August 6, 2012--BLM analysis reveals massive potential damage from Las Vegas water grab (Environmental News Network)

The Bureau of Land Management today released its long-anticipated final environmental impact statement for the pipeline right-of-way for the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "groundwater development project." The project envisions unsustainably siphoning more than 37.1 billion gallons of groundwater per year from at least four valleys in central Nevada and pumping it 300 miles to the Las Vegas Valley. "The federal government's own scientists are confirming this Las Vegas water project would be an epic environmental disaster," said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "It's really no exaggeration to say that the natural, cultural and social heritage of central Nevada is at grave risk from this project." The impact statement discloses that more than 137,000 acres of wildlife habitat will be permanently destroyed or changed because of the lowering of groundwater tables — by up to 200 feet in many areas. This will drive declines in species like mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, sage grouse and Bonneville cutthroat trout. Most at risk will be species associated with the springs and wetlands that will dry up as the water beneath them is sucked away.

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