Why is "the Wash" important?
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What is the Wash?
The Importance of the Wash

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The Las Vegas Wash is the final link in the Las Vegas Valley’s water supply. It carries the valley’s excess water – an average of more than 150 million gallons a day – through the wetlands on its way to Lake Mead. That’s a lot of water! Keeping this water clean is important to all of us. This water supports acres of wetlands, creating not only an oasis for a variety of plant and animal species in the middle of the Mojave Desert, but also a crucial cleansing point for the runoff. Water from the valley, especially urban runoff, picks up fertilizer residue, oil and grease from the streets and other contaminants as it makes its way to the Wash. Wetlands vegetation helps clean the water that comes from the valley by polishing and filtering for the water, reducing pollutants as the water travels toward Lake Mead.

Great Blue Heron

In addition to providing better water quality, the wetlands provide important habitat and recreational area for outdoors enthusiasts. The sights are beautiful to behold – you could see a great blue heron sweeping majestically in to survey his community, or see a lizard scurry across your path. Sounds abound, too! You’ll hear birds calling, frogs croaking, and possibly something rustling in the nearby brush. What was that? Different creatures are seen at different times of the day, so you’ll want to visit often and vary the times you are there.

You’ll be able to find out more about the Las Vegas Wash throughout this section. The history of the Wash dates back a millennium to a time when Native Americans used the area surrounding the Las Vegas Wash as a food gathering spot, and also for purposes of trade. Read about the diverse and integrated environment of the Wash, how the wetlands have changed over time, the habitats the wetlands support, the various studies being conducted to further understand this delicate ecosystem, and the benefits to water quality. We’re looking at everything from bats to weeds – come see!

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