Nevada’s waters keep the Silver State alive and thriving. Its wetlands, lakes, springs, and rivers are central to our recreation economy, supporting wildlife, and giving Nevadans the water we need to live and prosper.

However, Nevada does not yet have a clear path to safeguarding some of the state’s most exceptional waters. We need a tool that will protect Nevada’s outstanding waters from being degraded. By allowing the public and state to nominate and designate these waters as “Ecological and Aesthetic Waters,” we can protect our waterways and surrounding land. 

Learn more about Nevada’s outstanding waters and why they need protection.

Nevada relies on its water.

Designated ecological and aesthetic waters such as Lake Tahoe provide the Silver State with clean drinking water and a variety of health, ecological, and recreational benefits. Other waterways such as East Walker River and the Ruby Marshes are exceptional waters that could qualify for this protection as well. 

What are Ecological or Aesthetic Waters?

Ecological or Aesthetic Waters (EA Waters) are waters that the State of Nevada designates as having the highest level of protection under the Clean Water Act. An EA Waters designation prevents degradation of stretches of rivers, streams, wetlands, and other water bodies with high water quality or other unique characteristics.

This designation is reserved for waters that have high water quality or other significant characteristics, including exceptional ecological, recreational, historic, or habitat values. Currently, Nevada is working to finalize rules to establish a clear process for nominating and designating Nevada’s outstanding waters as EA Waters and a system to safeguard any waters classified as EA Waters. Join us in working to establish a strong EA Waters policy to protect our state’s most valuable and outstanding waters!

Why protect Nevada waters?

Recreation- Nevadans value outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing on public lands and waters. Almost 60 percent of Nevadans participate in outdoor recreation at least once a year, and more than 14 million people visited national parks, national recreation areas, and state parks in Nevada in 2019. Outdoor recreation is a boon for Nevada’s economy, generating 12.6 billion in consumer spending and supporting 87,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and salaries, and $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Drinking Water- Nevada’s waters provide life-sustaining drinking water for millions of people. Protecting Nevada’s outstanding waters will help prevent degradation of water quality and keep our water clean.

Rivers, lakes, springs and wetlands sustain crucial habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife. With so many threatened and endangered species in Nevada, those sensitive populations can not afford more habitat loss.

What can I do?

As residents of the driest state in the nation, Nevadans value our water and feel that protecting the environment should be a priority. In the 2021 Conservation in the West Poll researchers found that 90% of Nevadans agree that even with state budget problems, we should still find money to protect the state’s land, water, and wildlife. 

Tell state officials that we want to protect Nevada’s important natural resources. Nevada should put in place a clear process and standards for nominating and designating Ecological and Aesthetic Waters to get the special safeguards they need and deserve under the Clean Water Act.

Take action and sign the petition to designate Nevada’s outstanding waters as #EAWaters.