Nancy Herms, BLM Ely District, Bristlecone Field Office wildlife biologist.

Federally endangered Pahrump poolfish are flourishing in eastern Nevada’s Spring Valley due to an inter-agency habitat enhancement project coordinated by Bristlecone Field Office Wildlife Biologist Nancy Herms, recipient of this year’s Bureau of Land Management Conservation Project Award.

“Nancy’s love of wildlife and steadfast dedication to conservation have greatly improved the overall quality of the Shoshone Ponds, enhancing its suitability as a refugium for this federally endangered species. Her actions have improved ecological function in Spring Valley, ensured the future of the Pahrump poolfish, and will benefit wildlife for years to come,” said BLM Bristlecone Field Manager, Jared Bybee.

Shoshone Ponds, approximately 30 miles southeast of Ely in White Pine County, is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, partly because of the endangered fish which was relocated from southern Nevada in the 1970s due to habitat loss. In the ensuing 40-plus years, conditions at Shoshone Ponds also changed. The three refuge ponds substantially decreased in size due to vegetation encroachment and siltation, resulting in declining fish populations.

In summer 2020, Herms’ team relocated the fish and drained and combined the three ponds into one. Reintroduced the following year, the fish are thriving. In 2021, fish were removed and the stock pond drained and deepened. A liner was added to prevent seepage. The fish will be reestablished this summer. Also in 2021, the springbrook was altered to include numerous small pools with connecting channels. A solar-powered submersible pump supplying water to the stock pond has also been replaced. Still to be finished, seeding the disturbed areas and installing an educational kiosk.

The Pahrump Poolfish Habitat Enhancement Project is a collaborative effort by the BLM Ely District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and private landowners. Funding was provided through Round 15 of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act.

“This project is a prime example of multiple agencies working together to benefit wildlife habitat and protect a species from possible extinction,” said BLM Ely District Manager Robbie McAboy.