Habitat Protection

Resource management plans have been developed that enhance and protect wildlife and habitats and provide safe opportunities for responsible recreational use of land and water resources.

This hawk is one of many raptors protected by NV Energy bird perching deterrents and alternative nest sites.

NV Energy has a very successful record regarding its protection of sensitive natural systems and special status species throughout our service territory. Resource management plans have been developed throughout southern Nevada that enhance and protect plants, wildlife and habitats. NV Energy complies with and participates in the development of those plans. Some examples are:

Raptor Protection

Throughout the state, NV Energy works to protect raptors, who have a tendency to want to nest in many of our poles, towers, and other structures. Because of the lack of trees on much of Nevada's rangelands, power lines have become a substitute place for these birds to perch and roost. NV Energy scientists and engineers are working together to make alternative nesting platforms for the birds and make the electrical facilities safe for bird use.

This effort has the mutual benefit of protecting sensitive raptor species and reducing the amount of bird related outages experienced by our customers.

Desert Tortoise Relocations

The desert tortoise is the largest reptile and the only wild land tortoise in southern Nevada. Federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, tortoises and their habitat are legally protected. NV Energy scientists volunteer their time to the Desert Tortoise Conservation Program to help relocate rehabilitated tortoises back into the wild.

Endangered Fish Species

Water from the Muddy River in southern Nevada is used as make-up process water at the Reid Gardner Generating Plant. The Virgin River Chub, a federally listed endangered species, and Tilapia, an introduced exotic species, live in the warm waters of the Muddy River. Tilapia has been outcompeting the Chub, and is further endangering the Chub by eating their young. NV Energy has been working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to capture and remove the Tilapia from the cooling ponds at the Reid Gardner plant. This will allow the population of the Virgin River Chub to recover in the warm waters at the intake structures and possibly protect them from further devastation.

In a related program, NV Energy cooperated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy to construct weirs in the Muddy River to prevent territorial expansion of the introduced exotic fish species, Tilapia. Moapa Dace, a federally listed endangered species, lives in the warm waters of the Muddy River but have not yet been found in the intake water at the Reid Gardner plant. The Tilapia are outcompeting the Moapa Dace in the Muddy River so the weir will prevent the Tilapia from accessing territory that is suitable for the Moapa Dace to survive.

Also, NV Energy has works with agencies like U.S. Fish and Game to ensure native fish like the cut-throat trout in northern Nevada have a healthy and sustainable environment.

Plants

Many state and federal-listed special status plants such as bearpoppy and buckwheat are found in the Las Vegas Valley. Nevada Power contributes to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) efforts to develop a national plan for restoration of arid lands impacted by development. We are also working with BLM and UNLV to develop a monitoring and sampling program to assess the success of transplanted species of cacti and yucca.

In a separate program, diversity of protected plants is being enhanced. A recent example in this program centered around a substation being constructed on private land in southern Nevada that would have affected two species of protected plants. NV Energy elected to transplant and donate the protected plant species of Mojave Yuccas and cacti to the Bureau of Land Management for use in their program to revegetate disturbed areas.

Muddy River Recovery Implementation Team

NV Energy's Reid Gardner Generating facility is located near Moapa, Nevada, a unique area 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The Moapa (or Muddy) River is one of the Mojave Desert's most important areas of biodiversity, providing habitat for four rare and endemic fish species, seven species of rare invertebrates, and a unique assemblage of Mojave Desert riparian vegetation. The Nature Conservancy's Mojave Desert Ecoregional Assessment has also identified the Muddy River as one of the region's most threatened landscapes, but one rich in opportunities for a successful community conservation program. NV Energy has joined with several government agencies and environmental groups to assist in implementing the Upper Muddy River Site Conservation Plan.

Revegitation Efforts

NV Energy created an erosion control plan using pine needles as mulching material for re-vegetation of a power line right-of-way in the Lake Tahoe Basin. NV Energy salvaged tons of pines needles collected from the paved roads in the Tahoe area. The needles, previously destined for the landfill, were instead rerouted to help mulch the area of concern. The needles were baled and spread by helicopter over the previously seeded dirt road surface. The result: mulch and protection for the seed and an improved appearance for the impacted area.