How Community Organizations in Las Vegas Nevada are Making a Difference in Conservation and Restoration

In the early 1970s, a small group of individuals had the foresight to recognize the environmental significance of the Las Vegas Wash wetlands, which were being destroyed by the flow of treated wastewater and runoff from the valley as it moved towards Lake Mead. To protect these wetlands, these volunteers committed to raising public awareness and generating support for a regional park. Over the following years, small steps were taken towards achieving this goal. In 1998, two doctoral students from the University of Nevada, Jerry Keir and Sanjay Pyare, co-founded the Institute for Natural Resources Conservation Service. This organization was created to mobilize professors, students and volunteers from the University in applied science and direct service to support national parks, forests, open spaces and public lands. The Friends of Nevada Wilderness partnered with Clark County and Ducks Unlimited to help develop the park and continue to actively participate in projects in the park that benefit the community.

The Desert Wetlands Conservancy (DWC) is a private member of the Las Vegas Laundry Coordination Committee, a 28-member panel comprised of local, state and federal agencies, county and municipal businesses, local environmentalists, businessmen and members of the public. This committee was formed in 1999 to oversee and implement a comprehensive management plan for water quality in Southern Nevada. Bruce Saito directs the California Conservation Corps, which is the oldest and largest conservation body in the country. He is dedicated to improving the vocational experience of members of the Corps and expanding environmentally focused projects that make California an even better place to live. The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is also encouraging Nevada residents and stakeholders to participate in an upcoming listening session to learn about their program and help identify and prioritize new grant projects. Monique worked with New York University's Initiative for Postsecondary Success, a national pilot project that supported community-based organizations (CBO) across the country to design and implement post-secondary programs in partnership with local institutions of higher education for students who were disconnected from education. When the LVWCC was first created in 1999, the Las Vegas Wash wetlands had suffered severe erosion due to increased water flow from waste treatment plants and major storms, which had practically eliminated all wetlands that existed there throughout history.

The DWC played a crucial role in ensuring support from Clark County and Southern Nevada Water Authority to gather and reserve approximately 3,000 acres within the Wash for Desert Wetland Park. Lexicon Bank's Community Spotlight program is also helping to raise awareness about conservation efforts by highlighting local nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in Southern Nevada. Community organizations in Las Vegas Nevada have been instrumental in raising awareness about conservation and restoration efforts. Through their commitment to protecting wetlands, mobilizing volunteers for applied science projects, supporting grant projects, providing post-secondary programs for disconnected students, gathering resources for Desert Wetland Park, and highlighting local nonprofits making a difference in Southern Nevada, these organizations have been able to make a positive impact on their community.

Harriet Fabros
Harriet Fabros

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