ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION

Research Associates can serve as project managers for hard-working Nevada Conservation Corps crews by lining out the scope and logistics of projects, managing crews and monitoring work in order to gather data on the efficacy of the efforts.

Research Associates can serve as project managers for hard-working Nevada Conservation Corps crews by lining out the scope and logistics of projects, managing crews and monitoring work in order to gather data on the efficacy of the efforts.

Habitat Restoration. When the plants aren’t growing and the birds aren’t moving in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, GBI RAs implement streambed stabilization, conduct native tree planting. and oversee NCC efforts to eradicate illegal off-highway vehicle roads fragmenting and scarring the native ecosystem. To improve the success of restoration, RAs collect, clean, preserve and plant native and rare plant species seeds as part of the BLM’s “Seeds of Success” program.

Arid Lands Restoration. The growth of the Las Vegas Valley has led to increased recreational use of off-highway vehicle (OHV) traffic, which has resulted in an increase in the number of illegal routes and degraded natural environments. Illegal vehicle use destroys habitat for many special status species including the Las Vegas bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica) and threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Research Associates work with BLM officials to identify and assess trouble spots, then coordinate efforts to restore habitat, and to monitor and treat invasive plants. RAs also coordinate the collection of native seeds for use in restoration activities.

Moapa National Wildlife Refuge. Located northeast of Las Vegas, the 12-acre Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge (MVNWR) was the first refuge created to protect an endangered fish, the Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea). GBI Research Associates have coordinated restoration efforts on the refuge. These activities include removing old buildings, concrete channels, swimming pools, and hundreds of non-native palm trees. Under RA direction, weeds and non-native fish are monitored and removed, and projects to restore natural water flows in springs and water channels are undertaken.

Desert Clean-Up. Las Vegas has substantial illegal dumping and graffiti problems, as do most towns within Clark and southern Nye counties. In 2007, the BLM responded by creating the Desert Clean Up program as part of the larger Don’t Trash Nevada (donttrashnevada.org) effort. Supported by the federal land management agencies, the Southern Nevada Health District, and city and county offices, Research Associates organize concerned citizens to complete community clean-ups. Empowering people to improve their own communities fosters a sense of empowerment and responsibility that helps curb dumping at its source.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area. GBI Research Associates have worked with NPS botanists and other resource specialists to decommission illegal OHV routes, conduct trail inventories, plant native species, and harvest seeds;. RAs have also evaluated the impacts of fencing on recreation opportunities and natural resources. Fences throughout Lake Mead restrict cattle, burro, and vehicular traffic movement around sensitive areas. RAs have also developed a method for assessing the impact of cattle and burro populations, established fencing and grazing exclosures, and completed an experiment to measure the effect of grazing exclosures on rare and endemic plant species like Sticky Buckwheat (Eriogonum viscidulum).

Native Plant Nursery. At Lake Mead NRA, GBI RAs are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Lake Mead Native Plant Nursery. The nursery grows plants and stores seeds from barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), Goodings willow (Salix gooddingii), and cottonwood (Populus fremontii) among others. All plants produced support restoration efforts throughout southern Nevada.