Truckee River Chronology


Part III--Twentieth Century

1900 The annual Irrigation Congress of western states met in Chicago, Illinois. This was the first time that such a meeting was held outside of a western state and represented a lobbying effort by westerners to win over Mid-West agricultural interests which, along with Eastern agricultural interests, had effectively blocked reclamation appropriations in Congress. Due to an illness in the designated key-note speaker (Spanish-American war hero General Nelson A. Miles), U.S. Congressman Francis G. Newlands(1) of Nevada gave a speech which symbolized his entry into national prominence within the reclamation movement.(2)

1900(July 21) As printed in the Lyon County Times (Dayton, Nevada): "It is said that the refuse that goes into the Truckee River from the Floriston paper mill is killing thousands of trout in that stream." Expressing similar concerns, from the Tuscarora Times-Review: "The poisonous refuse from the Floriston paper mill [Floriston Pulp and Paper Company (FP&PC)] above Reno is said to be killing fish in the Truckee. The attention of the California Fish Commissioners will be brought to the matter."(3)

1900 As a result of renewed California interest in a Lake Tahoe water supply, an inspection party from the City of San Francisco visited Lake Tahoe. Based on strong opposition from Nevadans and the formidable engineering requirements of such a project, the party concluded that a more accessible water supply could be obtained from the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.(4)

1901 Dr. James Edward Church, Professor of Classics at the University of Nevada, Reno, and an enthusiastic outdoors man, first began studies and measurements of snowpack water content on Mr. Rose's summit (10,778 feet MSL) near Reno, Nevada, and thereby pioneered the science of snow surveying. His research showed that figures indicating the water content of snow over a wide melting area could be used to forecast with considerable accuracy the likelihood and degree of flood or drought in the drainage area below during the following season of runoff. Dr. Church formulated a simple mathematical expression, which he called the "Percentage Method," involving water content measurements taken over a snow course annually on April 1st and weighted for both soil moisture on that date and precipitation on the snowfield during the period of melting. While new techniques and more modern equipment have been implemented since that time, the fundamental relationships developed by this imaginative scientist remain accepted to this day.(5)

1901 Upon the assassination of President William McKinley in September 1901, Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States (1901-1909) and ushered in a new era of Populism, a democratic movement supporting "the greatest good for the greatest number" and, among other things, public ownership of utilities, an income tax, and support of labor and agriculture. On behalf of the western states, Roosevelt committed himself to the stalled reclamation movement and applied the powers of his office to charm, plead, or coerce eastern Republican legislators into support for, or at least the tolerance of, a national reclamation act which challenged the vested interests of eastern and mid-western agriculturalists.(6) From these initial efforts came some of the most significant spending programs for water projects and dam building in the history of the United States.

1902(June 17) Congress passed the National Reclamation Act, which created the U.S. Reclamation Service (USRS), which was renamed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) in 1923, as a separate entity within the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDI), apart from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This act committed the federal government to construct irrigation projects in the West and reclaim arid lands for cultivation and settlement. The Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project, located in the lower Carson River Basin in Churchill County, Nevada, became the first reclamation irrigation project completed under this act.(7) In 1919 it would be renamed the Newlands Project in honor of one of the bill's sponsors, Nevada's U.S. Senator Francis G. Newlands.

1902 By one source, the U.S. Reclamation Service and others had initially estimated the irrigation of up to 500,000 acres of farmland in Churchill County associated with the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project.(8) As the project progressed, however, the initial figures would be reduced successively from as much as 450,000-500,000 acres of potential irrigable land (1889), to 232,800 acres in 1902, to 210,000 acres in 1904, to 172,000 acres in 1910, to 97,400 acres in 1925, and finally, in 1926, to 73,301 acres. Much later, in 1985, the USRS's successor, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, estimated that 63,100 acres were actually being irrigated, of which 57,518 acres had legal project water rights.(9) Needless to say, many figures and much confusion surrounded this project's early development potential. Initially, it was not so much the amount of land that could be irrigated as it was the amount of water available for irrigation that so dramatically altered these estimates over time. After irrigation had actually begun, it was also found that much of the project farmlands were highly alkaline and subject to extensive waterlogging.(10)

1902(June) Immediately following the passage of the National Reclamation Act, the U.S. Reclamation Service opened negotiations for the purchase of the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, California, from the Donner Boom and Logging Company. Unknown to the government, the downstream power companies had also entered into negotiations for the purchase of this structure.(11)

1902(August 20) While several noted individuals claimed sponsorship of the National Reclamation Act of 1902, President Roosevelt had his own views on the matter. In a letter to a Mr. Charles Fletcher Lummis of the magazine Out West, President Roosevelt wrote: "One word confidentially. I do not like your paper to be used to boom [Congressman Francis G.] Newlands, as in your last piece about irrigation. The bill is not the Newlands' bill at all. He had for instance, far less to do with preparing it than Senator [William] Stewart of Nevada, or Congressman Mondell of Wyoming; and I consulted him far less than I did Senator Gibson of Montana and especially Senator Warren of Wyoming."(12)

1902(September) In a complicated series of real estate transactions, for a purchase price of $40,000, the Truckee River General Electric Company (predecessor of the present-day Sierra Pacific Power Company of Reno, Nevada) obtained title to the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, California, and a surrounding 54 acres of land.(13) This acquisition would allow the power company to effectively control the flow of the Truckee River.

1902 The Washoe Power Dam was constructed on the Truckee River immediately upstream of the diversion point for the Highland Ditch (constructed in 1875) to divert water into the Washoe Power Canal on the south side of the river. Later, in 1954, this dam would be used to divert waters to the Highland Ditch by means of a 54-inch steel siphon.(14)

1902(October) Only months before selecting the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project as one of the first projects to be funded under the National Reclamation Act of 1902, the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey alerted the U.S. Secretary of the Interior that serious complications could arise without the availability of the waters of Lake Tahoe for any consequent irrigation project. According to the USGS Director, "Without control of the Lake Tahoe dam very little can be done, but with it at least 100,000 acres can be put under irrigation."(15)

1903(February 16) The Nevada Legislature passed the Irrigation Law of 1903 which, among other things, created the Office of the State Engineer to solve water problems, to protect existing water rights, to bring about a better method to utilize the state's water resources, and was the first step made by the state in providing a speedy and inexpensive method of adjudicating existing (vested) water rights.(16) According to this act, "All natural water courses and natural lakes, and the waters thereof which are not held in private ownership, belong to the public, and are subject to appropriation for a beneficial use..." Notably absent from this legislation was any provision to control new appropriations for water as well as wording as to the appropriation of underground water.(17) This act also provided for the cooperation of the State of Nevada with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the construction and administration of irrigation works for the reclamation of arid lands in the state under the recently passed Reclamation Act of 1902. State Engineer offices in Western states were an essential corollary to the Reclamation Act. Implied in the Reclamation Act was the primacy of the U.S. Department of the Interior and its U.S. Reclamation Service over water development projects. In fact, with respect to water, individual state sovereignty was so limited that candidates to the office of State Engineer had to be approved by the USDI before appointment by the governor.(18)

1903(March 14) The U.S. Secretary of the Interior authorized the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project on reclamation land in Churchill County, Nevada, near the City of Fallon. Originally, it was believed that some 450,000-500,000 acres could be brought under cultivation by the combined flows of the Truckee and Carson Rivers. This figure was reduced successively to approximately 73,000 acres when it was found, after much legal controversy, that the full use of the waters of Lake Tahoe would not be available.(19)

1903(April) The U.S. Reclamation Service, requiring water for its Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project facilities located in Churchill County, Nevada, rejected an offer to purchase the Lake Tahoe Dam for $100,000 and decided to condemn the structure and obtain rights to water flowing into and stored in Lake Tahoe by action through the federal courts.(20) However, without control of the dam at Tahoe City, which was owned and operated by the Truckee River General Electric Company, reliability of the irrigation project's water supply was uncertain. At this time four industrial users of water power had built plants on the river: (1) Floriston Pulp and Paper Company; (2) Truckee River General Electric Company; (3) Washoe Power and Development Company; and (4) Reno Power, Light and Water Company. All these water users held superior priorities (prior appropriations) to the river which had to be satisfied before the USRS could begin to store irrigation water in Lake Tahoe for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project. At one point, a frustrated USRS Director Newell told U.S. Senator Francis G. Newlands that, had he known of the difficulties in turning Lake Tahoe into a reservoir, this project never would have been authorized.(21)

