The Las Vegas Wash acts as a natural
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.
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.
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:
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.
Explore the history of the Las Vegas Wash and get a glimpse of what's to come. Play
See photos of the Las Vegas Wash and its improvement projects. See
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