Past Programs

Under an agreement with the Las Vegas Valley Water District, CDSN employed two staff Biologists to assist with a variety of technical studies, remediation, pollution prevention and related work in the environs of the Las Vegas Wash. These employees were assigned full-time to those duties and, for maximum efficiency, were housed at the Water District's administrative offices.
Plaque Attack Poster 

CDSN organized a kick-off for the Campaign in October 1999. CDSN distributed SPAC educational materials at Earth Day events in April 2000. Plaques were installed above storm drains to remind residents that the wash channels bring unfiltered water to Lake Mead, our local drinking water source.
Storm drain plaque 

Stormwater Quality Education Program
The Stormwater Inlet Marking Program involves the use of bi-lingual plastic plaques that adhere to the sidewalk above stormwater inlets. Each plaque states, “DON’T POLLUTE DRAINS TO LAKE MEAD, ¡NO CONTAMINE! SE VA AL LAGO MEAD”. This program also addresses some of the stormwater inlets that were not labeled during the previous Plaque Attack Campaign in 1999. The purpose of the Stormwater Inlet Marking Program is to revive a multi-agency effort to raise awareness of the importance of stormwater quality protection. Having this message at the stormwater inlets helps the pubic make the connection between the water that flows into the basins and the water that will eventually be pumped from Lake Mead to their faucet.

Stormwater Plaque being presented at Las Vegas City Council Meeting
Speakers at Stormwater Kick-Off Event

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Poster Contest

In related efforts, CDSN has continued our Storm Drain partnerships to carry out a District-wide pollution-prevention educational program. In close coorperation with the Clark County School District, CDSN publishes and helps distribute workbooks that provide teaching tools to 4th and 5th grade teachers. Our poster contest is designed to stimulate and reinforce the educational units through art, teamwork and communications. The most effective posters are selected each year and relavant prizes are awarded to the winning students, their classmates, and their teachers. Community sponsors are needed for this program.

 Water cycle drawings

Congratulations once again to Ann N. Tang of Ms. Moran's 5th grade class at Jydstrup Elementary School for winning the CDSN 2010 Stormwater Poster Contest. In May of 2010 Anna and her classmates got to take a day long field trip to Lake Mead where they participated in the Forever Earth Program. This program is managed and delivered by the Public Lands Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) on behalf of the National Park Service: Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Forest Service. During the field trip students participated in activities that demonstrated the importance of Lake Mead as a reservoir for the Colorado River, and its significance as a principal source of drinking water for the millions of residents living in the Las Vegas area. Students also learned how the river is distributed to other states in the area; Arizona, New Mexico and California; before terminating at the Gulf of California. Some of the activities included water sampling, testing water clarity, and a game that turned each student into a water droplet as they passed through the various staged of the water cycle. 
 How to test water clarity
 Video about Lake Mead

CDSN partnered with the City of Henderson to implement the "Paint a Drain Campaign". During a volunteer stenciling event in November 1997, approximately 20 volunteers stenciled the message "Don't Pollute! Drains to Lake Mead" on 90 storm drains in Henderson. Volunteers distributed brochures to residents to further teach them about proper disposal practices. CDSN also recruited over 100 volunteers through an on-going volunteer stenciling program, in which an additional 212 storm drains were stenciled. The project was funded through a Nevada Division of Environmental Protection 319 Clean Water Act grant. The National Park Service and the Bureau of Reclamation donated graphic and print services for 10,000 book covers, which were distributed to elementary students in Henderson. 

Painting the drain

"Don't Pollute Drains to Lake Mead"

English Flyer

CDSN worked with the City of North Las Vegas and the Stormwater Management Committee on a Pet Waste Management Program. Based on sampling, fecal coliform (pathogen bacteria) has been consistently measured as a pollutant in water drained from the Las Vegas Valley. Fecal coliform is a pollutant identified as a cause for concern among local entities who protect our water quality. The main source of fecal coliform is believed to be pet waste in urban storm water runoff. The Pet Waste Management Program is designed to reduce fecal coliform levels through public education and distribution of free pet waste scoops in the City of North Las Vegas. 

Spanish Flyer
The Conservation District of Southern Nevada is seeking sponsors for New Programs that will advance environmental education and stewardship in Southern Nevada.

