Amargosa

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The July #conservationlands15 social media takeover today is exploring the BLM’s wild and scenic rivers.

What makes a river wild and scenic? Rivers or sections of rivers within the National Wild and Scenic River System must be free-flowing and have at least one ORV or outstandingly remarkable (unique or rare) value, such as scenic, recreational, geologic, fish, wildlife, historic, cultural or other feature.      

Pictured here, the BLM’s Amargosa Wild and Scenic River in California is known for its wildlife value. The Amargosa vole is an endangered mammal isolated to the wetlands associated with the Amargosa River. Biologists last year determined that the endangered Amargosa vole had an 82% chance of going extinct within the next five-years, if immediate management actions were not taken. So the BLM California, researchers at UC Davis, and a group of partners created the multi-agency Amargosa vole team to rescue the tiny rodent living precariously in the rare marshes of the Mojave Desert.

The entire Amargosa river basin spans two states and is considered one of the most important desert waterways in the southwestern US.  The Amargosa vole team and associated work will benefit other wildlife species in the area - 250 species of resident and migratory birds use the riparian area, as do three sensitive fish and spring snail species which occur nowhere else on earth.  The partnership, monitoring, and research efforts may have far reaching benefits that can assist desert conservation and climate adaptation efforts in California and the southwest.

CLICK HERE to read more.

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Death Valley Junction, CA

For close to 50 years, Marta Becket danced in the middle of the desert. She built the Amargosa Opera House out of the shell of a “town” constructed by the Pacific Coast Borax Company, the admirers she painted around the theater’s back walls often her only audience. She studied ballet in NYC, danced at Radio City, danced en pointe until she was 80. She retired in 2012, but sneaks out of retirement to take to the Amargosa every now and again. She’s still there, along with the stage she graced for decades.