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Ecological Projects >> Walker River >> Walker River Basin Assessment

Project:  Habitat and Geomorphic Assessment of the Walker River Basin, Nevada and California

Client:  United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Date:  Project underway

Site Location:   The East and West Forks of the Walker River headwater in California’s Sierra Nevada.  The two forks join in Nevada and the Walker River terminates at Walker Lake a natural, desert lake.

Agriculture is the primary land use along both forks of the Walker River.
Agriculture is the primary land use along both forks of the Walker River.
Project Summary:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is coordinating a comprehensive, multi-agency effort to gather physical and biological information to aid in the development of a strategic plan for preservation and recovery of the Walker River System. Other agencies and groups involved include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Nevada Reno, Desert Research Institute, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Nevada Division of Conservation Districts, Nevada Department of Agriculture, and local Conservation Districts.

The Walker River Basin assessment included the following tasks:

  • Review and analysis of the hydrologic record for the tributaries and main Walker River.
  • Aerial photography and topographic mapping for the purpose of comparing existing conditions to historical conditions.
  • Assessment of sediment supply and transport through the Walker River system including sediment transport sampling throughout the basin.
  • Description and evaluation of the river basin geomorphic and geologic characteristics and processes.
  • Mapping of the existing vegetation communities and condition.
  • Completing surveys for avian, herpetological, and aquatic invertebrate abundance and richness for the purpose of assessing the condition of certain populations and collecting baseline data for future monitoring.
  • Development of a monitoring plan to detect declines or improvement in ecosystem condition.

The assessment provided an indication of ecosystem condition and provided a baseline from which changes due to future management actions could be detected.  The assessment allows the quantification of progress toward meeting goals and objectives of Walker Basin ecosystem recovery.

Project Update:
This project has been completed.

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