Wednesday

Overton Wildlife Management Area

{Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
(Fig. 01)
This map was taken from the 2014 Final Draft of the Conceptual Management Plan for the
Overton Wildlife Management Area 
Description: The Overton Wildlife Management Area is located in the lower reaches of the Moapa and Virgin valleys where the Muddy and Virgin rivers flow into the north end of the Overton Arm of Lake Mead and totals 17,229 acres. The dotted yellow boundary lines in (Fig. 01) show the full extent of the OWMA. As you can see, the two major sources of water on the OWMA are the Muddy and Virgin rivers. The western portion of the OWMA along the Muddy River (Fig. 02 below) has been developed with ponds, seasonal wetlands, a campground, equipment shop, employee residences and an office, while the Virgin River portion of the OWMA is undeveloped.

Geographic Location: This portion of Clarke County is about 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas and can be accessed using Interstate 15 and State Route 169. The main entrance is located about two miles south of the town of Overton. Most of the OWMA varies in elevation between 1,150 and 1,240 feet (ft.) above Mean Sea Level (MSL). Prominent topographic features of the surrounding area include the southern portion of Mormon Mesa located 1,800 ft. above MSL between the Muddy and Virgin rivers, Mormon Peak located approximately 28 miles north at an elevation of 7,400 ft. above MSL, and Virgin Peak located 18 miles east and approximately 8,000 ft. above MSL.
                    
(Fig. 02)
This map was taken from the 2014 Final Draft of the Conceptual Management Plan for the
Overton Wildlife Management Area 
07/25/2016 Trip Notes: I visited this area with Bob Croke. As you can see from the map in (Fig. 02), this entire area contains dozens of fields (Fig. 03) that are growing hay and other crops. We entered at the areas' main entrance off SR-169, at the spot seen on the map in (Fig. 02). From here we followed the dirt road along the southwest boarder to the Center Pond, one of the wildlife area's four ponds. Finding this pond dry, we continued down the road to Pintail and Wilson Ponds (refer to the map in (Fig. 02)). Taking the road between the two ponds we headed northeast toward the Muddy River. Both of these ponds were almost completely dry. While driving along we spotted two families of Gambel's Quail, each with as many as a dozen chicks. We also spotted a variety of birds and and several Roadrunners. At one spot we found six cows lying down in the shade of some large trees, though they quickly scattered into the heavy brush (Fig. 04). We even encountered a bull walking down the road in front of us (Figs. 05 & 06). (notes con't below)
                         
(Fig. 03)


(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)

(Fig. 06)
Notes Continued: When we reached the river at the end of the dry pond bed we turn northwest and followed the road around the west side of the pond. A canal of water fed by the Muddy River followed the right side of the road for several hundred yards (Fig. 07). Eventually it breached the berm and came across the road, flowing into the dry lake. It mad the road so muddy, we couldn't continue and had to retrace our steps all the way back to the main road. On our was back we spotted an area of water at southern end of the lake bed, that had a flock of Ibises (Fig. 08) and seagulls (Fig. 10). Ibises all have long, down-curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items (Fig. 09). As we were leaving the area, we were even more surprised when we spotted some turkeys (Fig. 11). One of the fields was full of Black-eyed Susan's were hosting hundreds of bees (Fig. 12). Though there are a lot of areas to hike around here, we were severely hampered by the temperature. Even though we arrived here around 8:30 in the morning, the temperature was already up to 98 degrees and limited our hiking of the area. Due to this years lack of monsoon rains and brutal hot temperatures, it seemed obvious this area might be more interesting in the Fall, Winter and Spring when there might be more water. I plan on going back for another visit in the late fall.
                       
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)