Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Ash Meadows habitat, in the Amargosa Desert.
Map showing the location of Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Map of the United States
LocationNye County, Nevada, United States
Nearest cityPahrump, Nevada
Coordinates36°25′30″N 116°20′00″W / 36.42500°N 116.33333°W / 36.42500; -116.33333Coordinates: 36°25′30″N 116°20′00″W / 36.42500°N 116.33333°W / 36.42500; -116.33333
Area23,000 acres (93 km2)
Governing bodyU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WebsiteAsh Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Designated18 December 1986
Reference no.347[1]
The endangered Amargosa pupfish in Kings Pool
The endangered Amargosa pupfish in Kings Pool
Ash Meadows sunray (Enceliopsis nudicaulis var. corrugata), endemic

The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a protected wildlife refuge located in the Amargosa Valley of southern Nye County, in southwestern Nevada. It is directly east of Death Valley National Park, and is 90 mi (140 km) west-northwest of Las Vegas.[2]

The refuge was created on June 18, 1984, to protect an extremely rare desert oasis in the Southwestern United States. It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[2]


The 23,000-acre (9,300 ha) Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is part of the larger Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which also includes the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

Ash Meadows is within the Amargosa Desert, of the Mojave Desert ecoregion. The Amargosa River is a visible part of the valley hydrology, and has seasonal surface flow passing southwards adjacent to the preserve, to later enter Death Valley.

Natural history

Ash Meadows provides a valuable and unprecedented example of desert oases habitats, that have become extremely uncommon in the southwestern deserts. The refuge is a major discharge point for a vast underground aquifer water system, reaching more than 100 mi (160 km) to the northeast. Water-bearing strata come to the surface in more than thirty seeps and springs, providing a rich, complex variety of mesic habitats.[2]

Virtually all of the water at Ash Meadows is fossil water, believed to have entered the ground water system tens of thousands of years ago.[3]

Numerous stream channels and wetlands are scattered throughout the refuge. To the north and west are the remnants of Carson Slough, which was drained and mined for its peat in the 1960s. Sand dunes occur in the western and southern parts of the refuge.

Endemic plants and animals

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide and protect habitat for at least twenty-six endemic plants and animals, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.[4][5] Four fish and one plant are currently listed as endangered species.

The concentration of locally exclusive flora and fauna distinguishes Ash Meadows is the greatest concentration of endemic biota in any local area within the United States. It has the second greatest local endemism concentration in all of North America.

Ash Meadows NWR entry sign 2017-05-14
Ash Meadows NWR entry sign 2017-05-14

Endemic flora

There are many plants endemic to Ash Meadows, including:[2]


In 2010, Utah State University announced that a team from the school had discovered two new bee species in the genus Perdita at Ash Meadows.[5]


  1. ^ "Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Archived June 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Profile . accessed 10.1.2013
  4. ^ "Welcome To Ash Meadows NWR". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2010-02-17. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
  5. ^ a b "Two bee species discovered near Las Vegas". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Associated Press. 2010-04-19.