Las Vegas, NV
An Oasis in an Arid Climate: Stormwater Masterplanning and Design
The Meadows Detention Basin, previously a vacant and unmanaged eye-sore in the commuinty, became the heart of the restoration efforts at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. The principle goal of Meadows Detention Basin was to recreate a riparian wetlands with a cauldron pool spring as a primary water source. The Project was designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of riparian wetlands for the treatment of non-point source pollutants and mitigation of stormwater runoff.
One of the challenges of the design was incorporating parks and public spaces in the flood control basin. In addition to providing treatment of stormwater, the project creates significant habitat and bounty for local flora and fauna. Inclusion of the Cauldron Pool provides a historical simile with the original Las Vegas Springs, and therefore provides an opportunity for it’s 600,000 visitors each year to understand the relationship of water to the development of the City of Las Vegas. All project goals were accomplished without affecting the Flood Districts requirements to operate this site as a flood control detention basin.
Four walking and hiking trails that feature interpretive displays wind through the picturesque Springs Preserve and take visitors through both a cultural and environmental history of the Las Vegas Valley. The trails lead to the Preserve’s cienega, a desert wetland that serves as a home for hundreds of native plant, bird and animal species including peregrine falcons, snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons.
“The Springs Preserve represents to Las Vegas what Central Park represents to New York, said Springs Preserve Director Francis N. Béland. “Not aesthetically, but in what it means to the community from a historic and cultural perspective.” (Springs Preserve)
NSI was responsible for developing the engineering and landscape plans for the 22-acre riparian wetland corridor. The channel includes native vegetation, boulders, sand bars, and pools. NSI workded in coordination with the Water District, The Portico Group, and an Executive Design Committee including representatives from the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society. The cost for the 22 acre wetland and riparian corridor project is estimated at $1 million.