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  • Writer's pictureLara Cox

Wetlands in the Desert?

Visit the Wetlands, it's awesome! I went last weekend, don't know why I've never been. I've lived here for 30 years and was astonished at the river (I kid you not, a legit river) running through the park. Drive as far east as you can on Tropicana, and boom, there it is!

There is a beautiful building with a gift shop, paved parking and clean indoor restrooms. You'll hear ducks quacking and birds of all kinds twittering as you walk along paved walkways and pause to read informational boards scattered throughout the park. After hanging out for a while on the bridge over the river, a road runner darted across the path in front of us, paused just long enough for a photo opp and then disappeared into the bushes.

Fun facts I learned:

1. The river flows downhill at a surprising rate and 21 weirs were constructed to reduce erosion. They slow water flows, improve water quality and create unique wildlife habitats.

2. Beavers live there! And their oversized teeth are bright orange because of all the extra iron that gives them the strength to chew through trees. Their teeth never stop growing so they have to chew to keep them from getting too long.

3. Ants, while a pest in our homes, perform functions vital to the ecosystem. They disperse seeds, pollinate plants and aerate the soil. They also tend aphids on the leaves of the willow trees in the Wetlands Park, extracting a sugary substance that feeds the ants in the nest.

4. Monarch butterflies only live for 2 to 6 weeks, with the exception of the last generation of the year, which can live up to 8 to 9 months because they are the migrating generation.



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