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Fish Survey

The Las Vegas Wash (Wash) is host to a variety of fish and wildlife, composed of native, migrant, and introduced species. Since flows in the Wash consist of variable amounts of reclaimed water, shallow ground water, urban runoff and stormwater, fish inhabitants can be acutely affected by changes in flow consistency and water chemistry. The construction of grade control structures, or weirs, within the Wash can also have an effect on fish inhabitants, serving as physical barriers impeding upstream migration as well as altering habitat. Wetlands created by weir impoundments and vegetation enhancement activities have created suitable habitat for both Nevada-native and non-native fishes.

Las Vegas Wash in Relation to the Las Vegas Creek
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La Rivers and Trelease conducted the first annotated checklist of fishes in Nevada in 1952. The initial effort to list the fishes found in Nevada ultimately was incorporated into La Rivers publication, Fishes and Fisheries of Nevada (LaRivers 1962) and subsequently modified into the Annotated List of the Fishes of Nevada (Deacon and Williams 1984). Limited recent information is available regarding fish communities in the Wash because much of the early work was focused on Las Vegas Creek near the Springs Preserve. For this reason, it was important to complete an intensive baseline survey to determine fish diversity in the Wash. The implementation of a fish survey establishes information on fish assemblages in the Wash and will help direct future management decisions to meet one of the general goals of the Las Vegas Wash Comprehensive Adaptive Management Plan, native biodiversity enhancement.

Las Vegas Wash Fish Survey
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The 2002-2003 fish survey was a quarterly monitoring program that investigated species diversity at eight sites. At each of these sites, a variety of standardized sampling methodologies were used, including hoop nets, minnow traps, seines and electrofishing. The use of multiple sampling methodologies allowed for the detection of a wide range of fish based on, body size and shape, habitat and food preferences, and activity and movement patterns.

A total of 7 species were observed in the Wash, none of which are native to Nevada; they are the green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), mosquitofish (Gambusia afinnis), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), black bullhead (Ameiurus melas), red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis), fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and the aquarium fish, suckermouth catfish (Family Laricariidae: Hypostomus plecostomus). Non-fish species were also found during survey efforts; they include the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), spiny softshell turtle (Trionyx spiniferus), bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), red eared slider (Trachemys scripta).

References

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