The story of conservation in the Amargosa Basin has been largely written with the ink of collaboration.
Looking back over the 19 year history of our organization, virtually every success we can claim has come from investments in partnerships. When the Amargosa vole faced long and dire odds of avoiding extinction, it took partnerships with researchers, land management agencies, nonprofits, volunteers, and especially private landowners to claw the vole back from the brink. When Susan Sorrells identified a last bastion of living Shoshone pupfish once believed to be extinct, it took a literal village in Shoshone to create suitable habitat for multiple endangered species to resurrect them. Trail building, land designation changes, furthering our understanding of this immensely complex groundwater flow system: all of these lofty goals and projects were only made possible by a collaborative effort organized around shared vision and values.
On March 7th, our organization took the first small step towards renewing a commitment to collaborative conservation in the Amargosa Basin. We convened representatives from regional tribal nations, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, researchers and private landowners at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge for a few days to collectively identify some of the Amargosa Basin’s key features, resources, and values. A focus of this initial summit was to help facilitate new connections between partners working on conservation issues in the basin, and to bolster those connections that were atrophied by the isolation of the pandemic. There is an indescribable magic that fills the room when people are brought together in person around shared purposes, a magic that is only scarcely conjured in phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings. For a few days at least, the magic that comes from real conversations between real people was a palpable and welcome presence.
This convening is just the beginning, the first lines scrawled in a new chapter of collaborative conservation. Many of the challenges and opportunities present in the region are big and complicated, such as how to effectively manage groundwater as the foundational natural resource that makes life in the desert possible, or how best to encourage responsible recreation in fragile wetland habitats. While the convening on March 7th was successful in bringing together many partners to jumpstart these conversations, in reality there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of individuals, user groups, communities, organizations, local governments, and stakeholders that have a vested interest in continued conservation in the Amargosa Basin whose voices will be crucial to informing ongoing partnerships. Over the coming months and years, the Amargosa Conservancy will work toward bringing these conversations to the doorsteps, kitchen tables, offices, conference rooms, and town halls where durable and diverse collaborative efforts are born.
The work our organization is taking on catalyzing collaboration in the basin is only made possible by the generous support of our donors. Without the support of people like you who know and love the Amargosa Basin for the wonderland it is and who want to see it flourish, there is no story of collaborative conservation to be told. Join us in writing this new chapter today with a donation to the Amargosa Conservancy. We can do more than get by with a little help from our friends: we can do wonders.
Mason Voehl, executive director