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Rows of California fan palms at Warm Springs Natural Area

An Island in a Sea of Desert

Warm Springs Natural Area is a 1,250-acre oasis in Moapa, Nevada featuring more than two dozen bubbling springs, rushing streams and lush wetlands. It is also home to over 28 sensitive species and more than 200 species of birds. Operated by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, our mission is to manage the property as a natural area for the benefit of native species and for the recovery of the endangered Moapa dace.

Volunteer collecting plants at Warm Springs Natural Area

Volunteer opportunities

Warm Springs Natural Area is seeking enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about the outdoors and thrive on educating others! Come engage visitors at our public use area, help at local events, assist staff during field trips and other hosted activities, work in the greenhouse and on restoration projects, and teach the community about our rich history and current preservation efforts and biological, ecological, and archaeological research.

Become a docent

2023 Highlights

  • Completed in-person classroom, community and symposium presentations reaching more than 1,000 people.
  • Hosted a booth at the Pomegranate Festival, Second Saturday, Earth Day and the Lost City Museum Open House, interacting with more than 500 individuals.
  • Continued partnership with Future Farmers of America program at Moapa Valley, engaging students in plant-propagation projects and property maintenance.
  • Hosted 120 fifth-graders from Grant Bowler Middle School for World Wetlands Day.
  • Hosted annual community Green-Up event that brought 168 volunteers to the property to plant 2,100 native shrubs and grasses.
  • Spent more than 1,980 hours completing nine Scout projects that included 243 volunteers installing 1,354 native trees and shrubs.
  • Volunteers completed more than 340 hours in plant propagation projects in the Greenhouse and Shade Structure on property.
  • Completed tours for more than 300 guests for groups including Red Rock Audubon, Friends of Gold Butte, Hiking Families of Southern Nevada, Vista Park Senior Community, Desert Fossils Hiking Group and more.
  • Logged more than 190 groups and over 565 individuals in the guestbook.
  • Hosted Spring and Fall tours bringing more than 280 people to the property.
  • Conducted small mammal surveys at several of the upland restoration sites documenting 7 species of rodents, including desert pocket mouse and western harvest mouse.
  • Added several new terrestrial invertebrates to the inventory, including some possible state records, bringing the total to 501.
  • Conducted a Monarch survey documenting 7 caterpillars in the milkweed patches and 3 adult monarch on the property.
  • Conducted Moapa dace counts, snorkeling more than 6 miles of streams for each count. Numbers remain stable with 1,933 Moapa dace counted in February 2023 and 1,888 counted in August 2023.
  • Counted 23 juvenile Virgin River chub on property during the August 2023 dace count. This is the highest number of this native fish seen since 1994 when 8,056 were counted.
  • Conducted Christmas Bird Count on Jan. 1, 2023 with 19 participants counting 79 species and 5,992 total birds.
  • Eighteen Moapa dace bred at the Lake Mead Fish Hatchery were released into the wild on Jun 27, 2023. This is first time Moapa dace have been bred in captivity and released into the wild to augment wild populations.
  • Continued annual marsh bird surveys, detecting Virginia rail, sora and least bittern.
  • Surveyed for southwestern willow flycatcher (endangered), identifying three territories, which fledged a record eight young.
  • Conducted surveys for yellow-billed cuckoo (threatened), detecting one probable breeding territory and an estimated two individuals.
  • Continued to implement compliance measures to protect Threatened and Endangered species per the Incidental Take Permit authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • A new WSNA Maintenance Coordinator joined the WSNA team.
  • Tri-County Weed Control treated nearly 13.82 acres of noxious weeds and 22.46 acres of bare ground for firebreaks January through October.
  • Nevada Division of Forestry removed 2 acres of tamarisk along the Muddy River.
  • Produced more than 3,500 native trees, shrubs and grasses in the onsite propagation facility for future restoration efforts.
  • Installed more than 6,500 native plants and associated irrigation systems at six ecological restoration sites.
  • Cleared vegetation from 0.75 miles of streams to improve Moapa dace habitat.
  • Prepared plans and started work at restoration sites funded by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Continue to treat and remove noxious weeds.
  • Continue mowing of brush and noxious weeds in efforts for fuel reduction.
  • Continue maintenance of fire breaks.
  • A Bureau of Land Management Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act grant will fund a new trail system, including interpretive signage, a connecting trail to the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and restoration of natural landscapes along the newly formed trails.
  • A new Bureau of Reclamation grant will fund habitat improvements along the Muddy River.
  • Continue to engage with local schools, delivering in-classroom presentations and bringing students to the property for field trips.
  • Continue Spring and Fall Public Use tours for the general public and tours for interested groups.