NV Envirothon
A Nevada Envirothon is a problem-solving, natural resource education competition for high school-aged students. It provides students with an integrated approach to exploring five natural resource categories and it tests their creativity, analytical thinking, and team-building skills in a competitive format. It helps to show tomorrow's leaders the positive and negative effects individual actions have on the environment. Youth who take part understand differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources, understand environmental interactions and interdependencies, and become prepared for the innovative workforce they will be entering. Winning teams from each state go on to participate in the Canon Envirothon for scholarships and recognition. For more information on the development of a NV Envirothon please read the program description.

Environmental Education Grant Program
The Conservation District of Southern Nevada supports environmental education initiatives and is in the process of developing an Environmental Education Grant Program for Southern Nevada. The intent of this program is to make available funds for environmental education and stewardship to teachers, schools, and youth groups. Environmental education funding can provide a vast array of opportunities for conceptual learning, critical thinking, problem solving, effective leadership, interdisciplinary investigation skills, and will encourage interest in environmental careers. For more information on the development of an Environmental Education Grant Program please read the program description.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities please contact Jennifer Clifford at or by calling (702) 262-9047 ext109.

The Conservation District of Southern Nevada in cooperation with the City of Henderson and other community partners has created the Acacia Demonstration Gardens at Acacia Park in Henderson. The Gardens are a great resource and learning center for the aesthetic display of regionally appropriate plants. The Gardens promote environmental awareness and encourage the enjoyment of the natural beauty of our desert environment. The Gardens demonstrate conservation practices including proper tree planting and care, erosion control, integrated pest management, and effective irrigation and nutrient management. A main trail and secondary pathways lead visitor though creative residential landscape designs and specialty gardens. Interpretive display signs address practices such as composting, nutrient management, water conservation terracing, and wildlife protection. The Demonstration Gardens show residents how to protect our natural resources and make their yards attractive while saving money. The Gardens are available to local elementary school students as outdoor science labs to study topics such as soils, urban forestry, and wildlife. The city of Henderson donated the land, while the Conservation District of Southern Nevada secured funding, coordinated the construction, and continues to promote the project. Please visit the Gardens at 50 Casa del Fuego at the corner of Gibson and Las Palmas Entradas.  

Tomi Garden

This individual garden is located in the Acacia Demonstration Gardens and is dedicated to Nanyu “Tomi” Tomiyasu, who was recognized for his work with the Boy Scouts, the Gardens at the Springs Preserve and the UNLV Arboretum. The Tomi Garden highlights different trees and bushes equipped for a desert environment. Tomi's contributions of his wealth of knowledge about trees and desert soils will always be treasured.


CDSN partnered with the Clark County Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management in cooperation with DRI, as a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education, to offer Air Quality Science Kit boxes to all Nevada teachers who represent rural and urban districts, and private or public institutions. The science boxes were portable suitcases containing scientific specimens and/or multicultural artifacts for all school ages, designed to supplement the study of air quality throughout the State of Nevada. Each box also included background information, a description of the artifacts or specimens in the box, and sample lesson plans. Some boxes also included additional books or audiovisual resources and/or hands-on pieces. For more information on science boxes or how to order please visit the DRI Website.

"The expertise and professionalism at the Conservation District of Southern Nevada has been invaluable in the design and production of the Department's dust campaign marketing tools. Working with the District, DAQEM has been afforded innumerable partnership and outreach opportunities within the environmental and academic communities."

-Ron Smolinski, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Clark County Department
of Air Quality and Environmental Management


The Conservation District of Southern Nevada in cooperation with Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, University of Reno Extension Service, and Southern Nevada Eagle Scouts had built a three bin composting unit at the Las Vegas Center for Urban Water Conservation. The composting bin contributed to a research project that helped to determine proper composting methods in desert climates. This project promoted green waste production and encouraged the public to participate in backyard composting.

*The District does not currently have composting bins available.
BOR Subsurface Irrigation Pilot Project

This project was a joint venture between the Conservation District of Southern Nevada and the Clark County School District with funding assistance from the Bureau of Reclamation. The purpose of this project was to test the Environmental Passive Integrated Chamber (EPIC) irrigation system as a water-saving irrigation method in Southern Nevada. The subsurface turf irrigation system was installed on a 2.25-acre activity field at David Cox Elementary School in Henderson, NV in February of 2006. 
Activity Field During Installation 

Aerial view of Boulder City Wetlands 

In 1996, CDSN assisted Boulder City with the construction of wetlands to create a native species habitat, improve wastewater quality, and provide opportunities for education and recreation. The Nevada Division of Forestry's (NDF) Forest Stewardship Program awarded the District grant funds to create interpretive trail signs and an educational brochure for the project. 

