A week ago today, approximately 500 Virgin spinedace were released into the stream at the recently completed Red Hills Desert Garden on Friday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. The public was invited to attend and many came to participate in the release. The Virgin spinedace have been transplanted from Beaver Dam Wash as a protective measure to preserve and enhance the species.
Virgin spinedace have been managed under a conservation agreement between local, state, and federal agencies since 1995. Under the agreement, the species has been restored to more than 85 percent of its historical habitat. Ongoing efforts coordinated by the Virgin River Program and its partners include maintaining existing populations, reestablishing populations in historic habitats, and creating conditions that allow the species to expand its range.
The stream runs through the center of the garden. Several footbridges and stepping-stones allow visitors to get a view directly over the water. In addition to the native fish, the stream supports several species of water plants such as cattails and coyote willows. These, combined with the placement of logs and rocks, give the stream a natural look.
Washington County is the first in the state of Utah to build a desert conservation garden.