Mammoth Tusk Found in Proposed Tule Springs National Monument
A seven foot long Columbian Mammoth tusk was discovered in the proposed Tule Springs National Monument near North Las Vegas in early December. Thousands of fossils have been found in this area, which contains the single largest assemblage of Ice Age fossils in the Southwest, spanning geologic history from 7,000 to 200,000 years ago. Recent paleontology studies and inventory contracted by the Bureau of Land Management and a 2009 site-survey of the area commissioned by the National Park Service for the Department of the Interior confirm the area's significance and draws attention to the increasing degradation in the region. The area and ecosystem are facing threats from urban encroachment, recreation demand, illegal dumping of residential and industrial waste, and vandalism and looting of the irreplaceable paleontological resources.
Justin M. Bowen/Las Vegas Sun
The proposed Tule Springs National Monumentcontains many threatened or endangered plants and wildlife as well. Four unique and imperiled plants call the region home, including the Las Vegas buckwheat, Merriam's bearpoppy, the Las Vegas bearpoppy, and the halfring milkvetch. The Upper Las Vegas Wash provides important habitat for the threatened desert tortoise, burrowing owls, kit foxes, and several other wildlife species that are recognized for protection.
The proposed boundaries of the new National Monument would connect four federal designations, the Desert Wildlife Refuge (US Fish and Wildlife Service), the new Tule Springs National Monument (managed by the National Park Service), Red Rock National Conservation Area (Bureau of Land Management), and Spring Mountain National Recreation Area (US Forest Service). The connection of these federal lands would preserve and maintain important wildlife corridors from impeding urbanization.
Read more about the unique fossils in the proposed monument site here.