LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA: Lake Mead Celebrates Latino Conservation Week

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By Janelly Corona, Latino Heritage Intern

BOULDER CITY, Nevada – Park rangers at Lake Mead National Recreation Area held a tamarisk clean-up event July 22 in celebration of Latino Conservation Week.

This was Lake Mead’s second year participating in Latino Conservation Week. Last year volunteers participated in a seed cleaning project at the park to help support Lake Mead’s native plant nursery. Latino Conservation Week started in 2014, and it has grown larger each year since.

This year in honor of The National Park Service centennial celebration, Hispanic Access Foundation made it a goal to host 100 events and surpassed it by hosting a total of 109 events throughout the week.

Lake Mead’s Latino Conservation Week tamarisk clean-up event began with a rafting trip from the base of the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge down the Colorado River. A total of 25 volunteers from Centro de Adoración Familiar and Sierra Club in Las Vegas participated in the trip.

The event consisted of a guided raft tour down the Black National Water Trail on Lake Mohave and tamarisk cleanup as part of ongoing efforts to control the non-native species of plant in the area. The entire group took a hike down Black Canyon Spring and pulled tamarisk sprouts along the way.

The effort of conserving and protecting public lands and removing tamarisk is important as it is a non-native invasive plant that consumes a lot of water and prevents native plants from growing in the park.

“It amazed me to see the immense influence we as a species have on the area’s environment, from changing the whole face of the valley with an astonishing structure like the Hoover Dam, to the small but impactful changes, that pulling tamarisk plants would bring to our river’s ecosystem,” said Linda Loya, Latino Conservation Week volunteer.

The organizers received positive feedback from the volunteers and expressed extreme satisfaction with the outing. For the majority of the volunteers like Pastor Juan Almanza, from Centro de Adoración Familiar, it was their first time ever seeing that side of the park.

According to, Almaza he enjoyed the day so much that he is already looking forward for next year’s Latino Conservation Week event.

The volunteers were all part of one of many unique experiences and recreational activities that Lake Mead offers. However, the volunteers were not the only ones who were able to witness the park’s beauty. Those who are on Snapchat and follow the @USinterior were able to get a sneak peak of the day, as well. The entire journey was all captured on the DOI’s (Department of Interior) Snapchat which received over 3,500 views by the end of the day.

The event was also made possible thanks to a Challenge Cost Share grant from the Outdoor Foundation through the Outside Las Vegas Foundation. The grant is helping Lake Mead expand its urban outreach within Las Vegas’ Latino community.

For additional information about this year’s Latino Conservation Week celebration throughout the nation or future details on next year’s events, please visit www.latinoconservationweek.com. Also, for further volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteer.gov/gov.

 

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