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Springs conservation plan published after three years of research



CARSON CITY — The Nevada Natural Heritage Program (NNHP), Desert Research Institute and the Nature Conservancy announced today the publication of the Nevada Springs Conservation Plan.

The plan is the culmination of a partnership among the three entities and more than three years of field work, data analysis and conservation planning.

“Springs are important to Nevada citizens and to their livelihoods, and isolated springs in Nevada are often hotspots of biodiversity,” said Jennifer Newmark, administrator of NNHP, a division of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  “Of the 69 highest priority conservation sites identified by NNHP in 2006, 53 are springs with rare plant and animal life.”

Since the mid-1980s, DRI has been gathering information on springs throughout the state and has been documenting the condition of the springs. The springs conservation plan reports on the condition of 283 springs.  It shows that:

  • All natural physical characteristics were substantially represented at less than half of the springs (41%), and 13% of all springs were in currently poor condition;
  • There were no discernible change in ground-water discharge at 98% of the springs;
  • No highly invasive aquatic species were detected at most springs (79%) but at 5% of springs, two or more highly invasive aquatic species were present;
  • The composition of native riparian plants was rated as good or very good at almost half (48%) of the springs and in poor condition at 18% of springs.

Newmark said that the report “was made possible by a dedicated team of folks who participated in working groups that refined key ecological attributes as well as assessed the threats to these systems.”

The contributors include: Susan Abele and Greg Low with the Nature Conservancy (Abele is now with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); Don Sada with Desert Research Institute; Jennifer Newmark and Janel Johnson with the Nevada Natural Heritage Program; Steve Caicco with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jon Sjoberg with Nevada Department of Wildlife; Bob Boyd and Sandra Brewer with the Bureau of Land Management; and Ross Haley with the National Park Service.

A copy of the report is available from the Nevada Natural Heritage Program’s website at low resolution: http://heritage.nv.gov/reports/springcons.pdf  or high resolution: http://heritage.nv.gov/reports/springcons_highres.pdf.

Printed copies are available by request to Desirae Munns at the Nevada Natural Heritage Program: 775-684-2903 or [email protected].

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