Science & Services

The Public Lands Institute focuses on projects that further our understanding of natural and cultural resources, enhance decision making and adaptive land management, inform the public, and improve public lands stewardship. We facilitate, design, and conduct multidisciplinary research and offer support services to researchers and resource managers. We also design, develop, and analyze geographic information systems and database management tools to facilitate multi-agency data sharing. 

Goal: Conduct and support high quality, relevant, up-to-date research that is needed to solve problems and make effective decisions to enhance conservation, restoration, and adaptive management of public lands.

Description: The Public Lands Institute facilitates, designs, and conducts multi-disciplinary research and provides support services to researchers. The Institute focuses on projects that will further our understanding of natural and cultural resources, enhance decision making and adaptive land management, inform the public, and improve public lands stewardship.


Click to explore more about the programs.


  • Limnological Assistance for Lake Mead National Recreation Area: Providing technical assistance with the research, analysis, interpretation, summarization, and information sharing related to the "Interagency Management Action Plan for Quagga Mussels" and the "Long-term Ecological Monitoring Plan for Lakes Mead and Mohave," which are being implemented at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
  • National Park Service Monitoring Program: Conducting a variety of research projects in wildlife, vegetation, and archaeology at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Parashant National Monument, with responsibilities ranging from inventory, monitoring, and research, to database management, report writing, and public presentations.
  • Technical Assistance for the Revision of the Conservation Agreement for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area


  • Judicial Analysis of Littering Fines: Conducting legal research on current litter and desert dumping regulations and enforcement practices and providing recommendations to the land management agencies.
  • WBRWalking Box Ranch: In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Vegas Field Office, UNLV, through the Public Lands Institute is to conceptually plan, design, and engage in program and construction management for the Walking Box Ranch, a historic ranch near Searchlight, Nevada. The 40-acre headquarters parcel of the ranch may serve as a field research and training center focusing on arid lands and the Mojave Desert ecosystem. This project will also preserve part of the culture and history of Southern Nevada for the benefit of future generations.


  • LitterAnti-Litter Strategy for Southern Nevada: Researching the distribution and types of trash and other illegally dumped materials on public lands using advanced technology.
  • Discover Mojave Assessment Studies

Support Services

Completed Projects

  • Alt WorkforceAlternative Workforce Study: Surveying availability of alternative workforce suppliers and developing a relational database on the potential workforce available to meet temporary staffing needs of land management agencies.
  • Archaeology: Conducting archaeological inventories, monitoring, site assessments, testing, and data management throughout Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Parashant National Monument to examine how the data relate to other environmental factors on a broader regional scale.
  • Lost City: Cataloging information and artifacts originally discovered by prior researchers at the Pueblo Grande de Nevada archaeological complex and completing field investigations to further map, survey, and conduct test excavations at the site.
  • Revegetating Burned Arid Lands Project: Identifyng which native species can be reliably established and most effectively compete with exotic annual grasses in post-fire environments. Researchers examine the establishment and competitive abilities of nine native perennials at a nursery facility at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and at six desert sites within Lake Mead and adjacent to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The research addresses a critical issue for desert ecology in the Southwest and is of national interest.
  • Science and Research Strategy for Southern Nevada: Developing a science strategy with four federal land management agencies to articulate SRSinteragency research priorities in the areas of natural resources, human interaction with their environment, and strategy operations.This strategy is intended to create a consistent, integrated, interagency science and research program to meet shared resource management goals for Southern Nevada public lands.
  • QuaggaWater 2025 Limnological Assistance for Lake Mead National Recreation Area: Providing technical assistance with the development, implementation, and review of lake monitoring and research programs related to the Boulder Basin Adaptive Management Program, other on-going Lake Mead limnology projects, and quagga mussel invasion. The project also includes strategic data mining to make historic data more available, organizing and conducting a state of the science symposium to share current research related to the ecological health of Lakes Mead and Mohave, and preparation of a ecological monitoring plan for these lakes.

  • Doctoral & Masters Degreed Educators and Research Scientists

  • Science Writers and Editors
  • Skilled Public Speakers
  • Ecologists
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Student Programs and Research Assistants

  • Laboratories
  • UNLV Lied Library Special Collections
  • Herbarium
  • Academic Resources
  • Computer-based Systems (GIS, Statistics…)

  • Assisted the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership to develop a peer-reviewed science strategy including the selection of common goals for resource managers and associated priority research questions.
  • 14 peer reviewed research publications in 2008
  • 48 conference/poster presentations in 2008
  • Hosted 1 research symposium
  • Processed 117 permit requests for research and public lands
  • 1 Multi-Agency Workshop
  • Developed and ran a peer review process for 4 years

Public Lands Institute 4505 Maryland Parkway RAJ 280 Box 452040 Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-2040 Phone 702-895-4678 Fax 702-895-5166 Email