On March 20, the state engineer issued a ruling (271) that overruled the multiple protests filed against the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) application 80700, seeking changes to allow purchased water from willing sellers to go to Walker Lake. The application was filed on May 24, 2011.
The change in place and manner of used was applied by NFWF for a portion of Walker River Decree claims (numbers 23, 23-1, 35, 44, 67 and 89). The purpose was so the water from the involved water rights would not be diverted at the former point of diversion but rather to leave the water instream into Walker Lake. The requested change also was for the manner of use would be from decreed (irrigation) to wildlife purposes.
The ruling by the state water engineer has prepared the way for the next part of moving the water to Walker Lake. The next step is for NFWF to take the request before the federal decree court. The Walker River is adjudicated through Decree C-125, as decided by the U.S. District Court.
NFWF was selected by Sen. Harry Reid for the purpose of acquiring water for Walker Lake. They have made great strides in accomplishing the goal of water for the lake. They have purchased in excess of $35 million in water rights for Walker Lake. The decision by the state engineer is the first step of many yet to come in the transfer of water to the desperate Walker Lake.
Even after the water begins to reach the lake, steps will be taken to return it to a viable asset for Mineral County. Walker Lake will someday be the home to Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. The lake is also visited by many aviary species annually.
“We are pleased with the ruling by the state engineer on NFWF’s application” says Glenn Bunch, President of Walker Lake Working Group. “WLWG supports NFWF in their efforts to resolve protests and to purchase the water needed for the lake.”