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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Las Vegas Wash

Las Vegas Wash

The Las Vegas Wash acts as a natural
water filter.

The Las Vegas Wash is the primary channel through which the valley's excess water returns to Lake Mead. Accounting for less than 2 percent of the water in Lake Mead, the water flowing through the Wash consists of urban runoff, shallow groundwater, stormwater and releases from the valley's three water reclamation facilities.

The lower wash stretches 12 miles from the southeast part of the Las Vegas Valley to Lake Mead, entering the lake at Las Vegas Bay. Its once-plentiful wetlands helped polish urban flows on their way to Lake Mead. Decades ago, the flows of the Wash created more than 2,000 acres of wetlands, but by the 1990s, only about 200 acres of wetlands remained. The dramatic loss of vegetation reduced both the Wash’s ability to support wildlife and serve as a natural water filter.

Enhancement and Management Plan

In 1998 at the request of its citizens advisory committee, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) reached out to the community in an effort to develop solutions to the problems affecting the Wash. This led to the formation of the Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee (LVWCC), a panel representing more than two dozen local, state and federal agencies, businesses, environmental groups and private citizens. The committee quickly developed a long-term management plan for the Wash. At the plan's core were specific actions aimed at protecting and enhancing the Wash and surrounding wetlands.

Progress

In just a few years, the LVWCC and its member agencies have taken significant strides toward improving the Las Vegas Wash. Early efforts focused on reducing the channelization of the Wash, reducing erosion and increasing the number of wetlands. Accomplishments to date include:

  • Constructed 12 erosion control structures or weirs
  • Stabilized more than six miles of the Wash's banks
  • Revegetated more than 290 acres with trees, shrubs and emergents
  • Removed more than 500,000 pounds of trash from adjacent areas
  • Completed extensive wildlife and water quality monitoring programs
  • Hosted and/or participated in numerous volunteer events
  • Built or improved more than two miles of trails
  • Implemented an invasive species management program

LVWCC member Clark County Parks & Community Services also is making excellent progress on the Clark County Wetlands Park, where it has created a visitors center and picnic areas.

For more information about the Las Vegas Wash, visit lvwash.org.

Multimedia


Video: Las Vegas Wash Past, Present and Future

Video

Explore the history of the Las Vegas Wash and get a glimpse of what's to come. Play

Photos: Las Vegas Wash

Photos

See photos of the Las Vegas Wash and its improvement projects. See

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