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Join Naomi Fraga, Director of Conservation Programs at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA for a talk on the flora of the Amargosa River Basin in the northern Mojave Desert of California.

The Amargosa River Basin is an ‘island’ of wet habitats fed by a large and extensive supply of underground water, surrounded by the expansive and arid Mojave Desert that receives only about 2 to 3 inches of annual precipitation a year. The region is home to a suite of rare plants and animals that are associated with wetland habitats such as alkaline meadows, marshes, seeps, channel outflows, and springs. Much of the isolated wetland habitat is protected within the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. However, threats to these rare species still remain because the high water table is in danger of dropping due to groundwater pumping for nearby agriculture and development. Recent efforts to aid in plant conservation of this region has included two bio-blitz events organized by The Nature Conservancy, and botanical inventory and monitoring including botanical assessments of the Wild and Scenic Amargosa River. The region is home to three federally listed species in California, the Amargosa niterwort (Nitrophila mohavensis), the Ash Meadows gumplant (Grindelia fraxinipratensis), and the spring loving centaury (Zeltnera namophila); these species rely on the ancient flow of water underground. In this presentation I will provide an overview of the flora of the region and provide background on the ongoing conservation efforts of the rare plants, including interesting discoveries from the two recent bio-blitz events.  

The Botany Society is a volunteer unit of ABDSP focused on studying and protecting the botanical resources of the park.