Five Springs complex at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

Purpose of the project:
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) supports the only endemic population of the critically endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish and the Ash Meadows Speckled Dace. In an effort to address the direct threats of small population size, genetic isolation, and to improve aquatic habitat conditions for the pupfish the Ash Meadows NWR, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and numerous other partners are working together to restore natural hydrologic connectivity between the Five Springs complex and downstream habitats.

This project removed non-native species and restored the natural historic floods that were hindered by a road and fallow field. This restoration has benefitted the Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish, the Ash Meadows Speckled Dace, and numerous other plant and animal species by improved fish passage and connectivity through the removal of barriers and impoundments, yielding increased genetic exchange for the pupfish, and increasing the available habitat for both the pupfish and the speckled dace.

Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge consists of 24,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands that is so unique it’s been recognized as a wetland of international importance. These wetland sites around the world are known as Ramsar sites and Ash Meadows was one of the first Ramsar sites in the United States. Since its inception as a refuge, Ash Meadows has provided people the opportunity to experience an ecosystem unlike anything else found on Earth. Visitors who come to explore this desert oasis and its boundless natural beauty are often amazed when they see the numerous endemic plant and animal species and the stunningly gorgeous views offered by the ice blue springs and harsh desert landscape.

Project Timeline:
The project was completed in 2017

Economic Calculator results
As per a model developed by the Genter Consulting Group, the habitat enhancement aspects of the project alone will result in the creation of 13 additional jobs and an estimated $660,588.01 dollar increase in economic activity.

This project was funded by the following partners; Desert Fish Habitat Partnership,
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Geological Survey
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Southern Oregon University
The Great Basin Institute
Dr. Andrew Martin
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Restoration of the Five Springs complex on the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge has been completed! The project restored 2,000 feet of stream channel and replaced a culvert that enabled the area to be reconnected to the historic channel. These efforts have resulted in naturalized springs and outflows and have made the downstream habitat needed for the long-term conservation of the endangered Ash Meadows Pupfish as well as the Ash Meadows Speckled Dace available once again. These measures have resulted in an increase in the Pupfish population and increased the genetic variability of the species.

Project Submission by:
The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

2018 Waters to Watch