Land and Water

African Americans in Las Vegas

Over the course of the twentieth century, economic opportunities encouraged Black migration to the Las Vegas area, but racial discrimination curtailed aspirations for decent employment. Partnership in a ranch attracted John Howell, the first Black man known to own property in Southern Nevada; however the railroad, gaming, and federal projects drew most African Americans to Las Vegas. By 1910, out of the 945 residents of Las Vegas, forty were Black.

Ecological Islands

In the White River Valley of eastern Nevada, chalky white mounds rise gently above the sagebrush and greasewood of the valley floor. These mounds [Figure 1] are made of calcium minerals that precipitated out of the waters of old springs. Today, the spring mounds are the habitat of an unusual set of mostly low-growing plants [Figure 2] that look like they belong in alpine tundra more than among the shrubs of the valley.


Tamarisk is arguably one of the nation's top ten nefarious weeds, and Nevada is unlucky enough to have more than its fair share of it. This shrub or small tree exerts many negative effects on ecosystems and human resources, including decreased native plant and animal diversity, an accumulation of salt in soils, increased water loss, narrowing and incision of river channels, and increased fire risk. Tamarisk is a halophyte, a plant species that is able to grow under extremely salty (saline) conditions, hence its alternative common name, saltcedar.

Stillwater Geothermal Field

Stillwater geothermal field is located near the small community of Stillwater, Nevada, approximately 20 km east of Fallon and just south of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge. The community of Stillwater is near the center of a thermal groundwater anomaly covering 52-65 km2 .

Steamboat Springs Geothermal Field

The Steamboat Springs geothermal resource is located south of Reno, Nevada, just off U.S. Highway 395. Two electric generating facilities utilize geothermal waters believed to be related to a single high temperature fluid that rises from depths beneath the Steamboat Hills and cools along a path to the area of the lower facility, the SB Geo plant. North and northeast-striking faults predominate in the Steamboat Hills area and probably provide the main conduits for fluid flow to the resource areas tapped by the two companies.

Soda Lake Geothermal Area

Soda Lake, 10 km northwest of Fallon, Nevada, was not identified as a geothermal resource until drilling for a water well encountered boiling water north of the lake in 1903. Some surface evidence of geothermal activity is present in sediments that demonstrate shallow subsurface boiling; a hot spring may have discharged at this site through the end of the nineteenth century.

Singleleaf Pinyon

Singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla) dominates much of Nevada's pinyon-juniper woodlands and is Nevada's state tree along with the Great Basin bristlecone pine, which is not as widely represented geographically nor as important with respect to prehistoric and historic human use.

Salt Wells, Eight Mile Flat

Salt Wells, also known as Eight Mile Flat, is located near Fallon in Churchill County, Nevada. This geothermal area was originally drilled by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in the early 1980s.

Salt Desert Vegetation of Nevada

Nevada's numerous mountain ranges are separated by broad valleys that at first glance appear inhospitable to life. However, surprisingly diverse desert scrub communities have adapted to this harsh environment and are an important food source for localized herbivore populations.

Rye Patch, Humboldt House Geothermal Area

The Rye Patch (Humboldt, or Humboldt House) geothermal area is located in the Humboldt River valley 50 km north of Lovelock, Nevada. Humboldt House was founded there in 1868 as an eating station along the Central Pacific Railroad. No thermal springs are present at the surface in the area, but sinter (evaporative deposits) is visible nearby.


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