The Virgin River Conservation Partnership is a stakeholder group composed of federal, state and local agencies, conservation organizations, and other interested entities or individuals working to share information and make recommendations to planning efforts along the Virgin River.
Mesquite residents who enjoy strolling, jogging, or walking their dog along the Virgin River will notice some changes underway; the City of Mesquite and Partners In Conservation (PIC) have started work on the first wetlands mitigation project in Mesquite.
The project location is south of Charles Hughes Middle School and defined with posts and cable. Signs posted around the project provide a brief explanation and phone numbers so that residents may get additional information.
The project consists of securing the boundary, removing trash and tamarisks, as well as other invasive species, and planting native vegetation; additionally the site must be monitored and maintained to limit tamarisk regrowth. Native vegetation may need to be watered until their roots reach the water table.
There will be opportunities for local youth and non-profit groups to remove tamarisks and trash, plant native vegetation, and assist with the maintenance and monitoring portions of the project. In doing this work, groups can earn money for their organizations. The City of Mesquite strongly supports involving local organizations and groups. This is an excellent way to earn money for those organizations that do so much to enrich the lives of residents.
This project also involves an intensive OHV Responsible Use Educational Program. The wetlands mitigation project is a wonderful example of public/private collaboration. The project is situated along a trail in the City, which allows residents to watch the progress. Updates will be reported in the local papers on a regular basis. This is a unique opportunity for residents to learn and witness wetlands mitigation.
The City and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), along with other governmental entities in the Lower Virgin River Basin, have sought to develop the Virgin River Habitat Conservation Plan (VRHCP), which would reduce resource management conflicts while providing assurances for resource conservation and community development.
In combination with the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD), Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Clark County, and National Park Service (NPS) have developed a cooperative process; that incorporates the endangered species act (ESA) compliance requirements with voluntary implementation of species conservation actions while providing a platform and/or mechanism to accommodate appropriate land and water development:
Two species of fish and two species of riparian birds, native to the Virgin River Basin in Nevada, have been warranted for protection under the endangered species act and are covered under the VRHCRP: