Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation
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Big Bend Conservation Area

      Located South of Laughlin, Nevada

Big Bend Conservation Area - Photo by ReclamationFlannel mouth sucker – Photo by ReclamationBig Bend Conservation Area - Photo by Reclamation

Big Bend Conservation Area is a partnership between the Nevada Division of Wildlife, Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Nevada Division of State Parks, and the LCR MSCP.  The partnership began with the acquisition of a small 15-acre private in-holding within the Big Bend State Park.  The in-holding, typically referred to as the Boy Scout Camp, was purchased by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is returning the site to its natural state.  The upland site combined with an adjacent backwater managed by the State of Nevada has collectively been identified as the Big Bend Conservation Area.

The dry upland area is being restored with native plants for education and outreach purposes.  A hiking trail and interpretive exhibits have been already been installed. The backwater portion is being monitored by biologists for use by native fish and marsh birds.  Past native fish monitoring efforts have indicated the presence of native fishes in and adjacent to the existing backwater. Successfully securing this site has resulted in the protection of 15 acres of backwater that benefits flannelmouth sucker, razorback sucker, and bonytail. This reach of the lower Colorado River maintains the only self-sustaining population of flannelmouth sucker and has very few undeveloped backwaters, which make protection of these existing backwaters a priority for the LCR MSCP.

A land and water resolution was approved by the Steering Committee in October 2008 and officially welcomed the Conservation Area into the LCR MSCP.  A subsequent land use agreement between all parties was signed in 2009 and documents the roles and responsibility of each party pertaining to continual management of the Big Bend Conservation Area.

A fact sheet for this Conservation Area can be found here. Technical Reports for this Conservation Area can be found here.

Updated January 7, 2020

Big Bend Conservation Area is located south of Laughlin, Nevada, between Needles Highway and the Colorado River at river mile 266.5.  The Conservation Area includes a 15-acre backwater dedicated to native fish and a 15-acre upland that is restored with native plants by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.  The area has been enhanced for educational and outreach purposes and contains a parking area and walking trails.

For specific information on the Conservation Area, please contact Terry Murphy, Restoration Group Manager, at (702) 293-8140 or via email at tmurphy@usbr.gov.

The image below shows a close up of the conservation area.

Big Bend Conservation Area

Each Conservation Area targets certain LCR MSCP covered and evaluation species habitats. Below, on the left, is a list of the LCR MSCP species in which habitat will be targeted for creation for in this particular conservation area. To the right is a list of LCR MSCP species that, through monitoring, have been found utilizing the conservation area.

Targeted LCR MSCP Species LCR MSCP Species Utilizing Site
Native Fish Native Fish
Bonytail Bonytail
Flannelmouth Sucker Flannelmouth Sucker
Razorback sucker Razorback sucker
Bats, Small Mammals, and Insects
Colorado River cotton rat (resident)
Desert pocket mouse (resident, likely sobrinus subspecies based on range)
Marsh Birds
California Black Rail (transient)
Western Least bittern (transient)
Yuma clapper rail (transient)


Electro-fishing, larval light trapping, and trammel nets is accomplished monthly from February through May at locations that are dictated by water level or at locations that have historically produced native fish. Water quality profiles are performed during each monitoring event and quarterly outside of the monitoring period.

Backwater Management

With the permission of the Nevada Wildlife Commission, two "No Wake" buoys were placed at the entrance of the backwater in April 2011 to reduce the impact of recreation on wildlife. Enforcement of the no wake zone is the responsibility of the Nevada Division of Wildlife.

Wildlife Monitoring

Wildlife monitoring is conducted to determine if additional covered and evaluation species are using the habitat within and around the backwater. Surveys have been conducted for marsh birds, rodents and MacNeill’s sootywing skipper.

This map shows the acreage for this area. You can click on the map for a larger view.

Big Bend Acreage Map

This gallery includes photos of this conservation area. If you require larger photos, please contact our webmaster Michelle Reilly at mreilly@usbr.gov.