Steptoe Valley Wetlands Restoration Project

The former CCC ranch is now part of the Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area.

Located in White Pine County, the Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was purchased by the Nevada Division of Wildlife in 1999. It's 6,426 acres in size, consisting of about 2,423 acres of wetlands and 4,003 acres of associated uplands. Purchase of the ranch included not only a large tract of land, but substantial water rights too which will support a vast wetland complex in the valley bottom just south of the town of Ely .

In partnership with NDOW, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Barrick Goldstrike Mines, the Fairweather Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Trout Unlimited, White Pine County Sportsman's Association, Wildlife Habitat Improvement of Nevada, the Great Basin Bird Observatory, the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada Waterfowl Association and private donors, DU is restoring the wetlands in the valley that have been degraded by previous livestock and ranching management practices.

This restoration project is the site of the very first North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant in the state of Nevada . Along with funding from the partnership, NAWCA funds will be used to restore almost 2,000 acres of wet meadow, seasonal wetlands and riparian (streamside) habitat and enhance 500 acres of associated uplands.

Out with the old infrastructure...  ... and in with the new.
Working great... ... during a 200% snowfall year.


The Steptoe Valley WMA is part of the Great Basin ecosystem and is important for a wide variety of wildlife species. In addition to waterfowl such as mallard, green-winged teal and northern pintail, this area supports elk, pronghorn antelope, greater sandhill cranes, American avocets and a host of other bird species. Wetland and riparian areas are scarce in the Great Basin desert and restoration of these habitats will substantially increase the number of individuals and species using the WMA.

As attested to by the long list of partners, support for this project has been vigorous and widespread through the local and regional community. Two work-days have been held and volunteers from Ely and from communities as far away as Las Vegas attended to help ensure this WMA will be restored to it's full potential. Contracted restoration, underway as this is being written, should be completed by summer 2006.