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Cienega pond at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Habitat restoration

Located at the Springs Preserve are the remains of the Las Vegas Creek and several springs that supplied water to ancient Native Americans, early explorers and pioneers. The water sustained lush and diverse vegetation consisting of meadows and thickets of mesquites and willows that harbored a diverse array of wildlife.

By the early 1960s, the springs stopped flowing to the surface and much of the nearby vegetation died. In addition, human-caused disturbances including roads, utility corridors, dumping sites, and water distribution facilities also impacted the active springs.

Restoration efforts at the Springs Preserve began in 2000 and have involved cleanup, importing topsoil, recontouring land surfaces, propagating and planting native plants, seeding and irrigating.

To date, more than 90 acres have been restored, including:

  • Seven acres of wetland, including a stream and 14 habitat ponds.
  • The restoration of a half-mile of the remnant Las Vegas Creek.
  • The re-creation of several different native plant communities found throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
  • The restoration of unique plant communities such as the community occupied by the rare Las Vegas bearpoppy.

Rare and Endangered Species

The original creeks and pools located on the Springs Preserve site used to harbor their own distinct types of frogs and fish, but those species were wiped out when the springs were pumped dry in the 1960s. The Springs Preserve has recently introduced two similar species, the rare relict leopard frog and the federally endangered Pahrump poolfish, to help rewild these native habitats.

Visitors to the Springs Preserve can access the site by taking the trails to Cottonwood Grove. But be patient, as these tiny residents can be hard to detect. Relict leopard frogs are most active at night and are well camouflaged with their surroundings.