Clark County Wetlands Park after the Rain

Friday November 22nd 2019

After almost an inch of rain in the last forty eight hours, I was curious to see the Clark County Wetlands Park. Today was an ideal day to check it out. The sun was out over the valley with a few clouds clinging to the tops of the surrounding mountains. The temperature reached the low sixties.

Interesting shadows on the mountains caused by the puffy clouds.

Shortly after noon I drove the four miles to the park. There weren’t as many cars in the parking lot as I’ve seen recently, but there was no obvious impact of the rain from the parking area. As I walked out into the park along the concrete pathways, it soon became clear that I needed to stay on the concrete. The gravel side trails were at best soggy and many were muddy. However, the ponds and flowing streams looked to be at the normal level. The turtles had the same amount of real estate for sunbathing on the rocks.

Turtles taking the sun.

The real difference was over near the Las Vegas Wash. As the primary outlet for all the rain water that falls in the valley it showed many signs of the previous heavy rain. The water was flowing faster over the dam and was spread out across a wider area of the dam. If I hadn’t seen the flow prior to the rain I wouldn’t have recognized the difference, but there was one clear indicator of the previous rain. Debris that was carried along by the heavy runoff was all over the place. The lighter more buoyant rubble was high on the bank along the channel giving a clear indication of how high the water reached. I think it represented a high water level four of five feet above the current level. There was also a buildup of big and heavy elements against the dam in the main channel. How a big couch floated down the wash is an indicator of how strong the current can be.

Smaller junk caught in the tall grass.
Big sofa caught by the dam under the pedestrian bridge.
The fast moving water below the dam is back in its channel.

The county will need to get some moderately heavy equipment out to clear out and clean up the junk. I doubt it will be quickly given cost and staffing, but that’s OK more heavy rain is forecast for next week.

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