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NIWQP Project/Study Area—


Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Nevada

Location
The Stillwater Wildlife Management Area is in the Carson Desert hydrographic area of the lower Carson River basin, in Churchill county, about 70 miles east of Reno in western Nevada. The Carson Desert, known locally as Lahontan Valley, occupies a mostly flat area of about 2,020 square miles. (Detail map)


Status
NIWQP reconnaissance level studies of the Stillwater area began in fiscal year 1986 when the area was included in a westwide evaluation of irrigated areas. Eventually, several wetlands in the Lahontan Valley were identified as requiring detailed biological and water quality studies to determine whether remediation planning was warranted. Remediation planning (Phase 4 of the NIWQP) began in fiscal year 1992 after it became clear that adverse biological impacts were occurring and that these impacts were partially related to Department of the Interior (DOI) irrigation projects.

As part of Phase 4 activities, the NIWQP continued to collect a significant amount of water quality and biological data. At about the same time as Phase 4 planning activities were started, the Congress enacted Public Law 101-618 (fiscal year 1991) and the DOI began its determination of how to carry out its responsibilities under that law. Section 206 authorized the Secretary of the Interior to obtain water rights ". . . to sustain, on a long-term average, approximately 25,000 acres of wetland habitat within the Lahontan Valley wetlands . . .." Water rights purchases were to be obtained from willing sellers. Further, the Secretary was authorized to ". . . use, modify, or extend, on a non-reimbursable basis, Federal water diversion, storage, and conveyance systems to deliver water to wetlands . . .." The DOI is making significant progress towards implementation of Public Law 101-618.

The Service also has closed Hunter Drain. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Reclamation are actively studying the disposal of drainwater from TJ Drain. Costs of technical studies, environmental compliance, negotiations for water rights acquisitions, future purchases of water rights, and data collection have been or will be shared by several DOI agencies under authorities and programs within DOI, including programs established by Public Law 101-618. Water rights acquisition and many other activities will continue for several years.

Remediation planning under Phase 4 of the NIWQP and Public Law 101-618 activities have always had the potential to duplicate each other. Therefore, NIWQP limited Phase 4 activities to: (1) monitoring of water quality and biota and (2) developing a better understanding of the relationships between Phase 4 and Public Law 101-618 activities. Interdisciplinary team activities that would normally be conducted under Phase 4 such as developing remediation options, conducting public involvement, developing authorization documents, and completing NEPA compliance were placed on hold pending clarification of the NIWQP role.

After reviewing Public Law 101-618 program activities and discussing these with NIWQP coordinators (BIA, USGS, Service), the NIWQP recommended that Phase 4 planning for remediation, monitoring, and associated funding be suspended. The primary reasons for this recommendation are:

  1. Remediation solutions have already been prescribed by the Congress under Public Law 101-618.


  2. The DOI is actively using its authorities under Public Law 101-618 to resolve biological problems in the Lahontan Valley wetlands area.


  3. The wetlands areas under consideration under Phase 4 and those areas authorized for improvements under Public Law 101-618 are the same areas.

Phases 2 and 3 Data
Chemical Data From Water:
ASCII - 188 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 713 KB .xls File

Bottom Material:
ASCII - 28 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 127 KB .xls File

Inorganic:
ASCII - 193 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 736 KB .xls File


Related Documents
Tuttle, P.L., Hoffman, R.J., Wiemeyer, S.N., and Miesner, J.F., 2000, Monitoring of Inorganic Contaminants Associated with Irrigation Drainage in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and Carson Lake, West-Central Nevada, 1994-96: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4173, 61 p.

Tuttle, P.L., Hoffman, R.J., Wiemeyer, S.N., and Miesner, J.F., 2000, Monitoring of Inorganic Contaminants Associated with Irrigation Drainage in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and Carson Lake, West-Central Nevada, 1994-96: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4173, 61 p.

