Do you love getting outside with a purpose? The Volunteer Spring Monitoring Program is our newest project designed to recruit recreationists, create lasting stewards, and help monitor our precious water resources in Southern Nevada! Springs are places where groundwater comes up to the surface of the earth, whether it flows through cracks and conduits in the rock, seeps up into soil, or even bursts out of the ground due to pressure or heat (like geysers!). The groundwater that feeds some springs may have been underground for thousands of years, allowing the spring to flow during extended droughts. Other springs only flow after recent precipitation. All kinds can have a wide range of unique animals and plants, and are an oasis of life in the desert.
There are about 500 known (and many unknown) springs on public lands in Clark County. These springs are often the only source of water for precious wildlife such as birds and bighorn sheep. There are also species that only live here in these springs, including spring snails, dace, and others! Many of these springs have never been surveyed, and others haven't been visited in decades. Regular monitoring is critical to make sure they're healthy and still meeting the needs of the wildlife. That's where you come in!
What does the Spring Monitoring Program involve?
The first step of spring monitoring is getting to the spring. For some springs, you will be able to drive a paved road right up to them. Others may require off-roading in a 4WD vehicle (like jeeps, trucks, or ATV/UTVS). Some springs are just a few miles outside of the city, while others may require hours of driving into remote areas! After leaving your vehicle, the spring may be a few feet or many miles away, over flat or rocky terrain. You can visit springs that are right off of trails and roads, or test your navigation skills in Wilderness! Your spring monitoring adventure could last a few hours or a few days. It's up to you!
Once you find the spring, you'll collect some invaluable data. You'll take pictures, describe the spring, identify any concerns about its condition, measure the flow, and take a precise GPS point that will help others find it again. Interested volunteers can also get involved in more in-depth surveying, such as measuring water quality, looking for invasive species, identifying birds, or other things!
After your trip, the data you collect will become part of a worldwide database and help land managers protect and restore springs!
We'd like to monitor as many of the 500+ springs in Southern Nevada as volunteers are able - and we need all the help we can get! This is a unique opportunity to volunteer when you choose, where you choose, and with anyone you choose. It's a customizable program available to all ages and experience levels, from those looking for a relaxing afternoon stroll to those seeking a more challenging trek or off-road adventure in the backcountry. However you like to get outside and help the environment, we would love for you to join us!
How can I sign up?
During the pandemic, we have created a safe, contact-free way to volunteer! First, fill out the volunteer information at the bottom of the page, and you'll be emailed access to our virtual volunteer training. This is a required 1.5 hour training that covers some background about springs, the types of data we collect, and how to volunteer safely. Once trained, you can go explore on your own to find and monitor springs. We'll provide support and suggestions of springs to visit that will be tailored to your interests and ability levels!
After you've watched the virtual training, you're also welcome to join us at group spring surveying events and hands-on, in-the-field training in more advanced surveying methods. There will also be opportunities to help with spring restoration projects. By signing up below, you'll be among the first to know when those events get started. You can also keep an eye on the Calendar and our social media for updates!
Please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions to [email protected]!