The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has completed a conveyance agreement with the Walker River Paiute Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This agreement revolves around the movement of water, acquired by the Walker Basin Restoration Program (Program), through the Walker River Paiute Reservation to Walker Lake. The three parties were in negotiations for several years and worked together to develop an agreed-upon method to account for and manage the flow of “Program Water” through the Reservation.

The agreement made is part of the larger goal of the Walker Basin Restoration Program to increase water flows in the Walker River, raise Walker Lake levels, and improve habitat.

An additional factor in achieving this larger goal is changing how and where water being purchased by the program is used. This process included a recent hearing before the Nevada State Engineer to consider NFWF’s application (and protests to that application) to allow purchased irrigation rights to remain in the Walker River for conveyance to Walker Lake. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other affected parties are currently awaiting a decision by the State Engineer’s Office.

Also, during the spring, an additional 791 acres of land purchased by the Walker Basin Restoration Program was donated back to the State of Nevada and Department of Wildlife to be part of the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area.

All of this land is now available for public and sportsmen access and will ultimately be restored to native habitat that will benefit wildlife such as California quail, mule deer, wild turkey, and a wide variety of raptors and songbirds. Restoring lands back to native habitat is part of a land stewardship and conservation program being implemented to assure that lands being removed from active agricultural production through the Walker Basin Restoration Program do not become problem areas that produce excessive dust or harbor noxious or invasive weeds. In most cases, efforts are directed toward the planting of native vegetation that has proven it can thrive in a desert environment.

For more information on the Walker Basin Restoration Program, please call our local Yerington office at 775.463.9887 or visit the website at www.walkerbasin.org.

Submitted by The Walker Basin Restoration Program