At a Glance

A stormwater detention pond, once an eyesore in the middle of a popular cultural and environmental attraction, is transformed into a thriving wetland that improves water quality, provides wildlife habitat and enhances aesthetics.

Project Description

Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural and historical attraction in Las Vegas that includes trails, historic structures and archaeological sites; a botanical garden, and an outdoor classroom. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Springs Preserve is located on a site where natural springs once bubbled beneath the valley floor.

The Meadows Stormwater Detention Basin, previously a vacant and unmanaged eyesore in the community, became the heart of the restoration efforts at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Biohabitats recreated a riparian wetland with a stream channel flowing through a series of habitat ponds.

Designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of riparian wetlands for treating non-point source pollutants and mitigating stormwater runoff, the project also provides a historical simile with the original Las Vegas Springs by including a cauldron pool spring as a primary water source. A key design challenge was the incorporation of parks and public spaces in the flood control basin.

In addition to providing treatment of stormwater, the project created significant habitat and bounty for local flora and fauna, with nearly 100 species of plants and about 150 species of birds, and an opportunity for the Preserve’s 600,000 annual visitors to learn about the relationship of water to the development of the City of Las Vegas. All project goals were accomplished in compliance with requirements to operate this site as a flood control detention basin.



Southwest Basin & Range

Physiographic Province

Basin & Range


Las Vegas Wash

Expertise Areas

Community, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


Las Vegas Valley Water District


Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Project Team
  • The Portico Group
  • Luchessi, Galati Architects, Inc.
  • Craig Campbell Studio, Inc.