“Death” Valley.

Recently, I did a research project on National Parks for AP Environmental Science class. I chose the  Death Valley, which I had always considered it as “dead land” until this time I finally learned that it is actually full of lively species.

Located at 282 feet below the sea level, Death Valley is 300 miles northwest of LA, in the eastern flank of the towering Sierra Nevada Range (which also stands as the 8th lowest depression on earth and deepest in North America). Formed about 1.8 billion years ago, the Death Valley was previously an ancient sea and later developed into rock, which formed warped mountains and uplifted plates.

Death Valley is famous as the hottest, driest place in North America. Summer high temperatures commonly run above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind is pretty common in this arid area with desert biome, especially during winter time. Dust storms can blow up with the approaching cold-fronts, therefore the valley remains long summers throughout the year. And the coolest months are December and January. The rainfall average is only 1.92 inches.

Even though the climate is arid and dry, Death Valley still consists of great diversity of wildlife. Species of animals such as Fringed Myotis, Coyote, Sagebrush Checkerspot, Roadrunner, and Chuckwalla all habitat in Death Valley.

However, the endangered species in Death Valley have been a huge issue. Species such as Amargosa Toad (Bufi nelsoni), Southwestern Willow Flycather (Empidonax traillii extimus), Devils Hole Pupfish (Crprinodon diabolis), and Desert Tortoise.

In Death Valley National Park, groundwater feeds seeps, springs, and a rare desert river that are crucial for sustaining plant and animal life. Moreover, lots of species rely on the groundwater.

Most of the land between the roads in Death Valley National Park has been given an additional layer of protection from further development by being designated Wilderness. Today there are more than 109 million acres of federally protected Wilderness in 44 states. Recently the “National Park Service” released its new stewardship plan for Death Valley National Park, which focused on managing Death Valley’s wilderness, which comprises 3.1 million acres of the 3.3 million-acre park.

We all live and share the same environment with animals, plants and other species. Therefore, humans are also responsible for our own behaviors. I’ve never been to Death Valley before, but I don’t want to see it turn into a forever “dead valley.”

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