Las Vegas is dedicated to preserving and enhancing its environment, and community involvement is essential for success. From avoiding contamination to volunteering for planting events, there are many ways citizens of Las Vegas can contribute. The Las Vegas Wash Coordinating Committee has been organizing Wash Green-Up volunteer planting events since April 2001. With funding from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, these events have brought together local citizens, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, high schools, fraternities, sororities, religious groups, casino groups and other civic-minded entities and individuals. So far, they have planted hundreds of acres with more than 100,000 native plants.
Water is a precious resource in the Las Vegas Valley, where only four inches of rain falls each year. To save costs and improve the quality of plants, local seeds are used in combination with a more sporadic irrigation program than that of a typical nursery. This helps customize them for life in Las Vegas Wash. Nevada's two main urban areas, Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks-Tahoe, have experienced remarkable growth over the past decade.
The distribution of wildlife closely follows this pattern of resource distribution and is not usually found at high densities in the Nevada mountain ranges. The Truckee River system provides most of the water to residents of Reno-Sparks-Tahoe. In the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, water rights are assigned differently than in Southern Nevada because developers must purchase water rights before they can build. Since the federal government owns nearly 87% of Clark County's land, the law established a limited area around the Las Vegas Valley.
By taking part in Wash Green-Ups or other volunteer activities, citizens of Las Vegas can help protect and improve their environment. With everyone's help, Nevada can remain one of the most biodiverse states in the nation.