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What is the Wash?

Water quality resources and biological studies are among the many subjects of research projects conducted at the Las Vegas Wash. Data from these studies were used to create the Las Vegas Wash Wildlife Management Plan, which includes 31 recommended actions designed to conserve the native species found along the Wash; protect and enhance their habitats; and increase environmental awareness of these resources within the community.


Water Quality
Our real-time water quality monitoring program allows for the collection of data at 20-minute intervals, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sophisticated equipment logs data, such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and electrical conductivity. You can view online the data collected. In addition, water quality collections and samples are taken from the mainstream Wash, its tributaries and seeps.

Stream gauging also is conducted to measure flows of the tributaries of the Wash and determine how much water is flowing from them into the mainstream Wash. This information allows us to determine the contributions of contamination from urban runoff and the effects on water quality from specific uses of the land around the valley. Contamination knows no boundaries. Whether it's dumped on the ground out in the northwest section of the Las Vegas Valley or on the streets of Henderson, it will eventually make its way to the Wash through various tributaries and groundwater.

Samples of water are collected at numerous locations along the Wash and within the Boulder Basin of Lake Mead for a contaminant assessment program. The program is focused on the efficiency of water treatment and emerging contaminants such as mercury, perchlorate, and selenium from surface and ground water.

When the Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee (LVWCC) was created in 1998, the majority of the biological resources in the Wash had not been studied for more than 25 years. One of the 44 action items recommended in the LVWCC's guiding document, the Las Vegas Wash Comprehensive Adaptive Management Plan, is the development of a long-term fish and wildlife management plan. To ensure that the LVWCC would have the best available information with which to develop this plan, the Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team has conducted extensive biological monitoring, including reptile, small mammal, bat, amphibian, fish and various bird surveys.

The biological surveys and studies conducted help us understand the important relationship between the water and the creatures living in and around it. Water quality is important to both humans and wildlife, and the presence or absence of wildlife can help us to better understand what is happening within the Wash. Research on mammals, fishes, reptiles and amphibians has concluded for the time being.

Some bird studies also have wrapped up, while others are ongoing. Macroinvertebrate surveys in the channel have been conducted for years but work is now being carried out to document all invertebrates in the Wash. Plants also are an important component of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for the Wash's diverse wildlife. An inventory of more than 265 species of plants has been logged and is ongoing, and our herbarium collection can be searched online.


You'll be able to find out more about our projects throughout this section. If you have any questions contact the project team office at (702) 822-3300.

Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300