Nevada tribe assumes leadership role in managing Stampede water | SierraSun.com

Nevada tribe assumes leadership role in managing Stampede water

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A northern Nevada tribe has assumed a leadership role in managing the waters of a reservoir used for the purpose of maintaining and protecting two native species of fish.

The “team lead” for management of Stampede Reservoir’s waters was transferred Friday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

The move gives the tribe the top role in scheduling releases of water from the Sierra reservoir located east of Truckee.

The water is stored solely for the endangered cui-ui fish and Lahontan cutthroat trout in the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake. The lake, located 30 miles northeast of Reno, is the terminus of the river that flows eastward more than 100 miles from Lake Tahoe.

Tribal Chairman Mervin Wright Jr. could not be reached for comment.

But Bob Williams, supervisor of fish and wildlife’s Nevada office, hailed the transfer as a “significant event.”

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“We will continue working in partnership with the tribe and our interagency partners to manage Truckee River flows for the benefit of native species and the ecosystems they depend on,” Williams said in a statement.

A 1999 agreement signed by the fish and wildlife service, tribe, Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs called for the tribe to assume leadership status upon completion of a plan to protect fish in Pyramid Lake.

The cui-ui, a native sucker fish that has been on the federal endangered species list for more than 30 years, now is spawning in the Truckee River.

The fish and wildlife service for years aided the cui-ui’s spring spawning run with a massive flush of water released from Stampede.

In 2002, the agency turned to a new strategy designed to more closely mirror the river’s natural flow, making measured releases of water over the course of the year.

The Lahontan cutthroat trout was once common east of the Sierra, but it vanished from the Truckee River watershed in the 1940s because of overfishing, water diversions for agriculture and the introduction of non-native fish.

The tribe is working with the federal and state governments on plans to restore the cutthroat ” Nevada’s state fish ” to the Truckee River.