1903 By executive order, President Theodore Roosevelt established the first federal wildlife refuge on Pelican Island in the Indian River in Florida. This action was intended to protect resident Brown Pelicans and would eventually lead to the Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929, which provided the authority for purchasing land for refuges for migratory birds, and to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, which authorized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to acquire land for refuges for all kinds of wildlife.(22) Based on this precedent, Anaho Island, located in Pyramid Lake and wholly within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, would set apart as a preserve and breeding ground for White Pelicans and other colony-nesting water birds in September 1913.(23)

1903(October 2) After being authorized for construction on March 14, 1903 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior E.A. Hitchcock, Charles A. Warren & Company of San Francisco began work on the construction of the Truckee-Carson Diversion Dam (Derby Dam) located on the lower Truckee River approximately 11 miles above Wadsworth, Nevada, in Washoe County. The dam is part of the Newlands Project in the Lahontan Valley and was intended to divert Truckee River waters for irrigation uses. The dam was completed on May 20, 1905 and operational water diversions began in 1906. Subsequently named Derby Dam, it took its name from a nearby Southern Pacific Railroad station of the day.(24)

1904(April) The town of Harriman, renamed Sparks in 1905 by the State Legislature in honor of John Sparks, rancher and Governor of the State of Nevada, came into existence. The area was initially developed in 1903 as a new division point on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Engaged in straightening and realigning the old Central Pacific tracks across Nevada, the Southern Pacific Company moved its shops, headquarters, and even the homes of its employees from Wadsworth, Nevada, to this location. During the era of steam locomotives, Sparks boasted one of the largest roundhouses in the world and served as the western Nevada base for a vast stable of steam locomotives, particularly the famous cab-in-front articulated type (Mallets), huge steamers which hauled both freight and passengers over the steep grades of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Roseville, California, and Sparks, Nevada.(25)

1904 The Fleish hydroelectric power plant, located approximately one mile downstream from the California-Nevada border, was constructed along the Truckee River with a capacity of 327 cubic feet per second and an electrical capacity of 2.5 megawatts.(26)

1904(July) Unable to come to an agreement on the purchase of the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, the U.S. Reclamation Service optioned sixty-three acres immediately below the existing dam site and planned to construct their own works that would effectively control the river.(27)

1904 The Reno Power, Light and Water Company purchased the facilities of the Hunter Creek Water Company. Subsequently, the Hunter Creek Ditch, originally constructed in 1863, was enlarged and the Hunter Creek Reservoir was constructed. Hunter Creek enters the Truckee River in the Truckee Meadows above the old Mayberry Drive bridge location. The Hunter Creek water treatment facility would later be supplemented with Truckee River water via the Steamboat Canal (Ditch). Eventually, this facility attained a water treatment capacity of 15 million gallons per day (mgd).(28)

1905(February 2) As part of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project (Newlands Project), construction of the Truckee Canal (begun in 1903), which linked the Truckee and Carson rivers, was completed in this year,(29) although certain structural members (a discharge chute for permitting the discharge of its waters into the Carson River) had not yet been finished.

1905(March 1) The Nevada Legislature amended the Irrigation Law of 1903 to require that any person desiring to appropriate water file an application with the State Engineer for a permit. The application form was to contain information as to the source of water, location of proposed works, amount of water needed, purpose for which the water was to be used, and other information. If the State Engineer found that there existed unappropriated water, he could grant a permit. Within six months following such approval the applicant was required to file a map in support of such application. Upon satisfactory proof that the application had been "perfected," the State Engineer could issue a certificate of appropriation. The act also provided a method to adjudicate existing water rights.(30)

1905 Washoe Power and Development Company (incorporated in 1902 with the construction of the Washoe Power Dam) constructed the Washoe hydroelectric power plant at Mogul(31) with a capacity of 396 cubic feet per second. Electrical capacity of this facility was rated at 2.5 megawatts.(32)

1905(June 17) The Derby Diversion Dam (originally named the Truckee River Diversion Dam), located on the lower Truckee River approximately 20 miles east of Reno, was completed and a congressional delegation, headed by U.S. Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada, opened the gates to the Truckee Canal.(33) As part of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project, this diversion structure would divert Truckee River waters into a canal, then under construction, to take the waters 32.5 miles to the Carson River. This was the first structure to be finished by the U.S. Reclamation Service for any reclamation project under the Reclamation Act of 1902.(34)

1905(June 29) Dr. James Edward Church of the University of Nevada, Reno, established one of America's first high-altitude meteorological observatories on the 10,778-foot summit of Mount Rose, located nearly 14 miles south-southeast of Reno, Nevada. At this location, Dr. Church carried out his famed snow studies from fundamental mathematical relationships first developed in 1901. In his honor, the north summit of Mt. Rose has been named "Church Peak" (approximately 10,600 feet MSL).(35)

1905(July) Based on their newly acquired (July 1904) optioned acreage below the existing Lake Tahoe Dam and their refusal to pay the asking price of $100,000 for the existing dam, the USRS began construction of a government dam at that site. The power companies along the Truckee River immediately filed an injunction and stopped the work.(36)

1905(July) The first, albeit "informal," irrigation year for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project proved to be less than a complete success. In this month the Carson River went dry and the Truckee Canal remained unfinished due to a failure of timber contractors to supply structural members for the chute discharging the canal's waters into the Carson River. Consequently, the project engineer had no water to divert onto awaiting fields.(37)

1905(October 29) Charles T. Short, Al North, and John N. Evans opened and initially operated Moana Springs, a spa fed by hot springs and located in south Reno, Nevada, at the present-day site of Moana Park. The original facility consisted of a large bath house with a pool fed by hot springs, a stately hotel, a clubhouse, baseball diamond, and picnic grounds. Eventually served by a trolley line from Reno, Moana hosted dances, rodeos, boxing matches, trapshoots, circuses and aviation exhibitions. The remaining buildings were demolished in 1957 after the City of Reno purchased Moana for development of a new recreational complex.(38)

1906(August) All parts of the Truckee Canal were completed. While most of the work had been completed in 1905, a shortage of lumber for the flume to discharge the canal's waters into the Carson River held up its operation.(39) The Truckee Canal, with a nominal flow capacity of approximately 900 cubic feet per second (cfs), or 1,785 acre-feet per day, would run 32.5 miles from the lower Truckee River to the Carson River. Later, this canal would empty into the USRS's Lahontan Reservoir (completed in 1915) located on the Carson River just above the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project farmlands. For the first time, waters from the Truckee River Basin were diverted to the Carson River Basin for use by Lahontan Valley farmers.

1907(February 26) The Nevada Legislature repealed the Irrigation Law of 1903 and provided a statutory method to determine existing water rights. The 1907 act, creating a new water law, did not differ in any essential particulars from the act of 1903, as amended in 1905.(40)

1907(March 18) Major flooding occurred along the Truckee River and within the City of Reno. River flow rates were recorded at 14,600 cubic feet per second through downtown Reno. This flood event was primarily a rain-on-snow event, although snow surveys had not yet been developed. The storm built in intensity over the period of March 16-19, 1907, with peak rains generally occurring on March 18. At Donner Summit, recorded rainfall between March 16-19 was 0.30 inches, 1.42 inches, 2.42 inches, and 2.32 inches, respectively. At Truckee, rainfall was recorded at 1.20 inches, 3.10 inches, 3.60 inches, and 0.96 inches over this same period. From available Nevada State Journal articles, it appeared that a very warm winds on March 16 and 17 preceded the heavy rainfall and the precipitation recorded in the mountains during this flood event was primarily in the form and rain, which significantly melted the existing snowpack at lower elevations.(41) (By comparison, today a flood stage would be recorded in Downtown Reno at approximately 10,000-14,000 cfs.)

