Part of the project here is to rescue specimens of endangered plant species–for example, from construction projects. Another aspect of the project is to allow a large swath of land to return to its primordial state before over-grazing and over-population converted it into a different ecosystem.
Technically, this is not high desert by the way. It is high semi-arid because there is a rainy season. There is supposed to be a rainy season anyway.
Where the Genie Lives
Wetlands Behind the Dam