By Peter Stanton
Executive Director, Walker Basin Conservancy
It looks like a decade of unprecedented drought will continue in 2022. While mother nature is not cooperating, the Walker Basin Conservancy is continuing its efforts to increase freshwater flows to Walker Lake.
This year, the Conservancy a total of 12.46 cubic feet per second (cfs) is available for delivery to the lake when in full priority. The Conservancy also has two additional applications pending with the courts to protect 7.54 cfs in stream for the benefit of Walker Lake. Additionally, 2022 will be the third year of the WRID storage leasing program, which allows water rights owners within the Irrigation District to lease their water for the benefit of the lake, getting paid to contribute to conservation.
During the 2021-22 winter, we saw unprecedentedly low flows through the river system past Mason Valley. Accordingly, Weber Reservoir is lower than at any point in recent history. The Conservancy is working with the Walker River Paiute Tribe to deliver the Conservancy’s water to the lake in the most efficient fashion given the low flows early in the season, and releases of program water to the lake are expected to begin at the end of April this year.
April is also a great time to visit the Walker River State Recreation Area on the East Walker. Whether going through Yerington or over Lucky Boy Pass, you now have access to miles of the East Walker that were previously private property through a donation of land from the Conservancy to the State of Nevada.
The Conservancy also has native plants, grown from seed to maturity in their nursery, available to communities throughout Lyon and Mineral Counties. If you are interested in plants for a project, your home, or in commercial quantity, contact us at 775-463-9887 (ext. 108).