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KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West.

Mountain West to receive millions more from Interior Department for water projects

A wetland area. The stream channel is surrounded by pale brush and vegetation.
Courtesy of SNWA
The Southern Nevada Water Authority is getting about $750,000 to restore the Warm Springs Natural Area, a habitat for several protected birds and fish north of Las Vegas, Nev.

The U.S. Department of Interior is spending another $51 million on water projects across the West. A majority of those funds – about $30 million – will flow to the Mountain West region.

The money, which comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will go toward efforts to conserve water and restore watersheds in 11 Western states.

One of those efforts is being led by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is getting about $750,000 to restore the Warm Springs Natural Area north of Las Vegas. The 1,200-acre property is a habitat for several protected birds and fish, including the endangered Moapa dace, a thumb-sized fish found only in the area’s Muddy River.

“The funding for this grant will really go to improve the stream flows within the headwaters of the Muddy River, as well as the plants and vegetation that is surrounding the Muddy River,” said Bronson Mack, a spokesperson for the water authority.

That effort is one of 19 projects in the Mountain West included in the latest round of federal funding. More than $13 million is funneling to Colorado for eight projects, including several aimed at removing instream barriers to improve fish migration.

Other projects in the region would include restoring streams in Idaho (which gets a total of $6.7 million), protecting watersheds in New Mexico ($5.5 million), and restoring watersheds in Wyoming ($4.5 million) with the installation of beaver dams and invasive species barriers.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.