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Desert tortoise

Environmental stewardship

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and its member agencies employ environmentally responsible and sustainable practices, as well as comply with a variety of federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations.

SNWA works cooperatively with federal, state and local agencies to ensure mitigation or minimization of the impacts during development of water resources, including construction, operation and maintenance of water facilities.

By diligently following applicable environmental laws and regulations, as well as by using best management practices, SNWA minimizes its environmental footprint and works to conserve and preserve the environment's natural resources for future generations.

Lower Colorado River multi-species conservation

The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCRMSCP) is a coordinated, multi-agency effort to protect the species and habitat of the Lower Colorado River region. The Water Authority is a nonfederal partner of the LCRMSCP, which is implemented by the Bureau of Reclamation. Goals of the program include:

  • Conserving the habitat and working toward recovery of threatened and endangered species
  • Reducing the likelihood of additional species listings
  • Accommodating current water diversions and power production
  • Optimizing opportunities for future water and power development
  • Providing the basis for incidental take authorizations

Steering committee

Partnership involvement occurs primarily through the program’s steering committee. This committee represents 56 entities from Arizona, California, Nevada, and the federal government, including state and federal agencies, water and power users, and other interested parties.

The steering committee provides input and oversight functions. Program costs are split evenly between the federal government and the nonfederal partners.

Endangered Species Act compliance

The LCRMSCP provides agencies and organizations Endangered Species Act compliance for covered actions, such as the diversion of Colorado River water, the production of power from six main stem dams, and the maintenance of the lower Colorado River, through the implementation of its Habitat Conservation Plan.

Habitat Conservation Plan

As the implementing agency, the Bureau of Reclamation works closely with the LCRMSCP steering committee to implement conservation measures outlined in the program's Habitat Conservation Plan.

This plan calls for the creation and maintenance of more than 8,100 acres of habitat for fish and wildlife species, as well as the production of more than 1.2 million native fish to augment existing populations. Continuing progress in implementing the Habitat Conservation Plan will conserve native species and their habitats while providing the environmental compliance needed to meet society's expectations.

Species SNWA has been involved in protecting

Moapa dace in a stream.
Razorback sucker fish.
Southwestern willow flycatcher bird.
Vermilion flycatcher bird.
Virgin river chub fish.
Western yellow bill cuckoo
Yuma ridgway's rail

Moapa dace

Razorback sucker

Southwestern willow flycatcher

Vermilion flycatcher

Virgin river chub

Western yellow bill cuckoo

(Photo: Rod Bailey)

Yuma ridgway's rail

(Photo: Aaron Ambos)

Clark County conservation

Desert Conservation Program

After the Endangered Species Act listing of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in 1990, local Clark County agencies recognized the need to address concerns about listed or sensitive species that could affect development in the county.

Clark County founded the Clark County Desert Conservation Program to protect habitat for tortoises and other desert plants and animals, while allowing for continued development in the county.

Learn more about the Desert Conservation Program

Multiple Species Habitat Conservation

Beginning in 2001, the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) was implemented to address biological resources within Clark County. The plan provides Endangered Species Act coverage for 78 species, including the desert tortoise.

The key purpose of the MSHCP is to achieve a balance between the conservation and recovery of listed and sensitive species in Clark County and the orderly, beneficial land use to meet the needs of the growing population.

The Water Authority actively participates in the plan, which serves as an insurance policy to cover future federal listings of species in areas where urban development is taking place. Protecting the 78 species and their habitats not only helps these specific species, but also should reduce the probability of additional species becoming listed as threatened or endangered.

View the Clark County MSHCP

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