Nevada, “the Silver State,” is a land full of contrasts — from Boundary Peak at 13,143 feet in elevation to the Colorado River at 470 feet, it encompasses a very broad range of habitats and a wealth of biological diversity. In fact, the state  covers  more than 109,800 square miles of territory, making it the seventh-largest state in the country — and 87 percent of that territory comprises federal public lands, mainly managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. All this public ownership makes federal actions on these lands a very important aspect of defending and protecting Nevada's wildlands and their diversity.

Nevada is noted for its basin-and-range topography containing numerous mountain ranges separated by dry valley basins. This distinctive geography results in the separation of species and leads to new subspecies forming, often unique to each mountain range. Most of Nevada is in either in the Great Basin high desert or the Mojave Desert ecoregion, with a small part lying in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion.


Currently in Nevada, the Center operates an office staffed by an active ecologist and conservation advocate, with support from the Tucson, San Francisco and other offices. We're committed to protecting this state's numerous rare species, beautiful lands and life-sustaining groundwater from all the threats that come with an exploding human population. Besides woorking in the areas below, we've recently opposed a planned project involving hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a controversial form of oil and gas extraction that involves blasting huge volumes of water, mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, deep into the earth to break up rock formations

The Center, both alone and as a member of the Great Basin Water Network coalition, is a key advocate for ensuring that native species and ecosystems retain the precious little water they need for survival. One of our biggest projects aims to stop the Southern Nevada Water Authority from pumping around 160,000 acre-feet annually from eastern Nevada and sending it through 300 miles of pipeline to support the Las Vegas area's uncontrolled growth — harming a long list of endangered species and their habitats in the process. Learn more.

Renewable Energy
Nevada is rich in renewable energy opportunities, and the Center strongly supports the development of renewable energy production. However, like all projects, proposed renewable energy projects  must be thoughtfully planned to minimize their impacts on the environment. The Center is working to make sure Nevada's many renewable energy projects are truly sustainable, serving their important purpose without harming sensitive species and habitat. Learn more.

Travel-management Planning on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has 10 ranger districts and covers more than 6.3 million acres of Nevada and a small portion of California, making it the largest national forest outside of Alaska. With its isolated mountain ranges and hundreds of species — living in habitats from alpine tundra  and  bristlecone pine forests to desert brush and Joshua trees — the Humboldt Toiyabe has a fantastic level of biological diversity. But all these unique animals and plants are threatened by off-road vehicle use on the forest — which the Center is doing our best to keep in check through regulations provided by proper travel-management planning. Learn more.

Special Species
At the core of the Center's mission is the protection of imperiled species and their habitats. In Nevada, those plants and animals most threatened include the Las Vegas buckwheat, Ash Meadows gumplant, Moapa dace, razorback sucker, Mono Basin area greater sage grouse, Amargosa toad, desert tortoise, yellow-billed cuckoo, Sand Mountain blue butterfly and 42 Great Basin springsnails.

Special Places
The Center's Nevada advocate is actively working to protect three special places in southern Nevada from destruction. Learn about our campaigns to save the Upper Las Vegas Wash, Gold Butte and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan Amendment
“Habitat conservation plans” are usually exactly the opposite of what their name implies — and the Clark County plan is no exception. Learn more about how this plan harms the desert tortoise, rare plants and other species — and how some want to expand the habitat destruction it already allows.

Federal Agency Land-management Planning
Because more than 87 percent of Nevada is federally managed, the Center is especially committed to watchdogging the development and implementation land-management plans. Submitting comments under the National Environmental Policy Act, we make sure that agencies prepare a legally required environmental impact statement analyzing the ecosystem effects of every proposed plan. Learn more.


Photo by Rob Mrowka