The Desert Terminal Lakes Program began with Public Law 107-171, enacted 5/13/02. The legislation provided $200 million to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation “to provide water to at-risk natural desert terminal lakes” but prohibited leasing or purchasing water rights. The funds are available until expended and Reclamation has the authority to enter into grants and cooperative agreements.
Public Law 108-7, enacted 2/20/03, specified that funding was to be used to provide water and assistance only for Pyramid, Summit, and Walker lakes in the state of Nevada. The legislation also allocated $3 million as follows:
- $1 million for creation of a fish hatchery at Walker Lake; and
- $2 million to implement the Truckee River Settlement Act; the funds are to be divided equally among the State of Nevada, the State of California, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
Public Law 108-137, enacted 12/01/03, allocated $3,903,000, as follows:
- $2.5 million to the State of Nevada to purchase water rights from willing sellers and make necessary improvements to benefit Carson Lake and Pasture, after title is transferred to the state;
- $133,000 to Families in Search of Truth for the purchase of bottled water for Fallon-area schools;
- $270,000 for the State of Nevada’s costs associated with the National Environmental Policy Act review of the Humboldt Title Transfer; and
- $1 million to the University of Nevada, Reno’s Biodiversity initiative for public education and associated technical assistance and outreach concerning issues affecting Walker Lake restoration.
Public Law 109-103, enacted 11/19/05, allocated $95 million, as follows:
- $70 million to the University of Nevada to 1) acquire from willing sellers land, water appurtenant to the land, and related interests in the Walker River Basin, and 2) to establish and administer an agricultural and natural resources center to undertake research, restoration, and educational activities in the Walker River Basin;
- $10 million for a water lease and purchase program for the Walker River Paiute Tribe;
- $10 million for tamarisk eradication, riparian area restoration, and channel restoration efforts within the Walker River Basin to enhance water delivery to Walker Lake; and
- $5 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Walker River Paiute Tribe, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to complete the design and implementation of the Western Inland Trout Initiative and Fishery Improvements in the State of Nevada with an emphasis on the Walker River Basin.
Public Law 110-161, enacted 12/26/07, allocated $68.25 million, as follows:
- $2 million to provide grants, to be divided equally, to the State of Nevada and the State of California to implement the Truckee River Settlement Act, Public Law 101-618;
- $3 million for activities necessary to convey to the State of Nevada the land known as the `Carson Lake and Pasture';
- $10 million for the removal of the Numana Dam and other obsolete irrigation structures located on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation;
- $5 million to study and prepare plans for the development and construction of a pipeline to convey water from Dixie Valley to Churchill County, Nevada;
- $10 million for design and construction of the Derby Dam fish screen to allow passage of fish, including the cui-ui and Lahontan cutthroat trout and any improvements to Derby Dam necessary to make the fish screen operable.
- $6 million for acquisition of 4 small hydroelectric power plants from the Sierra Pacific Power Company to improve water allocation and fish passage in the Truckee River;
- $6 million for Lower Truckee River restoration projects identified by the cities of Reno and Sparks, and Washoe County;
- $9 million to a nonprofit conservation organization, acting in consultation with the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, for the acquisition of land surrounding Independence Lake and protection of the lake’s native fishery and water quality;
- $1 million to the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe to plan and complete restoration efforts at Summit Lake in Northern Washoe County, Nevada;
- $3 million to the Newlands Project Water Rights Fund for a Federal-State-Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe program, to be administered by an entity identified by the 3 applicable parties, for the retirement of water rights pursuant to the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act (Public Law 101-618: 104 Stat. 3311);
- $2.5 million to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to analyze the impacts of low water flows on reproduction at the Walker Lake fishery, including an analysis of methods to prevent permanent effects on the fishery from low water flows;
- $4 million to the State of Nevada to prepare watershed inventories, with a particular focus on the Walker and Carson River Basins;
- $5 million for joint planning and development activities for water, wastewater, and sewer facilities by the city of Fernley, Nevada, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe;
- $500,000 for the Walker River Paiute Tribe for legal and professional services in support of settling tribal water claims in the Walker River Basin and to Walker Lake;
- $1 million to the Walker River Irrigation District to plan and implement a weed control program to improve conveyance efficiency of water controlled by the Irrigation District and to make improvements to water gauges controlled by the Irrigation District to enhance the water monitoring activities of the Irrigation District;
- $250,000 to Churchill County, Nevada, to provide testing of groundwater wells;
Public Law 110-234, Section 2807, enacted 5/22/08, appropriated an additional $175 million, “to provide water to at-risk natural desert terminal lakes.“ It also specifies that when there are willing sellers, the funding can be used:
- To lease water; and
- To purchase land, water appurtenant to the land, and related interests in the Walker River Basin.
Public Law 111-8, Sections 207 and 208, enacted 3/11/09, made minor changes to previous allocations and added 2 allocations to be funded from the original $200 million appropriation:
- $300,000 to the Desert Research Institute for LIDAR acquisition data in the Walker River Basin;
- $300,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assess and monitor the ability of west central Nevada lakes to support migratory loons, and identification of wintering areas and annual range of loons using Walker Lake during migration.
Public Law 111-85, Sections 206 through 208, enacted 10/28/09, modified previous Desert Terminal Lake legislation and allocated $80.7 million, as follows:
- $66,200,000 to establish the Walker Basin Restoration Program, to be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation;
- $2 million for the acquisition of land surrounding Independence Lake and protection of the lake’s native fishery and water quality;
- $5 million to implement the Truckee River Settlement Act; the funds are to be divided equally among the State of Nevada, the State of California, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the Federal Watermaster of the Truckee River;
- $1.5 million for joint planning and development activities for water, wastewater, and sewer facilities by the city of Fernley, Nevada, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe;
- $1 million to the U.S. Geological Survey for Walker River Basin water monitoring program;
- $5 million to implement the 1996 Truckee River Water Quality Settlement Agreement by acquiring water rights for the benefit of the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake. [Note: On 10/30/09, 2 days after this legislation was enacted, Public Law 111-88 was enacted, reducing this allocation from $45 million to $5 million.]
See the Desert Terminal Lakes Program Legislation page for the complete text of the public laws referenced above.
For assistance or additional information, please contact:
Caryn Huntt DeCarlo
Desert Terminal Lakes Program
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
705 North Plaza Street, Suite 320
Carson City, NV 89701
775-884-8352 Fax 775-882-7592
July 12, 2011