Saturday, March 15, 2008
Ash Meadows NWR
9 March 15, 2008
On our last day in Pahrump, we made a trip to a remote area of the Death Valley NP –Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This area has a number of unique features for a desert environment. Among them, springs that provides water to the desert on a continuous basis, lakes that provide refuge to migrating birds, a natural growth mesquite forest and lastly, the world’s smallest aquatic eco system. We were lucky to find a Park Service Education Ranger on scene at Devil’s hole to explain the history and significance of the area.
The lakes not only provide a place for migrating birds to rest during their migration, but provide a place for the many other animals of the desert to find a reliable source of water. These are also places for visitors to rest and reflect on the natural world.
The springs, and the creeks they feed, are an amazing find in this desolate environment. They well up from the underground aquifer and add a vital element to the structure of the area.
The devil’s hole is especially important, as it is the smallest aquatic environment in the world. It is a fissure created by the fault line that runs thru the area and provides an extremely small environment for the endangered pupfish that lives in this small open area. It is also an area to study the condition of the aquifer water that runs thru the entire south Nevada region. Scientists from around the world come to study this unique place.