Restoration of the Five Springs complex on Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Five Springs is an important habitat for the endangered Ash Meadows pupfish. Five Springs has the highest water temperature and the highest elevation of all the springs in the Upper Carson Slough. It also provides habitat for three other Federally-listed species and three species proposed for listing, all endemic.
Unfortunately, historical alterations to the land and the watershed have reduced habitat connectivity, resulting in diminished native fish populations.
Historically, the wetland was leveled and drained as humans settled withing the area. Electric pumps drained much of the wetlands dry and drew more water from the acquifer than could be replenished by nature. Drained, mined, and entombed in concrete the wetland ceased to function. This disappearance contributed to the extinction of the Ash Meadows Killefish and the Ash Meadows Montagne Vole. It soon became clear that if developement continued unabated the precious ecosystems of Ash Meadows would be lost forever.
Restoring the flows and connectivity of the springs, their outflows and the downstream habitats is needed for the long-term conservation of the endangered pupfish as well as the three endemic invertebrates proposed for listing. This will also improve habitat conditions for the endangered Ash Meadows speckled dace.