1907(July 14, 15, 17, and 18) Lake Tahoe attained its highest recorded lake surface level over its entire period of record (April 1990-present): 6,231.26 feet above mean sea level (MSL). This corresponded to a lake level 8.26 feet above its natural rim (6,223 feet MSL) and 11.00 feet above its lowest lake surface level of 6,220.26 feet MSL recorded on November 30, 1992.(42)

1907 The first full year of irrigation for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project in the Lahontan Valley using waters from both the Truckee and Carson rivers proved to be unsettling to project planners. An unseasonably warm spring resulted in early floods followed by drought. Further, a temporary mining boom around the area caused many prospective farmers to choose mining over agriculture, thereby neglecting their farms. Water proved inadequate even for the 25,000 acres of pasture and cultivated fields existing at that time, a figure well below the initial estimates of a potential of some 400,000-500,000 acres which could be irrigated using the combined flow of both rivers.(43)

1908 An Eastern (U.S.) power syndicate, Stone-Webster and Company, acquired an option to purchase the assets of the Truckee River General Electric Company and continued its negotiations with the USRS relative to assuring a constant flow of water for the power company's hydroelectric power's along the Truckee River and for the federal government's water deliveries to the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project in Churchill County, Nevada.(44) The sale price for the Lake Tahoe Dam had been reduced from $100,000 to $50,000, a figure that the U.S. Reclamation Service still considered as excessive.(45)

1908 The U.S. Supreme Court issued its precedent-setting Winters Rights Decision (Winters v. United States) in which the Court prohibited any water uses by non-Indians that interfered with Indian tribes' use of their "reserved water." The Court held that when reservations were established, the United States implicitly reserved, along with the land, sufficient water to fulfill the purposes of the reservations. The Court also recognized these rights as having a priority date coinciding with the date the reservation was established, thus providing a means to integrate federally "reserved water rights" with "appropriative water rights" recognized under state law.(46) Under this doctrine, the priority date of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe's claim to water of the Truckee River was established as November 29, 1859, the effective date of withdrawal of lands for the reservation. This later provided the Tribe with the senior most claims to the Truckee River's waters under the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree (Claims 1 and 2).(47)

1908 The "Floriston rates" were first established in an agreement among the Truckee River General Electric Company, the Floriston Land and Power Company, and the Floriston Pulp and Paper Company.(48) The Floriston rates required that there be a mean flow of water in the Truckee River near Floriston, California, of 500 cfs during the period from March 1 to September 30, inclusive, and 400 cfs between October 1 and the last day of February. The agreement required that if there existed insufficient flow from the remaining portion of the Truckee River System to meet these rates, then water would be released, if possible, from Lake Tahoe to maintain the specified rates of flow.

1908(July) The Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project could no longer meet its irrigation needs from existing river flows. The U.S. Reclamation Service recognized that upstream Carson River water users in Carson Valley, and upstream Truckee River users in the Truckee Meadows, had first access to the waters of these rivers, leaving uncertain supplies for the Lahontan Valley farmers downstream.(49)

1908(December) Attempting to obtain firm water supplies for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project, U.S. Reclamation Service representatives met with the Nevada State Engineer and requested that he adjudicate Truckee River water rights within Nevada.(50)

1909(January) Based on water rights issues existing in the Lake Tahoe Basin and within the Truckee Meadows, the Nevada State Engineer advised the U.S. Reclamation Service to abandon its plans for stable water supplies from Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River and immediately consider the construction of a reservoir (later to become Lahontan Reservoir) on the lower Carson River as a means to establish a dedicated water supply for Lahontan Valley farmers.(51)

1909(February 24) The U.S. Reclamation Service began condemnation action to acquire ownership of the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City through United States v. Floriston Pulp and Paper Company, et al.(52) Without control of this facility, reliable flows for diversion at Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River into the Truckee Canal for eventual use on the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project farmlands could not be guaranteed. Under the threat of a condemnation suit, Stone-Webster and Company, which had recently purchased the Truckee River General Electric Company and was therefore the new owner of the Lake Tahoe Dam, entered into negotiations with the U.S. Department of the Interior. However, a final agreement would not be reached until June 4, 1915.(53)

1909 The Verdi hydroelectric power plant was constructed with a capacity of 399 cfs and a generating capacity rated at 2.5 megawatts.(54) The diversion point for the canal and flume taking water from the Truckee River would be located approximately one-half mile downstream from the Fleish power plant.

1909 Another tunnel scheme was developed for the Lake Tahoe Basin (see entries under 1860s and 1899 dates), this one to take water from Lake Tahoe through a power plant to a large reservoir to be constructed at Washoe Lake in Nevada. As this lake flows into Steamboat Creek, which eventually empties into the Truckee River below the City of Reno, it was presumably intended that the water would be available to sell to Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project farmers in the lower Carson River Basin, thereby effectively circumventing the problems concerning the right to the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City.(55) The plan eventually was abandoned due to severe opposition by lakeshore property owners and the State of California.

1910(September) Due to unreliable and insufficient water supplies, the U.S. Reclamation Service no longer accepted applications for homestead rights within the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project.(56)

1910(Late September) A Board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected the proposed Lahontan dam site and approved the feasibility of a reservoir on the lower Carson River intended to provide a more stable source of water for Lahontan Valley farmers.(57)

1911 Dr. James Edward Church of the University of Nevada, Reno developed the present-day technique of determining the water content of snow. His methodology was first applied to the Lake Tahoe Basin and thereby made possible the accurate prediction and eventual control of the seasonal adjustment in lake, reservoir, and river levels.(58)

1911(July 1) Pyramid Lake's surface water level was recorded at 3,870.0 feet above mean sea level (MSL). This measurement was taken approximately six years after diversions began on the lower Truckee River at Derby Dam. By February 6, and March 6, 1967, Pyramid Lake's surface elevation would reach its nadir (lowest point) at 3,783.9 feet MSL, a decline of 86.1 feet over a period of 56 years.(59)

1912 As late as this year, it was reported that Fred M. Crosby, a commercial fisherman operating at Sutcliffe, located near Pyramid Lake, was shipping 10-15 tons of Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout each week. The trout were caught by Crosby's 40-50 Indian fishermen and sold in Tonopah, Goldfield, Manhattan, Rhyolite, and other mining towns and cities of Nevada.(60)

1912(April) During the driest year of the new century, with snowpack measurements at less than 25 percent of average, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project Manager alerted homesteaders in the Lahontan Valley of the pending drought crisis and asked that they avoid late-maturing crops, such as melons. Many farmers began to feel that the Truckee River General Electric Company was intentionally withholding Lake Tahoe water and therefore favored a more direct means of opening the Lake Tahoe Dam and gaining access to the waters of Lake Tahoe.(61)

1912(Spring) Due to severe drought conditions throughout Northern Nevada, the U.S. Reclamation Service was forced to close the downstream gates to Derby Dam, thereby diverting the entire flow of the Truckee River into the Truckee Canal for Lahontan Valley farmers. The Truckee River stream bed below Derby Dam for two miles was reported to be clogged with dead and dying trout, unable to find any means to move upstream.(62)

1912 The Southern Pacific Railroad began construction of a branch line from Fernley, Nevada, to Westwood, California, along the west side of Pyramid Lake. Completed in 1914 with the primary intention of carrying lumber, the railroad line, known as the Fernley and Lassen Railway, ceased operations in 1970 when the mills ran out of timber. Eventually, all rails and ties were removed by the railroad, although at first the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe attempted to claim them as fixtures of tribal property. Today, only the barren roadbed remains.(63)

1912(September) As a consequence of the severe drought affecting the area, the Truckee River General Electric Company and the U.S. Reclamation Service directed a party of workers to go to Lake Tahoe in order to dredge the river channel at Tahoe City and cut down the lake's rim so more water could be released. This attempted action was blocked by lakeshore property owners through a court injunction.(64)