Clark County Cooperative Weed Management Area
CDSN, as a member of the CWMA, helped create and distribute an invasive weed educational film to Clark County science teachers that highlights the importance of biodiversity and local invasive weed management strategies. The CWMA submitted a 2005 Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program in partnership with the City of Henderson to research and determine the effectiveness of reducing or eliminating pre-emergent weeds in turf grass by applying corn gluten meal to turf areas in the City of Henderson parks. The group also joined with Partners in Conservation to develop a pilot program that provides community volunteers with weed identification skills and GPS training to generate functional invasive weed location maps. The maps assist in on-the-ground weed removal projects.

Clark County Wetlands Park
The Clark County Wetlands Park is one of the premier environmental projects in Southern Nevada. It has been recognized by Harvard University as one of the five best wetlands projects in the world. Encompassing almost 3,000 acres along the Las Vegas Wash, the Wetlands Park helps purify urban runoff and offers a refuge for local wildlife and native plant species. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to this peaceful place as they enjoy one of the most significant wetlands in the Mojave Desert. The Park provides amazing scenic lookout locations and areas to spot migrating birds. The Conservation District assists Clark County Parks and Recreation in securing funding for park projects including habitat restoration education, water quality monitoring and protection, volunteer planting events, and the development of the visitor's center.
Detention Center Xeriscape Project
The Clark County Detention Center xeriscape project fixed a high water use area to create a more water efficient landscape. Master gardeners helped out to provide career training for crews of an honor camp prison. The project was funded through a Nevada Division of Forestry and the US Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry grant. 
Clark County Detention Center

Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT)
The EMPACT program was an initiative of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EMPACT took a new approach to working with communities to collect, manage, and present environmental information. This information was then made available to individuals in the community so they could make informed day-to-day decisons. CDSN launched a local website under the EMPACT program. The website was functional in the early 2000's as it made environmental information available to residents. Real time data on local air quality, water quality, and weather conditons were provided. CDSN developed a users guide that assisted the public in accessing the information. Having met the program's goals, the EMPACT program ended in 2001 and grants for the program are no longer available.
Greenbuilding/Straw Bale Structure
The Conservation District of Southern Nevada was awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for the construction of a straw bale structure at Moapa Valley High School. The building is located at the Moapa High School Pirate's Cove Agricultural Farm. It serves as a place for students and the community to gather. Students were actively involved in building the structure providing a hands-on educational element to the project. The structure showcases "green building" techniques, meaning that construction methods incorporated recycled materials, reduced construction waste, and resulted in long and short term energy reduction. The project's Grand Opening took place in May 2008. Please click the following EPA and Library of Congress links to read more about the structure. 
Interpretive Sign 

Straw Bale Structure

"Partners in Conservation and Friends of Pirates' Cove are proud to partner with the Conservation District (of Southern Nevada) on projects in the rural communities of northeast Clark County. The Straw Bale and Community Conservation Gardens both benefit from CDSN's years of leadership and conservation expertise."

-Elise McAllister, Supervisor, CDSN; Moapa Resident; Administrator, Partners in

Moapa Demonstration Gardens
This desert gardening demonstration was constructed using plants for 4 themed gardens based on conceptual designs provided by students from the UNLV Landscape Architecture School. Located around the Farm’s straw bale classroom, the garden showcases water efficient native landscapes in all 4 gardens; the Succulent garden, the Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, Scrunch & Sniff Garden, and the Native American Garden. The gardens were funded by a grant from Clark County’s Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management, and in-kind donations from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, High Desert RC&D and UNR Cooperative Extension.

Mt. Charleston License Plate Grant Program
This program, administered by the State Land Use Planning Agency (SLUPA) and sponsored by the Conservation District of Southern Nevada (CDSN), is dedicated to projects and programs that support the natural environment of Mt. Charleston. The program has been turned over to Clark County for continued implementation.

The support of programs for the natural environment of the Mount Charleston area, including, without limitation, programs to improve the wildlife habitat, the ecosystem, the forest, public access to the area and its recreational use, and must not be used to replace or supplant money available from other sources. The Administrator may provide grants from the account to other public agencies and political subdivisions, including, without limitation, unincorporated towns, to carry out the provisions of the program.

