From Rob Gay via the Dinosaur Mailing List and the VertPaleo list:
Nationally-based Las Vegas builders are aching to get their hands (and bulldozers) on this land, even though there is still enough usable land nearby, and are petitioning the BLM to set aside this land for development (sign petition here). Unless a large number of people petition for the preservation of this area soon, it will be covered by houses in no time flat. (I can see it now--"Gee, look at this neat mammoth I found when we dug our pool?")
The following information sheet should give you plenty of reasons to go on the web to http://www.tulespringslv.com. The web site is well done and it is very simple to sign the petition. And, since this is concerns federal lands, it makes no difference where you live. I would even hope you would send a request to all your friends to sign the petition, too. I hate to think how many houses could be built on top of all these important fossil remains by the greedy builders in Las Vegas if something isn't done to save them.
Here's the information sheet:
Significance of Fossils from the Las Vegas Formation
By Eric Scott, San Bernardino County Museum as presented to Senator Reid
The fossils from the Las Vegas Formation in the Upper Las Vegas Wash comprise the single largest open-site assemblage of animals from the end of the Pleistocene Epoch - the "Ice Ages" - anywhere in the Mojave Desert and the southern Great Basin.
The fossils from the Las Vegas Formation also comprise one of the largest and most significant late Pleistocene paleontological sites anywhere in the American southwest.
The fossil assemblage from the Las Vegas Formation includes relatively complete remains of extinct animals such as mammoths, ground sloths (2 species), camels, horses (3 species), bison, and giant North American lion. These rare fossils are not preserved in this abundance or diversity from any other fossil sites in the Mojave Desert or the southern Great Basin.
The fossils assemblage from the Las Vegas Formation also includes remains of small animals including rabbits, rodents, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The potential provided by these microfossils - the ability to focus on paleoenvironments in extremely focused regions through tightly-defined periods of geologic time - remains largely untapped, because prior to the San Bernardino County Museum's concentration on these fossils in the 1990s, their extent and potential significance was largely unrecognized.
Although fossils from the Las Vegas Formation are abundant, paleontologic studies of this amazing assemblage are still in the early stages. Previous work has focused primarily on the potential archaeological (= human) component of the region, and the significance of the fossils in their own right has not been fully assessed.
The preservation of the fossils is frequently excellent, enabling precise identifications and the advancement of studies regarding how these ancient animals looked, acted, and interacted.
The excellent preservation of many fossils from the Las Vegas Formation also permits many cutting-edge scientific analytical techniques to be used on the fossils. These techniques potentially include (but are not limited to) radiometric dating, DNA analysis, and isotope studies.
The widespread exposures of the Las Vegas Formation in the Upper Las Vegas Wash span a critical period of geologic history - from nearly two hundred thousand years ago until approximately seven thousand years ago. No other abundantly fossiliferous late Ice Age formation encompasses such an impressive and important span of geologic time.
However, this important timespan is not preserved in any one locale. Rather, it is spread out throughout the entirety of the Upper Las Vegas Wash, which dictates that the entire wash needs to be conserved so that the full potential of the resources and their significance can be retained.
The time period covered by the Las Vegas Formation is critical because it tracks multiple global and regional cooling and warming periods at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch. Included in this time span is the terminal Ice Age warming event, during which most of the large Ice Age mammals - mammoths, ground sloths, camels, horses, bison, and their contemporaries - went extinct. No other fossil-bearing site in the American southwest tracks this critical time period.
The fossil-bearing outcrops in the Upper Las Vegas Wash represent the very last opportunity to study these amazing fossils, their ancient environments, and their prehistory. The entire Las Vegas Valley was once a vast exposure of the Las Vegas Formation, replete with fossils - but the growth of the City of Las Vegas and its environs has effectively buried these fossils in perpetuity.
Only in the Upper Las Vegas Wash are the fossils and their context still preserved for study.
Although studies of the Las Vegas Formation have established that humans and extinct Ice Age animals did not coexist in this region at the end of the Ice Ages, there is nevertheless a strong archaeological component in the youngest sediments of this formation. In fact, the separate relationship of the fossils and the human-made artifacts is important to preserve for future students of prehistory, as this "close but not touching" relationship is not preserved at other sites in the American southwest.
In summary, the Las Vegas Formation in the Upper Las Vegas Wash offers an absolutely unique confluence of geologic forces enabling an unprecedented and unparalleled opportunity for study of prehistory.