1913(January 23) Distrusting the intentions of both the U.S. Reclamation Service and Truckee River General Electric Company, a group of prominent Lake Tahoe property owners filed articles of incorporation forming the Lake Tahoe Protection Association. This organization, which had existed informally for several years, was the first environmental group created specifically to preserve the lake's beauty. Primary objectives included the prevention of any serious lowering of the lake's level, protection of fish and wildlife in the basin, fire prevention, protection against sewage pollution, improved navigation safety, and better roads and trails.(65)

1913 Based on a growing threat of litigation and mutual suspicion, the California Conservation Commission issued a statement that the waters of Lake Tahoe were too valuable to permit their unlimited diversion to any other state. It therefore recommended that the State of California bring suit before the U.S. Supreme Court against the State of Nevada to insure a just and equitable apportionment.(66) This issue was effectively resolved through the 1935 Truckee River Agreement, which established conditions under which waters could be taken from Lake Tahoe when it fell below its natural rim,(67) and later in 1970-1971 with the signing of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, which allocated Lake Tahoe's waters and apportioned the waters of the Truckee River between the two states. While this compact has not been approved by Congress, it has been enacted and enforced through individual state legislative action.(68)

1913(March 22) The Nevada Legislature repealed the water law of 1907 and its amendments and approved the so-called "1913 General Water Law," which became the foundation of the state's present water law. For the first time underground water was included under provisions of the state's "doctrine of prior appropriation" for water rights. Section 1 of this act provided that "The water of all sources of water supply within the boundaries of the State, whether above or beneath the surface of the ground, belongs to the public." Section 2 provided that "Subject to existing rights, all such water may be appropriated for beneficial use as provided in this Act and not otherwise."(69)

1913(March 30) Litigation between the U.S. Reclamation Service and virtually all Nevada upstream water users on the Truckee River began (United States v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al.).(70) The suit was brought by the USRS in order to quantify and clarify (adjudicate) the water rights of upstream users in Nevada and thereby secure and protect future water rights of Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project farmers. At first it was expected that as a "friendly suit," litigation and resolution of these rights would be brief;(71) however, as it happened, it would take more than 30 years to ultimately resolve and delineate upstream water rights, culminating in the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree.

1913 Claiming that the fish ladder at Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River was inadequate and that the spawning Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout would merely die crowded below the dam, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indians undertook to harvest the entire winter and spring fish run on the reservation, stretching nets across the river near the reservation headquarters and thereby trapping the fish.(72)

1913 The old rock-filled timber crib dam at Tahoe City, California, originally constructed by the Donner Lumber and Boom Company in 1870, was replaced by the Truckee River General Electric Company and the U.S. Reclamation Service with a concrete slab and buttress structure with 17 vertical gates. The new Lake Tahoe Dam was actually located 400 feet downstream from the lake's natural rim, which is considered to be the point of hydraulic control under low water conditions and has been established at 6,223.0 feet above mean sea level (MSL). Through later agreement (1935 Truckee River Agreement), water would be stored in the top 6.1 feet (established at between 6,223.0 MSL to 6,229.1 MSL), thereby creating a storage capacity of approximately 744,600 acre-feet.(73)

1913 (September 4) By Executive Order of President Woodrow Wilson, Anaho Island, located in Pyramid Lake and wholly within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, was set apart as a preserve and breeding ground for White Pelicans and other colony-nesting water birds.(74) The continued lowering of lake levels has threatened to bridge the island to the mainland, destroying its isolation. This area, now known as the Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), presently covers approximately 750 acres.(75)

1913 The Idlewild municipal water plant was first utilized for emergency domestic water needs of Reno, Nevada. During such conditions, water was pumped from a forebay serving the old Reno Hydroelectric Power Plant to the intake of the Idlewild water treatment plant. The facility eventually attained a treatment capacity of 17 million gallons per day.(76)

1915 Lahontan Dam and Reservoir on the lower Carson River was completed creating a maximum storage capacity of approximately 294,000 acre-feet (317,000 acre-feet with flashboards installed) for waters of the Carson River and waters diverted through the 32.5-mile long Truckee Canal from Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River.(77) This gave the USRS a far more reliable supply of water for the farms within the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project. A power plant, with a generating capacity of 1.92 megawatts, was installed at Lahontan Dam as part of the initial project facilities. The Truckee Carson Irrigation District (TCID), organized in 1918, subsequently constructed its own small power plant on the V-Canal, downstream of the Carson River Diversion Dam, to take advantage of a 26-foot drop in canal elevation. These powerplants provided the first electricity to the rural area around Fallon, Nevada. Over time, the operation of these power plants, particularly with respect to Truckee River waters diverted for non-agriculture use, created considerable controversy and would be terminated with the 1967 Newlands Project Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP).(78)

1915(July 1) Based on a judgement and consent decree effected on June 4, 1915 in federal court between the U.S. Reclamation Service and the Truckee River General Electric Company (U.S. v. Truckee River General Electric Company, formerly U.S. v. Floriston Pulp and Paper Company, et al.), the United States assumed control of the Lake Tahoe Dam. For a consideration of $139,500, the federal government was given the right to control the dam and 14 acres of adjoining property at the outlet of the lake. No change of title occurred. Four of the anticipated six feet of storage (later established at 6.1 feet) in Lake Tahoe (above 6,223.0 feet MSL) were designated as power water, while all water rights not appropriated by the power company were allocated to the federal government. This Truckee River General Electric Decree effectively granted the USRS an easement to operate the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, which it had sought since the inception of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project. For its part, the USRS was forced to pay half of the cost of building the new dam at Tahoe City, and it was also required to provide certain year-round flow rates (known as the "Floriston rates") to support hydropower generation along the Truckee River.(79) [See Part I, "Truckee River Operating Requirements and Procedures," for a complete listing of these rates.]

1915 The road between Wadsworth, Nevada, and Donner Summit in California above Donner Lake, became a part of the Lincoln Highway in conjunction with the San Francisco Exposition. This early route followed the Truckee River for much of its course from Wadsworth to Verdi, where it then veered off through Dog Valley, returning to the Truckee River corridor at Boca.(80) This placed much of the Truckee River corridor, as well as the town of Truckee, California, and the city of Reno, Nevada, on the nation's first coast-to-coast highway and dramatically reduced transportation time, allowing road transport to begin to effectively compete with rail transport. Later, much of this route would be followed by U.S. Highway 40 and eventually by the Interstate 80 highway system.

1916 It was reported that Fred M. Crosby, a commercial fisherman operating at Sutcliffe, located near Pyramid Lake, that an Indian fisherman caught a Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout weighing in at 62 pounds. This was the largest reported catch of such a fish in the Truckee River system. The largest recorded catch, at 41.5 pounds, was made by a Paiute Indian, Johnny Skimmerhorn, in 1925.(81)

1918 The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID) was formed to take over management of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project and to more vigorously pursue persistent irrigation and drainage problems on behalf of the Lahontan Valley farmers.

1919 The Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project was officially renamed the Newlands (Irrigation) Project in honor of U.S. Senator Francis G. Newlands (Nevada) and his sponsorship of the 1902 National Reclamation Act, which ultimately brought this project to Nevada.

