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What's up with pupfish?

Pupfish are remarkable for their ability to live in the extreme conditions of the desert. The pupfish I'm best acquainted with live in the Amargosa and Mojave deserts, specifically in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Devils Hole. It's estimated all three species have lived there since the end of the last ice age (about 10,000 years ago, around the same time as the last Columbian mammoths, giant ground sloths, and North American camels still roamed North America). 


It's also around that time when the pupfish lived alongside the First Peoples in the area whose descendants are the Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) and Newe (Western Shoshone) peoples. Early white settlers, part of the '49 Goldrush, described the pupfish as nothing of consequence, after all, they were too small to eat. But what we've learned about these little survivors and their unique habitat since then could fill a children's book or two. In fact, that's what I've been up to since 2020.

Being in Ash Meadows feels like both a step back in time with a front row view into Earth's past as well as a triumph of nature's perseverance against the toughest odds. My family and I visit this magical place whenever we get the chance.

Taking photo of my spouse and our oldest on a 2021 early spring-time visit to Kings Pool.

Snapshot of the gorgeous blue of Crystal Pool, right.

Click on photo for link to a Bristlecone Media production, on Vimeo, about Ash Meadows.

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Click on photo (below) for link to National Public Radio's "Weekly Dose of Wonder" article about Devils Hole pupfish.

Recently, two alternative energy projects were proposed which would negatively impact the wildlife living in Ash Meadows and the Amargosa Valley, including endemic, endangered, and threatened species. But a suit threatened by conservation groups caused the BLM to reconsider. Further, the BLM states that future exploration project proposals will be given public notice. This agreement, however, stands for only a 12-month period. While I'm a proponent of alternative energy, it's clear that Ash Meadows is not the right place to pursue it.

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