Muddy River Habitat Restoration Project
This Project was determined by the Army Corps of Engineers to be successfully completed in June of 2000. The project satisfied requirements for Muddy River's mitigation of the riparian area, through eradication of tamarisk and revegitation with native species such as mesquite, sumac, acacia, cottonwood, willow, and various shrubs and grasses. CDSN developed an information report booklet that describes the lessons learned from the project.
 Volunteers plant trees and shrubs
North Las Vegas Civic Center Gardens
CDSN and the City of North Las Vegas teamed up with community partners to create the Civic Center Conservation Gardens at the CNLV City Hall Complex. The project entailed converting a turf intensive landscape to a conservation demonstration garden. It encourages the City of North Las Vegas' residents and visitors to use effective landscape techniques for the desert southwest using best management practices relating to soil, air, wildlife, plants, trees, water and energy. A main trail and secondary pathways lead visitors through creative residential landscape designs showcasing specialty themes and gardens. 

"The Conservation District of Southern Nevada takes on projects with vigor and enthusiasm and sees the projects to successful completion. The "Do your Doody" campaign was a successful and creative campaign/project to educate residents to pick up pet waste and how that benefits the environment."

-Leslie Long, P.E., Technical Services Manager, City of North Las Vegas,
Utility Department

Pollution Prevention Activity Funbook
Pollution Prevention Project
The District partnered with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Clark County Comprehensive Planning, Clark County Health District, and UNLV to form the Pollution Prevention (P2) Team. The P2 Project objectives promote pollution prevention by providing education materials and promoting the proper disposal of household hazardous wastes. The Team participated in National Recycle Day in November 1997 and distributed P2 materials at Earth Day events in April 1998.

River Mountains Trail Partnership

The Partnership’s goals are to expand and protect trail opportunities in and around the Las Vegas Valley. The River Mountains Loop Trail is a multiple-use trail, approximately 30 miles long. The trail system benefits local communities and visitors to the region. The CDSN partnered with the River Mountains Loop Trail Partnership by helping secure funding.

Student-to-Student Outreach Program
CDSN developed this program to give students from Silverado High School the opportunity to teach younger students about air quality, water quality and the impacts to their health. This was accomplished through a series of songs, games, plays, informal discussion groups and giveaways.

Through the Eyes of Children Calender
CDSN and the Clark County Department of Air Quality & Environmental Management sponsored an annual conservation poster contest. Winning posters from each age group K-12 were used to create a conservation calender that was given away to schools and public agencies. The calendar also highlighted different schools conservation achievements and provided conservation facts and tips.

2008 Calendar

2005 Calendar

2006 Calendar

2007 Calendar

Virgin River Tamarisk Removal Workgroup
The CDSN teamed with landowners, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to form the Virgin River Tamarisk Removal Work Group. The Group addresses tamarisk control along the Virgin River, which includes areas in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. The Group planned to implement tamarisk removal demonstration projects on private land and develop a tamarisk management plan for the Virgin River. The Group implemented a pilot project at a burn site on the Muddy River, which included conducting a soils study and re-vegetation efforts in 1996.

Weed Abatement
The Conservation District of Southern Nevada (CDSN) completed the Valley of Fire State Park (VOF) Tamarisk Removal Project in October 2009. A Water Conservation and Water Quality Improvement Grant was awarded to CDSN by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2005. CDSN managed this successful project that removed tamarisk from 99 acres of the VOF wash. The project consisted of two separate phases. The first phase treated 43 acres of Tamarisk in the VOF wash in 2005 and 2006. Phase two treated an additional 56 acres, and retreatment of phase one was also performed along the wash in the fall of 2008 by the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT). Due to its numerous years in operation and effective control methods, the Lake Mead NRA EMPT is widely regarded as one of the best invasive weed control groups in the region. Because of this, the team is often solicited by other federal land management agencies, local governments and other entities. Exotic invasive plants destroy cultural and historical sites, increase fire hazards, deplete natural resources such as water, and they crowd out native vegetation. Tamarisk is listed as a noxious weed in the State of Nevada and its removal allows for more water for native vegetation and also prevents the spread of tamarisk to other areas. The VOF wash is a tributary to the Colorado River (Lake Mead).