1919 The Nevada Legislature passed a law banning water meters in Nevada cities having a population of more than 10,000 persons.(82)

1919(August 9) Based upon a request by the U.S. Reclamation Service that Lake Tahoe shoreline property owners sign quitclaims that would release the federal government from legal penalties for any property damage resulting from the use of the lake as a storage reservoir, alarmed Californians met in a "mass meeting" at Lake Tahoe to discuss the situation and plan a strategy. Representatives appeared from various state and local government agencies, including the office of California's attorney general, local business groups, automobile associations, chambers of commerce, and environmental groups, including the Lake Tahoe Protection Association and the Sierra Club.(83)

1919(August) Judge Edward Silsby Farrington of the U.S. District Court of Nevada, who was hearing testimony on the litigation filed in March 1913 between the United States and upstream Truckee River water users in Nevada (U.S. v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al.), appointed George Frederick Talbot as a Special Master to resolve the issue pertaining to the adjudication of Truckee River water rights within Nevada.(84)

1920 In this year, the road through the lower Truckee River canyon between Wadsworth and Reno, Nevada, and the upper Truckee River canyon between Reno, Nevada, and Truckee, California, which had been known as the Lincoln Highway became part of the Victory Highway. In 1925, when federal highway names were replaced by a numerical system, the Victory Highway became U.S. Highway 40. Then in 1958, after reconstruction, this route became the initial section of Interstate 80 stretching across eastern California and western Nevada.(85)

1920 Colonel E.E. Winslow of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted an investigation into the controversy surrounding the use of the waters of Lake Tahoe. His findings placed much of the blame on poor communications by the U.S. Reclamation Service and on its concessions to the interests of Truckee River General Electric Company (Stone-Webster). He specifically opposed any attempt to cut down the natural rim of the lake and even suggested that California revive a 1912 suit against the power company to test its claim to water from Lake Tahoe. Ultimately, Winslow approved of the USRS's regulation of the lake level within its 6-foot storage range, particularly to provide Nevada farmers with water when they needed it most.(86)

1920(September) In response to the 1913 suit filed by the U.S. Reclamation Service (U.S. v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al.) to adjudicate Nevada water rights for the Truckee River, the Truckee Meadows Water Users Association was formed. This association consisted of large land owners and other water users in the Truckee Meadows and was organized specifically to protect their interests from the downstream Newlands Project water claimants.(87) It was becoming apparent that the brief and "friendly" suit envisioned in 1913 by the USRS was rapidly developing into something much more contentious and litigious.

1922(1922-1928) The wholesale and ultimate demise of the cutthroat trout in Lake Tahoe took place over this period. While it was believed that the introduction of the Mackinaw (lake) trout species in 1885 contributed to the decline of this species, realistically, the Mackinaw is a deep lake feeder and the two species were probably not in close contact. More to the point, others believe that had the cutthroat trout's spawning streams at Lake Tahoe been better managed (the Mackinaw is a bottom spawner), this species would have "held its own." There was also some speculation that the cutthroat trout's ultimate demise was caused by an epizoötic carried by the Mackinaw (lake) trout species.(88)

1923 The U.S. Reclamation Service (USRS) was officially renamed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

1924(July) The Special Master appointed in 1919 by the U.S. District Court of Nevada in the 1913 suit U.S. v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al., issued a report and proposed decree. The report awarded the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation an 1859 priority date on the Truckee River for a flow of 58.7 cfs and 12,412 acre-feet annually to irrigate 3,130 acres of reservation lands. The Newlands Project was awarded a 1902 priority date for a 1,500 cfs flow to irrigate, to the extent the amount would allow,(89) 232,800 acres of land within the project.(90)

1924 Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim of 6,223.0 feet MSL. Based on their expectation of not receiving promised water, the Newlands Project farmers threatened Lake Tahoe shoreline property owners with potential crop damage suits. The farmers were successful in persuading Lake Tahoe property owners to allow the lake to be pumped when it fell below its natural rim. Approximately 34,000 acre-feet were pumped from Lake Tahoe during this year.(91)

1925 The largest recorded Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout, weighing in at forty-one and one-half (41.5) pounds, was caught in Pyramid Lake by Johnny Skimmerhorn, a Paiute Indian.(92) This strain (sub-species) of Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) developed to a maximum length of about four feet and a maximum weight of well over 40 pounds. It is believed that much larger ones were taken from the lake and lower reaches of the Truckee River in preceding years (see 1916 entry) before anyone made particular note of such matters.(93)

1926(February) The U.S. District Court in Reno issued a temporary ruling (the "Talbot Decree") that divided the Truckee River among its various users, which included Newlands Irrigation Project farmers, and appointed a Federal Water Master (Harry C. Dukes) to oversee the proper use of water along the Truckee River.(94) The Talbot Decree did not, however, set aside any water for Pyramid Lake specifically. This ruling was eventually replaced in 1944 by a final court order, called the Orr Ditch Decree, which provided the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe senior appropriative water rights (Claims 1 and 2) of 30,000 acre-feet of Truckee River water for the irrigation of 3,130 acres of reservation bottom lands and 2,745 acres of reservation bench lands.(95)

1926(December 31) Through the negotiation of a written contract, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation turned over the management of the Newlands Project to the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District. TCID would now operate all facets of the project, to include, in addition to laterals, canals, and distribution systems within the project, the Lake Tahoe Dam at the lake's outlet into the Truckee River, Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River, the Truckee Canal, Lahontan Dam and Lahontan Reservoir on the Carson River, and below that, the Carson River Diversion Dam which diverts waters into the principal "T" and "V" canals. Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam would flow into Lahontan Reservoir via the 32.5 mile long Truckee Canal. Total annual Newlands Project water diversions from both the Carson and Truckee Rivers were set at 406,000 acre-feet(96) for the irrigation of, and not to exceed, 74,500 acres of land.(97)

1927(1927-1969) Beginning in this year, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District took over the operation of the Newlands Project from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by means of a formal contract . From time to time during this period, TCID permitted the project farmers to use project waters for irrigation of lands not described in their contracts in preference to irrigation of lands described in the contracts where it had become impractical to use water beneficially or economically. In permitting these informal transfers of water rights, it was believed that Nevada's water laws did not apply to project [federal] water rights and the federal government had no procedures for formal authorization of these transfers.(98) While seemingly innocuous at the time, these actions would eventually have important implications on the concept of the water rights "appurtenant to the land," as specified in the 1980 Alpine Decree, the potential for increasing the project's consumptive use when such transfers were permitted between bottom lands (water duty of 3.5 acre-feet per acre per year) and bench lands (water duty of 4.5 acre-feet per acre per year), the applicability of Nevada Water Law and the concepts of perfection, abandonment, and forfeiture,(99) and efforts by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe to invalidate some of these transfers which they claimed had been abandoned before transfers were made, hence invalidating the Nevada State Engineer's subsequent approval of changes in place of use. In 1983, the U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, would find that such transfers came under Nevada water law and should have been approved either by the State Engineer or the Federal Watermaster. This, in turn, would begin a series of litigations pertaining to the status of these water rights (abandoned or forfeited) before the transfers took place.(100)

1928 The Truckee River Basin experienced the beginning of a severe drought which lasted from 1928 through 1935 (eight years). Due to its severity, this period of time (and particularly the year 1931) established WaterPlanning criteria for the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area and would not be exceeded in drought severity until the most recent drought period which began in 1987 and lasted through 1994.(101) Interestingly, both of these severe drought periods had essentially the same duration.

1929 The present-day dam at Donner Lake was completed. Total storage capacity of this lake was established at 9,500 acre-feet, between 5,924 feet MSL and 5,935.8 feet MSL.(102)

1929 Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim and by prior agreement approximately 33,960 acre-feet were pumped from the lake in this year.(103)

1929 This period marked the beginning of a period of intense study of the Truckee River and the Truckee River Basin and several reports were issued on river storage and operations. These studies comprised an important part of the Truckee River's operating criteria which were later incorporated into the 1935 Truckee River Agreement.

1929(June) The Washoe County Water Conservation District (WCWCD) was formed to seek ways of developing a supplemental irrigation water supply for the Truckee Meadows.(104) The District originally covered 29,000 acres of farmland in the Truckee Meadows, with small acreage near Lagomarsino Canyon and in Spanish Springs Valley to the north.

