Preserving the Shrinking Walker Basin

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Preserving the Shrinking Walker Basin

Date: 08/18/2023     State: CA     Issue: Watersheds     Partners: Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Walker Basin Conservancy Airport Origin : Bridgepoint, CA    


Provide conservationists and County officials with the aerial perspective of the shrinking Walker Lake and the rehabilitation projects aimed to restore the ecosystem.

Soaring above the Walker Basin, the beauty of the area is clear. Beloved for its rich wildlife and recreational opportunities, the Walker River Basin stretches from the high eastern Sierra to the rugged mountains and valleys of western Nevada.

The Walker Basin is over-appropriated, and upstream diversions of water have resulted in an ecological collapse at Walker Lake, a desert terminal lake which has declined 90% by volume and 50% by area and is no longer capable of supporting fish, including the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Our partners are leading the effort to restore Walker Lake by conserving land and water in the Basin. Walker Basin Conservancy (WBC) purchases water rights from willing sellers and uses this water for conservation purposes by allowing it to flow to Walker Lake. So far, they have secured rights to over 50% of the water necessary to restore the lake’s fishery.

WBC also converts retired agricultural fields to native plant communities using wild-collected seed propagated in-house and innovative restoration ecology techniques, and collaborates with partners on restoration and monitoring projects for the region’s special status wildlife, including the bi-state sage grouse, monarch butterfly, and western yellow-billed cuckoo. WBC engages in outreach and environmental education, as well as an active AmeriCorps service program, to connect with the community and to spread the word about solutions to the ecological challenges of the arid West.

This collective action is critical to protect the Walker River Basin's many historical, scenic, recreational, agricultural, and ecological benefits.

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