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Nevada’s Congressional delegation wants Las Vegas to be able to expand beyond its boundaries, currently constrained by federally managed land. Their proposal: to give up 48 square miles of currently protected land for development in exchange for an area the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined additional protections. Proponents have pitched the trade as an opportunity to build affordable housing while upping conservation elsewhere. But the proposal doesn’t take into account the climate change-fueled extreme heat and drought that are challenging people already living in the state.
“This legislation doesn’t have an identified, sustainable supply of water going out 50 years in the future,” Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Nevada-based conservation group Great Basin Water Network, told the AP. “When you couple that with everything that we’re reading about at Lake Mead and the Colorado River, it’s very precarious to be putting forward a bill that invites another 825,000 people to the Mojave Desert.”
What’s more, is that the ongoing drought crisis in Lake Mead–which generates power and supplies water for 25 million people–demonstrates the dire conditions facing Western cities dependent on the Colorado River for water.
No More Grassy Medians for Vegas: Worst-case projections from 2020 showed that water consumption coupled with climate change will force Las Vegasto find other water supplies within the next 40 years. For now, the state just passed legislation that prohibits decorative grass in medians, by roads, and in front of businesses, which is expected to save more than 9 billion gallons of water a year. (Even cities and towns not experiencing drought might want to consider those savings.)
The bill sets a deadline at the end of 2026 for all currently planted grass to be removed, the same year that management rules for Lake Mead and the Colorado River expire, setting the stage for new water management plans across the West more broadly.
In addition to reducing water usage, getting rid of the grass has the benefit of not forcing an arid climate to try and look like anywhere else.
“It helps to change the local population’s perception of where they live,” Jennifer Pitt, the Colorado River program director for the Audubon Society told The Nevada Independent.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor With less than one week left until COP26, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved his government to the left on climate change, committing for the first time to a net zero target by 2050, but questions remain about the details and many remain frustrated by Morrison’s refusal to […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have hit a three-million-year high, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report published yesterday. Despite a brief dip in emissions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall trend of increasing emissions continues, indicating last year’s dip had little to no impact on […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A report in the Dasgupta Review shows that by using a fiscal lens to view Earth’s growing biodiversity loss, we can see how it links to economic development. By viewing nature as an asset like “produced capital (roads, buildings and factories)” or “human capital (health, knowledge and skills)” — […]
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