1929 The federal Migratory Bird Conservation Act was passed which provided the authority for purchasing land and establishing federal refuges for migratory birds.(105)

1930 Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim again (see 1929 entry) and approximately 25,080 acre-feet were pumped from the lake during this year.(106)

1930 Due to the intensifying drought conditions in the Truckee River and Carson River basins, a group of Nevada "water interests" sent a steam shovel, accompanied by a Reno police force guard, to the power company's property adjacent to the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, California, to start digging a diversion trench to the rim. It was suspected that they would also try to dynamite the dam itself. Ultimately, a court injunction was obtained by the Lake Tahoe property owners against the power company, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, and others to halt the digging, and the trench was subsequently backfilled.(107)

1930 Sierra Pacific Power Company (SPPCo), formerly the Truckee River General Electric Company and subsequently incorporated in Maine in 1928 and in Nevada in 1965, began to install 400 test water meters in Reno and Sparks, Nevada, in anticipation of applying for permission from the Nevada Public Service Commission to retrofit all homes in their service area with water meters. The City of Reno ordered SPPCo to stop its installation program and to remove those meters which had been installed. SPPCo filed suit against the city's order in federal court.(108)

1930(August 23)(109) Truckee-Carson Irrigation District filed application permit number 9322 with the State Engineer for 100,000 acre-feet (10,000 cfs) for the appropriation of water from the Carson River and its tributaries to be stored in Lahontan Reservoir and to be used for irrigation and domestic purposes on 150,000 acres in Lahontan Valley. TCID intended to raise the control level of Lahontan Dam by eight feet, thereby increasing the storage capacity by 100,000 acre-feet to 394,000 acre-feet total. One protest was filed against this application and no subsequent hearings were ever held.(110)

1930(September 9)(111) Truckee-Carson Irrigation District filed application permit number 9330 with the State Engineer for 100,000 acre-feet (1,500 cfs) for the appropriation of water from the Truckee River and its tributaries to be stored in Lahontan Reservoir and to be used for irrigation and domestic purposes on 150,000 acres in Lahontan Valley. TCID intended to raise the control level of Lahontan Dam by eight feet, thereby increasing the storage capacity by 100,000 acre-feet to 394,000 acre-feet total. No protest was filed against this application and no subsequent hearings were held until 1994, at which time the U.S. Department of the Interior refused to allow TCID to use any federal facilities to divert, convey, store, or distribute additional Truckee River waters. It was believed that both this application and that filed previously for the Carson River waters (application 9322, also for 100,000 acre-feet) were prompted by the worsening drought conditions in these basins.(112)

1931(March 19) Gaming became legal (for the last time) in Nevada and a new growth industry was born, one which would have significant effects on how and where water would be used in the State of Nevada. Some 5,000 California tourists arrived in Reno, Nevada, during the first week of legalized gambling.(113)

1931 The Truckee River's lowest annual discharge (flow volume) was recorded at 133,200 acre-feet, equivalent to an annual average rate of flow of 184 cubic feet per second, well below required Floriston rates of 400-500 cfs. [By contrast, the Truckee River's highest annual discharge was attained in 1983 at 1,769,000 acre-feet, equivalent to an annual average rate of flow of 2,443 cfs.](114)

1931 The Nevada Legislature amended its 1919 law to include the City of Sparks in the ban on water meters. New legislation also amended the law to make it clear that the water meter ban only applied to Sierra Pacific Power Company by exempting water companies owned by Nevada cities or counties.(115)

1931 The Fallon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established encompassing approximately 17,900 acres (28 square miles) where the Carson River terminates in the Carson Sink. Due to typically limited and uncertain flows of the Carson River at this terminus location, however, generally not enough water enters this area to maintain it as a viable wetlands. The area is currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) along with the Stillwater NWR (established in 1991) and is included as part of the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (established in 1948).(116)

1934(June) While giving a speech to Lake Tahoe property owners relating to the severity of the current drought and its devastating effects on Nevada's farmlands, and in the midst of making a request that the landowners around the lake sanction pumping of the lake, Nevada Acting Governor Moreley Griswold's plea for relief was interrupted for ten minutes by a sudden hailstorm.(117)

1934 Lake Tahoe fell below its natural rim again (see 1929 and 1930 entries) and approximately 24,610 acre-feet were pumped from lake in this year.(118)

1935(July 1) After the United States increased the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe's water rights to allow for the irrigation of an additional 2,745 acres of reservation land (in additional to the previous 3,130 acres), the defendants in the 1913 suit U.S. v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al., finally signed the agreement, which was formally adopted on September 8, 1944 as the Orr Ditch Decree.(119)

1935 An unpublished field report by United States Bureau of Fisheries biologist M.J. Madsen pointed out the uncertainties of keeping a viable fishery in Pyramid Lake without sufficient water inflows. This was a pessimism which others had long been expressing.(120)

1935 The United States, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, Sierra Pacific Power Company, and the Washoe County Water Conservation District entered into the Truckee River Agreement for the conservation and control of flood waters and other uses of the river and Lake Tahoe. The Truckee River Agreement also recognized Lake Tahoe's natural rim at 6,223.0 feet MSL and allowed water storage from 6,223.0 feet MSL to 6,229.1 feet MSL (the upper 6.1 feet, containing a total usable storage capacity equal to approximately 744,600 acre-feet, i.e., one inch of storage equals approximately 10,172 acre-feet). In conjunction with the Truckee Storage Project, the agreement also paved the way for additional upstream reservoir storage (i.e., the construction of Boca Dam and the creation of Boca Reservoir to be located on the Little Truckee River). In addition to incorporating the Truckee River flow requirements set by the Floriston rates (i.e., the 1915 Truckee River General Electric Decree), the Truckee River Agreement also contained language intended to settle the on-going disputes over pumping Lake Tahoe.(121) [See Part I, "Truckee River Operating Requirements and Procedures" for details of these Lake Tahoe pumping restrictions.]

1936 Recognizing its importance as a feeding and nesting area for migrating waterfowl, Winnemucca Lake, a body of shallow, marshy water nearly as long as Pyramid Lake, but only one-half as wide, and located just to the east of Pyramid Lake, was declared a National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).(122) This body of water, even before the commencement of Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam, had undergone significant fluctuations throughout its recorded history, and was frequently little more than a marsh and mud flat.(123) Even so, this wetland area, along with the Lahontan Valley wetlands to the south in Churchill County, served as crucial feeding and nesting areas on the eastern edge of the Pacific Flyway. Later this designation as a NWR would be withdrawn when it became apparent that Lake Winnemucca could not remain filled with water.(124)

1937(December 10-12) Major flooding occurred in the Truckee Meadows with Truckee River peak rate of flow recorded at 15,500 cubic feet per second through downtown Reno at 4:00 p.m. on December 11. This storm system, while of relatively short duration, was very heavy and widespread on a great many stream systems of western Nevada. The system typically produced heavy rains up to 8,000 feet MSL with snow accumulating above that level. At Soda Springs, located just on the western side of Donner Summit, accumulated precipitation in the form of rain totaled 12.83 inches, with 10.80 inches falling on just December 10 and 11. In downtown Reno, the Chestnut Street bridge over the south channel at Wingfield Park (now Arlington Avenue) was badly damaged and had to be rebuilt the following summer. Other bridges to the east (downstream), however, remained open to traffic.(125)

1937 Sierra Pacific Power Company acquired ownership of Independence Lake and Dam from the Hobart Estate Company and enlarged the lake's storage capacity to 17,500 acre-feet.(126) Of this storage amount, 3,000 acre-feet consisted of a senior storage priority and represented the capacity of the earlier reservoir.

1938 Lake Winnemucca, part of which was located within the borders of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and which was located parallel to and just east of Pyramid Lake, completely dried up due to insufficient Truckee River flows.(127) Only two years earlier, in 1936, this area had been designated as a National Wildlife Refuge, but the refuge status was abandoned in 1938 when it was realized that Lake Winnemucca would never refill.(128) Realistically, however, in a period spanning from the mid-1880's to the end of the nineteenth century, even without Truckee River water diversions at Derby Dam, this lake's condition had varied from almost dry, to a mud flat, to a marshy area, to a shallow lake. Even earlier geological evidence has suggested that the lake underwent extreme fluctuations in water levels and periodically completely dried up. In fact, some early writers of this area referred to the lake as Mud Slough and Mud Lake rather than Winnemucca Lake.(129) Even so, with periodic Truckee River water inflows during high water years, this area abounded as a natural wetland with diverse plant and animal life and represented a crucial environmental resource for the feeding and nesting of migratory waterfowl, and particularly the nesting White Pelicans from Pyramid Lake's Anaho Island, located within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. Due to the construction of a roadbed, there exists no chance of high river flows entering this area, and the former Lake Winnemucca will continue to exist as a dry, barren, unproductive lakebed. Today, at the lake's southern end where Truckee River waters once entered, isolated tufa monuments mark where this lake's waters use to be.

