Life on the Amargosa—a desert river faced with drought
Where the underground Amargosa bubbles to the surface, unique flora and fauna thrive. But now, hotter weather and depleted groundwater in Nevada and California threaten this rare ecosystem.
Shoshone, CaliforniaRivers are often seen as nature’s lifeline. That is certainly true here, in one of the hottest places on Earth, where life prevails because of a waterway that, for the most part, can’t be seen.
The river is the Amargosa, and for much of its 180-mile course, from the desert highlands of southern Nevada through California’s Mojave Desert and into Death Valley, it runs below ground, underneath a barren moonscape of crag and crust. But in the stretches and springs where the river surfaces, an explosion of life occurs; some of the plants, birds, and fishes found here exist nowhere else in the world. But for all its richness, life in the Amargosa River Basin is intensely