The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rob Mrowka, (702) 249-5821 or

New Protests Filed Against Water-Rights Applications to Protect Rare Nevada Wildlife


The Center for Biological Diversity joined with the Great Basin Water Network and a large coalition of concerned organizations and citizens today to file protests to water-rights applications filed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Cave, Dry, Delamar and Spring valleys. The water-rights applications were filed in eastern Nevada and, if approved, would allow the pumping of thousands-of-years-old groundwater for mostly municipal uses away from the area of the pumping.

"The biggest threat to the diversity and abundance of Nevada native wildlife species, and the livelihood of rural communities in the affected areas, is the export of nonrenewable ancient groundwater to fuel the unsustainable growth of faraway cities such as Las Vegas, and, if it's built, Coyote Springs," said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist with the Center. "To speak out in defense of the species, Nevada's wild heritage and rural communities, the Center has joined in the filing of protests of the water-rights applications in White Pine and Lincoln counties."

The new round of protests against the water-rights applications comes after previous grants of similar water rights were overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court. The court found that the state violated the law by not holding required public hearings on the applications and by otherwise excluding public participation.

"Due process under the law and fair play won out over speculators, developers and the water agencies that support them," Mrowka said. "These new protests lay out our rationale on why it's not in the public interest for the state engineer to grant these water rights."

Some of the species that would be severely affected if the water rights are granted include big game species such as mule deer and pronghorn; fish like the Bonneville cutthroat trout and Moapa dace; birds like the southwestern willow flycatcher and showy greater sage grouse; and many species of rare bats, plants and springsnails.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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