1939(March 25) The Underground Water Act was passed by the Nevada Legislature. Along with many subsequent amendments and additions, this act is now one of the most comprehensive groundwater laws in the western United States.(130) This act provided the mechanism for designating ground-water basins that the State Engineer determines are in need of additional administration. Such a designation usually occurs when groundwater withdrawals and applications approach the perennial yield of the basin or when pending competitive applications to appropriate water exceed the perennial yield. The State Engineer is empowered to designate preferred uses of limited water resources within any designated groundwater basin.(131) At the present time, approximately 116 of Nevada's 232 groundwater basins are so designated.(132)

1937 Boca Dam and Reservoir were completed on the Little Truckee River as part of the Truckee Storage Project to maintain Floriston rates and serve the Truckee Meadows and all Orr Ditch water users (including the Newlands Project). The Washoe County Water Conservation District (WCWCD), which had been formed in 1929, was tasked to contract with the federal government to repay the construction costs of Boca Dam and Reservoir. Total storage capacity of Boca Reservoir was 41,100 acre-feet.(133)

1940 In U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, Judge Frank Norcross upheld the constitutionality of the state ban and sided with the City of Reno and dismissed a suit filed in 1930 by Sierra Pacific Power Company to permit the installation of water meters. The City of Reno argued on aesthetic grounds that water meters would prevent residents from using sufficient water for trees, shrubbery and lawns and "result in extensive withering and death of the city's flora."(134)

1940 U.S. Highway 40 was completed between the town of Truckee, California, and the city of Reno, Nevada, and followed the Truckee River's entire channel between these communities (unlike the previous Lincoln Highway which left the Truckee River at Verdi and proceeded up through Dog Valley, returning to the Truckee River at Boca). This highway system greatly facilitated automobile traffic to the Truckee-Donner area and on to the Truckee Meadows from northern California, and marked the route that the Interstate Highway 80 would later follow.

1940's Sometime between 1938 and 1944 the Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi), a sub-species of the Lahontan cutthroat trout, became extinct.(135) In 1844 John Frémont had written about these incredibly large trout (40-60 pounds in weight and up to four feet in length were not uncommon) as being the best tasting he had ever eaten.(136) This magnificent strain of fish had abounded in the isolated waters of Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River for thousands of years since the last decline of Lake Lahontan just over 10,000 years ago. From the time of the white man's first arrival, however, it took less than one hundred years to completely decimate this once plentiful species, which had fed the native peoples of this region since their first arrival. Extinction came relatively quickly through a combination of physical impediments to upstream spawning runs, river pollution, sawdust choking the river's waters and covering the trout's spawning beds, and over-fishing during critical spawning periods by whites and Indians alike. Future generations would now be denied the inspiring sight of the passage of these magnificent creatures through downtown Reno on their way to their Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake spawning beds.

1941(1941-1945) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the New Truckee River Channel, extending from Marble Bluff to Pyramid Lake, a distance of approximately 2.5 miles. A diversion dam, believed to be completed in 1945, was also constructed at the head of this channel. The purpose of the new channel was to provide water deep for the trout to spawn. It operated until the flooding of November 1950, when the diversion dam gave way and the river returned to its original course.(137) By this time the project's intent had out-lived its usefulness as the Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout was already extinct.

1943 Donner Lake Dam was acquired from the Donner Lake Company by Sierra Pacific Power Company of Reno, Nevada, and Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, with one-half interest to each. Stored water in Donner Lake, located in Nevada County, California, is contained in the top 11.8 feet of the lake (between 5,924.0 feet MSL and 5,935.8 MSL) and amounts to approximately 9,500 acre-feet. Stored waters are privately owned by SPPCo for the municipal and industrial needs of the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, located in Washoe County, Nevada, and by TCID as a supplemental water supply for the Newlands Project in Churchill County, Nevada.(138)

1944(September 8) Based on a "friendly suit" filed on March 30, 1913 to quantify Truckee River water rights in Nevada (U.S. v. Orr Ditch Water Company, et al.), the Orr Ditch (Final) Decree was entered in U.S. District Court in Reno by Judge Frank H. Norcross adjudicating Truckee River water rights and incorporating the provisions of 1935 Truckee River Agreement (along with the Floriston rates), which provided the framework for operating the river to meet those rights. The concept of the "decree" was to establish individual water rights along the Truckee River, while the concept of the "agreement" provided a framework for "operating" the Truckee River in order to satisfy those decreed water rights. The Orr Ditch Decree granted the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe the two most senior rights (Claims 1 and 2 with a December 8, 1859 priority date) on the river. The Tribe's total diversion amount was set at 30,000 acre-feet per year for irrigation purposes on 3,130 acres of bottom land and 2,745 acres of bench land,(139) but no waters were allocated for Pyramid Lake's preservation or restoration.(140) Only second to these reservation water rights, Sierra Pacific Power Company was granted the consolidated right to 40 cubic feet per second (approximately 29,000 acre-feet per year) of Truckee River flow for municipal, industrial, and domestic purposes in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.(141) The United States, received a water right (Claim 3) with a priority date of July 2, 1902 for Truckee River diversions through the Truckee Canal not to exceed 1,500 cfs for the irrigation of 232,800 acres on Newlands Reclamation Project farmlands; modified by 1926 contract to 74,500 acres; storage in Lahontan Reservoir (capacity of approximately 294,000 acre-feet); and other multiple purposes. The project irrigation water was not to exceed (after transportation losses) 3.5 acre-feet per acre per year for bottom lands and 4.5 acre-feet per acre per year for bench lands.(142)

1945 While the name Lake Tahoe had generally become prevalent on maps and official documents, the California Legislature finally cleared up their intransigence on this issue by rescinding their act of 1870 which had applied the name "Lake Bigler" to this lake.(143) Now, by universal consensus, the lake was now "officially" Lake Tahoe.

1947 A bill was introduced in the Nevada Legislature to repeal the ban on water meters. It passed the Senate but died in Assembly committee.(144)

1948 The Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was established in Churchill County, Nevada, under a tri-party agreement among Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). Initially, approximately 224,000 acres (350 square miles) were included to protect wildlife and preserve wildlife habitat in the lower Carson River Basin. In 1960, the management was changed to a two-party agreement between USFWS and NDOW and in 1991 some 77,500 acres (121 square miles) were withdrawn from this area for the establishment of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, Stillwater WMA consists of some 146,500 acres (229 square miles) of land.(145) To a considerable extent, this area relies on drain waters from the Newlands Project which, in turn, relies on waters diverted from the Truckee River Basin.

1948 Raw sewage was discovered to be running into Lake Tahoe from land owned by George Whitell. Whitell argued, with some justification, that the sewage resulted from crowds of illegal campers and picnickers who had ignored "no trespassing" signs.(146)

1949 The Nevada Legislature passed a law prohibiting the discharge of wastes directly into Lake Tahoe or within a hundred feet of any tributary stream or creek within the Nevada portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The law also required a written permit from the Nevada Department of Health for any construction in the Nevada portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin that required domestic water or sewage disposal in areas draining into the lake.(147)

1949 The California Legislature passed the Water Pollution Control Act of 1949 (the Dickey Act) which transferred the primary responsibility for pollution control from the California Department of Public Health to several regional boards under the State Water Pollution Control Board (currently the California State Water Resources Control Board, or SWRCB). The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board acquired responsibility for the California portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin. This board forbade the discharge of sewage into water sources in the California portion of the basin that failed to meet federal standards for drinking water.(148)

1950s Lahontan cutthroat trout, a strain related to the now extinct strain of Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout, were introduced into Pyramid Lake to replace the Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout variety which became extinct in the early 1940s.

