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Legislation introduced for new monument in Mojave Desert

Spiky desert plants beneath bare, craggy hills and a blue sky
Honor Avi Kwa Ame Facebook page

A stretch of the Mojave Desert in the southernmost tip of the Nevada is sacred to a dozen Southwest tribes. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, legislation has been introduced to Congress to protect the area as a new national monument.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus introduced the legislation for the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. The area is sacred to local tribes and home to Joshua trees and desert tortoises.

Timothy Williams, chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, said at a press conference, "This is our place of creation. This is the place that we go for our spiritual needs. This is a place that has remained consistent for us, throughout this entire time, throughout the pandemic, and we want to make sure we protect it from now, and into the future."

If established, the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument would be closed to future development but would honor existing backcountry roads and mining claims. A historic ranch would also be preserved. The proposal is supported by a coalition of tribal and environmental groups, Clark County commissioners, and advisory boards in nearby cities.


Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.