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Nevada Today is a nonpartisan, independently owned and operated site dedicated to providing up-to-date news and smart analysis on the issues that impact Nevada's communities and businesses.

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Coyote Springs Construction Blocked Again

Add Nevada Water Engineer Jason King to those blocking constructions on 43,000 acres  Coyote Springs, a project located 58 miles north-east of Las Vegas, NV.

Coyote Springs Development Site

Construction of the 160,000 homes, was set to begin on July 5, 2001.  Illegal political contributions, legal squabbles and indictments along with environmental issues put a stake in the $30 billion project.

A golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus has been constructed and is operational.

Coyote Springs Golf Course

The planned development first attracted environmental concerns and allegations of political favoritism. [3] from the beginning

In February 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity announced plans to sue the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for violations of the Endangered Species Act. The Center contends the Coyote Springs development and the resultant loss of water resources and habitat would harm the desert tortoise

Desert Tortoise

and potentially hasten the extinction of the Moapa dace,

Moapa Dace

Both are on the endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada’s water authority responded that they, too, are interested in protecting the Moapa dace, a small fish living in the Muddy River north of Las Vegas.[

Reno lawyer Harvey Whittemore was the president of Coyote Springs Investment until 2010 when he split from his Contra Costa County, Cal. business partners, Thomas Seeno and Albert Seeno, Jr. That year, the FBI began investigating the Seeno Family’s business and raided their headquarters.

Whittemore had his own legal problems. In 2012 he was convicted of three felony charges stemming from illegal campaign contributions to then Senator Harry Reid. On September 2013, he was sentenced to two years in prison and $100,000 fine. He was released from prison in 2016 and put on a two years of supervision. He will also do 100 hours of community service.

Earlier that year, Albert Seeno Sr. plead guilty to bank fraud in a case involving his family owned real-estate development business.

Coyote Springs is one of several basins in  The Muddy Creek Formation (MCF). In 2014, King rejected several applications for groundwater rights on the MCF.  Included were applications for water in the Coyote Spring Valley (Hydrographic Basin 13-210), Garnet Valley (13-216), Hidden Valley (13-217), California Wash (13-218), and Muddy River Springs Area (13-219), and the northwestern portion of Black Mountains Area (13-215)

Muddy Creek Formation (modified by Carl Taylor Swenberg 2012, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

King based his decision on a two-year pumping test conducted by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA). The SNWA test revealed that withdrawing water from test wells reduced spring flow into the Muddy and caused declines in the water table the Coyote Spring Basin and the linked aquifers.

King warned that pumping the existing groundwater rights at Coyote Springs could dry out springs to the east that form the headwaters of the Muddy River and the sole habitat for the Moapa dace.

On June 6, SNWA general counsel Gregory Walch notified the developer that the utility was discontinuing any inspections or plan reviews of Coyote Springs until further notice because any expansion of the water facilities at Coyote Springs was “futile” considering King’s findings.

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About Author

Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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