Tuttle, P.L. and Thodal, C.E., 1998, Field Screening of Water Quality, Bottom Sediment, and Biota Associated with Irrigation in and Near the Indian Lakes area, Stillwater Wildlife Management area, Churchill County, West-Central Nevada, 1995: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4250, 57 p.

Tuttle, PL, Janik, C.A., and Wiemeyer, S.N., 1996, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Wetland Contaminant monitoring: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Region One, Nevada State Office, Regional Study ID: 93-1C02A, 67 p. plus appendix.

Hallock, R.J., and Hallock, L.L., eds., 1993, Detailed study of irrigation drainage in and near wildlife management areas west-central Nevada, 1987-90, Part B. Effect on biota in Stillwater and Fernley Wildlife Management areas and other nearby wetlands: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4024B, 84 p.

Lico, M.S., 1992, Detailed study of irrigation drainage in and near wildlife management areas, west-central Nevada, 1987-90, Part A. water quality, sediment composition, and hydrogeochemical processes in Stillwater and Fernley Wildlife Management Areas: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4024A, 65 p.

Rowe, T.G., Lico, MS, Hallock, R.J., Maest, A.S., Hoffman, R.J., 1991, Physical, chemical, and biological data for detailed study of irrigation drainage in and near Stillwater, Fernley, and Humboldt Wildlife Management areas and Carson Lake, west-Central Nevada, 1987-89: US Geological Survey Open-File Report 91-185, 199 p.

Dwyer, F.J., Burch, S.A., And Ingersoll, C.G., 1990, Investigations on the combined toxicity of trace elements and salinity to aquatic organisms at Stillwater Wildlife Management Area: Columbia, MO, US Fish and Wildlife Service final report, 28 p.

Hoffman, R.J., Hallock, R.J., Rowe, TG, Lico, MS, Burge, H.L., and Thompson, S. P., 1990, Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in and near Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Churchill County, Nevada, 1986-87: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4105, 150 p.

Rowe, TG, 1990, Mercury and selenium concentrations in surface water, bottom sediment, and biota, Stillwater Wildlife Management Area and vicinity, Churchill County, Nevada: (abs.) in Nevada Decision Point--Which Water Course to the Future?: Annual Conference, Nevada Water Resources Association, Las Vegas, Nev., February 1990, Program Information and Abstracts, unpaginated.

Finger, S.E., Olson, S.J., And Livingston, A.C., 1989, On-site toxicity of irrigation drainwater from Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge to aquatic organisms: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1988 progress report, 58 p.

Hoffman, R.J., 1989, Preliminary report of potentially toxic trace elements and pesticides in water, sediment, and biota in and near the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Churchill County, Nevada, 1986-87, Department of the Interior Irrigation Drainage Program: in Howard, A.Q., editors, Selenium and agricultural drainage-implications for San Francisco Bay and the California environment: Fourth Selenium Symposium, Berkeley, California, March 1987, Proceedings, p. 163-167.

Rowe, TG, 1989, Mercury and selenium concentrations in surface water, bottom sediment, and biota, Stillwater Wildlife Management Area and vicinity, Churchill County, Nevada: (abs.) In Pederson, G.L., and Smith, M.M., compilers, US Geological Survey Second National Symposium on Water Quality, Abstracts of the technical sessions, Orlando, Florida, November 16-19, 1989: US Geological Survey Open-File Report 89-409, p. 80.

Thompson, S.P., and Hallock, R.J., 1989, Preliminary biotic studies at Stillwater Wildlife Management Area: in Howard, A.Q., ed., Selenium and agricultural drainage-- Implications for San Francisco Bay and the California environment: Fourth Selenium Symposium, Berkeley, California, March 1987, Proceedings, p. 169-172

Ingersoll, C.G., Dwyer, F.J., Nelson, M.K., Burch, S.A., And Buckler, D.A., 1988, Whole effluent toxicity of agricultural irrigation water entering Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, NV--Acute toxicity studies with fish and invertebrates: Columbia, MO, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 16 p.


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