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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Restoration Activities

      Restoration Accomplishments

Hart Mine Marsh on Cibola NWR - Photo by ReclamationNature Trail on Cibola NWR Unit #1 - Photo by ReclamationMass-transplanted cottonwood trees on Cibola NWR Unit #1 - Photo by Reclamation

Restoration Accomplishments

Development and management of Conservation Areas comes in all shapes and sizes. Projects such as the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve and Cibola Valley Conservation Area involved the conversion of agricultural lands to native tree species. These Conservation Areas of created cottonwood-willow-honey mesquite habitat are actively managed using artificial disturbance and flooding regimes to mimic historical conditions. Working with partners in the California Department of Fish and Game and Arizona Game and Fish Department, and using techniques and methods developed through restoration research, the program planted over 1,000 acres on those two Conservation Areas. Since 2006, over 3,000,000 cottonwood and willow trees have been established in additional to a host of other varieties such asĀ  honey mesquite, wetlands plants, and salt grass plugs.

Other Conservation Areas, such as the Hart Mine Marsh complex located on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge required removing large stands of non-native salt cedar. Through excavation, re-grading, and managing water levels, large stands of marsh were created through natural plant regeneration that reduced the need for large scale planting. Efforts in Conservation Areas dedicated to native fish range from protecting an existing backwater or maintaining its natural condition such as those at Big Bend Conservation Area, to creating artificial ponds dug into dry ground which was done at Imperial Ponds. In partnership with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the program secured a fifteen acre backwater called Big Bend in southern Nevada where all three native fish exist at various life stages. At the Imperial Ponds Conservation Area, located on Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, eighty acres of open water was established that is separate from the main stem of the Colorado River where the species can survive with limited non-native fish interaction. Both approaches play a role in the conservation of native fish species. Additional Conservation Areas such as Hunters Hole and the Laguna Division Conservation Area, also play a vital role in established native vegetation throughout the entire river corridor.

The following table outlines the managed acreage by land cover type and managed by the LCR MSCP through 2015.

2015 Managed Acreage by Land Cover Type
Cottonwood-Willow Mesquite Marsh Backwaters Total
Arizona 1,639 894 330 80 2,934
California 1,020 686 0 0 1,706
Nevada 0 0 0 15 15
Total 2,659 1,580 330 95 4,664

The total amount of land available to the Program, including lands within existing Conservation Areas that have not been restored, is 4,916 acres.

These Conservation Areas are changing the landscape of the lower Colorado River by providing valuable habitat for many fish and wildlife species. Protection of these areas from wildland fire remains a serious concern. To protect these valuable resources and surrounding communities, LCR MSCP developed comprehensive law enforcement and fire suppression plans for each Conservation Area. Elements included in the documents are integration of fire breaks early into the design process, fuel reduction programs, and funding for local law and fire professionals through interagency agreements.

Updated January 7, 2020