win-wins, however, is making sure that development occurs in the right places where impacts to biodiversity can be avoided, minimized or mitigated.

“Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge stands out as one of the most pronounced biodiversity hotspots in the continental United States. Fifty years ago, our organization played a key role in protecting this site, and we remain deeply invested in ensuring its long-term protection.

“As such, we strongly oppose the proposed minerals exploration drilling on Bureau of Land Management lands in immediate proximity to the ecological treasure that is Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This drilling–and the development that could follow from it–threatens the continued existence of numerous unique species that rely on this irreplaceable site.  

“We recognize the essential role lithium plays in urgently transitioning to a clean economy and avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis on people and nature. We have identified approaches to meet future lithium needs while minimizing impacts on biodiversity. Nevada has the potential to provide much of the lithium needed to meet clean energy goals, but it should not be done by sacrificing the natural wonders that make Nevada so special.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.