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Stewards of the Las Vegas Valley Watershed™
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Who We Are

The History

Beginning in the Seventies, a small group of visionaries recognized the environmental importance of the wetlands in the Las Vegas Wash, which was being destroyed by the flow of treated wastewater and valley runoff as it moves to Lake Mead. To protect the wetlands, these volunteers pledged to spread public awareness and create support for a regional park. Over the years that followed, small gains were made in attempting to reach this objective.

wetlandsThen, in 1991, a major event led to the first significant step in finally creating the park. Nevada residents approved a wildlife and parks bond issue (Question 5) that earmarked $13.3 million for partial erosion control and a park project in the Las Vegas Wash. The first step was the development of a Master Plan, prepared by the Clark County Departments of Parks and Recreation, and Comprehensive Planning with the Southwest Wetlands Consortium. The Plan was published in July 1995 and approved by the Board of County Commissioners in November 1995.

An element in the implementation strategy of the Plan was the creation of a separate, nonprofit entity to help develop and, possibly, operate the Park. A key activity of the entity would be to raise funds necessary to bring the project into being. To that end, the original visionaries formed the Friends of the Desert Wetlands Park, incorporated as a Nevada nonprofit organization in the spring of 1996. The Friends partnered with Clark County and Ducks Unlimited to assist in the development of the Park and continue as the Desert Wetlands Conservancy to be active with projects in the Park that impact the community.

snowy egretAt its annual meeting in September 2009, the members voted to approve a name change of the organization from the Friends of the Desert Wetlands Park (FDWP) to the Desert Wetlands Conservancy (DWC) so as to communicate its new role once the Park had been created and a new Visitors Center had been completed.

The DWC is the sole private member of the Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee, a 28-member panel of local, state and federal agencies, county and municipal enterprises, local environmentalists, business people, and members of the public, which was convened in 1999 to oversee and implement a comprehensive management plan for the wash. The Committee continues to focus on key concerns and issues related to water quality in Southern Nevada. The DWC has participated on the Committee on ventures such as the Green-Up and Clean-Up projects. As a nonprofit, the DWC is able to bring to bear resources that are not available to the state, county and municipal agencies.

desert wetlands visitor kioskFounding members of the DWC have been involved with the planning the Park even before the county published its first Wetlands Park Master Plan in 1982.  For the past 15 years, the DWC has participated in focusing the interest of the Las Vegas community on the importance of and need to create an area in the Las Vegas Wash so as to restore as much of the valley’s historic wetlands as possible. Originally greater than 2,000 acres in size, the wetlands were substantially reduced as a result of development to less than 200 acres by the mid-1990s.

annual green-it-up projectThe DWC was instrumental in securing the support and involvement of Clark County and the Southern Nevada Water Authority to assemble and set aside approximately 3,000 acres within the Wash for the purpose of the Desert Wetlands Park.  We attracted the interest of Ducks Unlimited (DU) to undertake a wetlands restoration project in the Wash and bring federal funding to the project.  The world's leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, DU started in 1937 during the Dust Bowl years when North America’s drought-plagued waterfowl populations plunged to unprecedented lows. As the continent’s waterfowl dwindled, a small group of sportsmen joined together to form an organization that became known as Ducks Unlimited, an organization that as of January 1, 2012 was comprised of approximately 746,000 members in the United States, Canada and Mexico that since 1937 has invested in the conservation of 12.7 million acres and influenced 95.9 million acres of wetlands habitat in North America and Mexico. As an advocacy organization, the DWC has contributed its long historical and deep technical perspective of its volunteer membership to this shared vision, which has evolved over several decades.

Executive Committee

Peter Kingman
Trustee, Treasurer and Executive Committee Member

Currently President, Nevada Trust Company. Certified Financial Planner™. Assistant Treasurer, Ducks Unlimited, Memphis, member of the Finance Committee, and Co-Chairman of the Investment Subcommittee and Trustee, Nevada Ballet Theatre. A 44-year career in investment management, trust, corporate finance and banking. Previously Northern Trust Company, Chicago, New York and London. Master of Management, Northwestern University; Bachelor of International Management, American Graduate School of International Management; and Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Colorado.

Judy Villa
Trustee, Secretary and Executive Committee Member

Retired from Bank of America as Vice President of Human Resources, she managed Corporate Personnel and nationwide Unemployment Insurance Administration. She served as Director of Unemployment Insurance Services for California Healthcare Association. She has participated on various state and national committees: California Chamber of Commerce; California Taxpayers’ Association; California Employer Advisor Council; San Francisco local business and trade organizations; and as management advisor Bank of America Club Speaking Network. Other affiliations include past member of Society for Human Resource Management and Healthcare Human Resources Management Association.

John Hiatt
Trustee, Vice Chairman and Executive Committee Member
Serves on the Boards of several other conservation non-profit organizations.  As Conservation Chair of Red Rock Audubon Society for more than three decades, he has actively worked in Nevada on such issues as legislative designation of appropriate public lands as Wilderness and other protective designations such as National Conservation Area and National Recreation Area.  He has actively served on local and State government advisory Boards.  He currently works as a consultant after retiring from a career as a clinical and forensic chemist.  Ph.D. in organic chemistry, Yale University.

The Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee

When the LVWCC was first formed in 1999, the Las Vegas Wash was suffering from severe erosion caused by the increased water flow from the waste treatment plants and large storm events, virtually eliminating the wetlands that existed there through the history of the valley.
In addressing these and other issues critical to the management of the Wash, there has been a remarkable transformation of this vital component of our valley’s watershed.  The wetlands are flourishing, trails and Park facilities have been developed, and bank erosion has been significantly decreased.  The results are a demonstration of the power of cooperative coordination of 28 private, City, County, State and Federal organizations and agencies. For more information visit

The activities of the LWCC are organized into 9 functional areas:

Each functional area is reported on annually, including a Project Overview and Progress Since Inception. The structure of the reporting evolves around the Las Vegas Comprehensive Adaptive Management Plan (CAMP) and references CAMP action items.

Partners of the Desert Wetland Conservancy

Desert Wetlands Conservancy is proud to partner with the following:

Basic Management, Inc.
City of Henderson
City of Las Vegas
City of North Las Vegas
Clark County Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management
Clark County Parks and Recreation
Clark County Regional Flood Control District
Clark County Water Reclamation District
Clean Water Coalition
Colorado River Commission
Conservation District of Southern Nevada
Lake Las Vegas Resort
Las Vegas Boat Harbor
National Park Service
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Nevada Division of Wildlife
Nevada State Health Division
Southern Nevada Health District
Southern Nevada Water Authority
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2 Members – Water Quality Citizens




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