Cottonwood and willow trees line the refuge’s lake shores, watercourses and springs. Riparian habitats, or wildlife habitats found along the banks of a river or stream, are among the most endangered and valuable habitats in the Southwest. On the refuge, riparian areas provide feeding and nesting grounds for birds that migrate here from the tropics, such as the yellow warbler, Bullock’s oriole and the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher.
To improve this habitat, nonnative invasive species are removed as part of our management strategy. Nonnative plant species frequently out compete native vegetation and offer little value to wildlife, reducing the quality of the habitats found on the refuge.
In the Black Canyon area of the refuge, restoration work has converted flat farmland into a meandering stream channel. In the future, this area will be planted with native species in order to create more valuable riparian habitat on the refuge for wildlife usage.
Restoration work has also taken place at several of the springs on the refuge. The springs have been expanded and native vegetation has been planted to increase riparian habitat. The endemic Pahranagat speckled dace has been successfully reintroduced to one of the springs on the Refuge and it is hoped that the endangered Pahranagat Round-Tail chub will flourish as well. Additionally, the restoration of these springs has allowed the native Northern Leopard frog populations to soar.