1950(November 21) Major flooding and property damage occurred in Reno and the Truckee Meadows with the Truckee River reaching a flow rate of 19,900 cubic feet per second at the Virginia Street Bridge in downtown Reno. Nine days of rain occurred in the Sierra Nevada Mountains beginning on November 13 and lasting through November 21 with rain falling on each day. The Truckee River's flow peaked through downtown Reno at 1:00 a.m. on November 21, 1950. The storm system began slowly. Between November 13-15, rains were relatively light with 1.58 inches recorded at Soda Springs, 0.91 inches at Truckee, and 0.60 inches at Lake Tahoe. Between November 16-21, however, rainfall increased dramatically with 18.85 inches recorded at Soda Springs, 9.97 inches at Truckee, and 12.78 inches at Lake Tahoe. This flood event caused far more damage to the City of Reno than any pervious flood event.(149) [Since the completion of Prosser Dam and Prosser Creek Reservoir (1962), Stampede Dam and Reservoir (1970), and Martis Creek Reservoir (1971), floods have never again approached this level.]

1950(November) During the November flooding of the Truckee River, inflows into Pyramid Lake attained a maximum rate of flow of 19,000 cubic feet per second. The muddy waters of the Truckee River could be traced up the eastern, deeper side of Pyramid Lake all the way to its northern end. The lack of mixing was marked by a sharp line down the entire length of the lake, separating the green lake waters on the west from the brown, silt-laden river waters on the east.(150)

1950(December 3 and 4) After ten days of respite from the November 1950 flood event, the worst flood on record on the Truckee River up to that time, rains returned to the Truckee River Basin and surrounding areas. A strong two-day storm dumped 6.38 inches of rainfall at Soda Springs, 3.82 inches at Truckee, and 4.25 inches at Lake Tahoe. The Truckee River through Reno rose to a rate of flow of 11,000 cubic feet per second, but quickly receded by midnight of December 4, 1950.(151)

1954 The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation formally released its feasibility study for its "Washoe Project." This project was intended to build additional upstream reservoir sites on both the Truckee and Carson rivers to serve (primarily) Nevada agricultural interests and provide for the development of hydropower. Flood control needs were also incorporated into the USBR's study.(152) The Washoe Project contained proposals for both the Truckee River Basin and the Carson River Basin, including:(153)

[1] Truckee River Basin--Prosser Creek Dam and Reservoir (to be located on Prosser Creek), Stampede Dam and Reservoir (to be located on the Little Truckee River upstream from Boca Reservoir), Marble Bluff Dam and Pyramid Lake Fishway (to be located on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation and just upstream from Pyramid Lake);

[2] Carson River Basin--Watasheamu(154) Dam and Reservoir (including the Watasheamu Power plant), Dressler Diversion Dam and Afterbay, Carson Canal, Paiute Dam and Reservoir, and the enlargement of Stillwater Point Reservoir.

All the projects proposed for the Truckee River Basin were completed; however, none of those water projects proposed by the USBR for the Carson River Basin were ever funded or constructed.

1954 Interim channel improvements on the Truckee River and its tributaries in California and Nevada for flood control purposes were authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954.(155) Initial funding called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake a number of flood protection measures along specific reaches of the Truckee River:(156)

  1. Enlargement of the Truckee River from the Lake Tahoe Dam downstream for a distance of about 3,200 feet to include fish spawning gravels and a fish pool a short distance downstream from the dam;
  2. Enlargement of the channel through the Truckee Meadows that would extend for a distance of approximately 7.5 miles downstream from Reno;
  3. Removal of the Vista reef bedrock control [obstruction] at the Truckee River's entrance into the lower Truckee River canyon;
  4. Intermittent channel improvements downstream from about Vista to Nixon (approximately 47 miles) to compensate for increased flows from the channelization work done in the Truckee Meadows; and
  5. Intermittent channel improvements downstream from Tahoe City, California, to Reno, Nevada (approximately 45 miles).

Construction of these projects was begun by the COE in 1959 and the majority of the work was completed in 1963, with the exception of the work on the McCarran and Parker ranches, which was completed in 1968.(157)

1955(August) Public Law 353 was passed whereby Congress granted its consent to the states of California and Nevada to negotiate and enter into a compact with respect to the distribution and use of the waters of the Truckee, Carson, and Walker rivers, Lake Tahoe, and the tributaries of such rivers and lakes within these states.(158) Interestingly, sixteen years later, after both states has passed legislation resolving just such water distribution issues by means of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, Congress refused to ratify it.(159)

1955 California and Nevada each appointed their own commission with the same name--the California-Nevada Interstate Compact Commission--in response to the interstate issues continually raised on matters pertaining to the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe. When the two commissions met as one body, it was referred to as the Joint California-Nevada Interstate Compact Commission.(160) This body worked together until 1968 when a Draft Interstate Compact was produced for consideration by each state's legislature.

1955 During the 1995 session of the Nevada Legislature, as well as in subsequent sessions of 1961, 1969, and 1979, the population limits on banning water meters was increased to allow for growth in the Truckee Meadows.(161)

1955 The Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District was formed for the purpose of handling contractual and repayment procedures for the Washoe Project, a program intended to control the periodic flooding on the Truckee River. The district covered all of Washoe and Churchill counties and Carson City, plus extensive portions of Lyon, Douglas, and Storey Counties. It was governed by a board of seven members which included a member from TCID, Washoe County Water Conservation District, Sierra Pacific Power Company, and a representative from the subconservancy district in Carson Valley.

1955(December) Reno and the Truckee Meadows were subjected to its worst recorded flooding in history with extensive property damage throughout the Truckee Meadows. The Virginia Street Bridge gage in downtown Reno recorded a flow of 20,800 cubic feet per second.(162) Public concerns intensified over the inability to control the Truckee River's destructive potential.

1956 Congress authorized the Washoe Project,(163) a USBR program intended to build additional upstream reservoir sites on both the Truckee and Carson rivers to serve (primarily) Nevada agricultural interests and provide for the development of hydropower. While all the projects proposed for the Truckee River Basin were completed, none of those water projects proposed for the Carson River Basin were ever funded or constructed.

1956 The federal Fish and Wildlife Act was passed giving additional impetus to the federal wildlife refuge program by authorizing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to acquire land for refuge purposes for all kinds of wildlife.(164)

1958(October 24) The Sierra Valley Decree (precipitated from U.S. v. Sierra Valley Water Company, et al.)(165) was issued allowing the Sierra Valley Water Company to divert a portion of the Little Truckee River in California into the Feather River Basin for use as supplemental irrigation in the Sierra Valley.(166) The maximum allowable diversion was 60 cubic feet per second between March 15th and September 30th of each year, averaging approximately 5,700 acre-feet per year (although as a supplemental water source, diversions typically vary between 1,500 acre-feet to 10,000 acre-feet). The priority date of this water right was set at 1870.(167)

1959 Based on the Flood Control Act of 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began major flood control work on the Truckee River with most of the work completed by 1963. Within the Truckee Meadows, these actions resulted in the removal of the Vista reefs and the subsequent draining of considerable wetland areas in the eastern portion of the valley. The lower water levels led to the upstream eroding of Steamboat Creek as its level was now above that of the Truckee River at its confluence. This severely clouded the lower Truckee River for many miles downstream.(168) The Truckee River underwent extensive channelization (straightening and deepening) through much of downtown Reno, greatly affecting riparian areas. These actions also resulted in the removal of a number of small and scenic islands in the Truckee River, including Scott Island, a relatively large island in the middle of the Truckee River near the present location of the Reno Gazette-Journal office building and just downstream from the Kirman Avenue-Sutro Street Bridge. [See August 20, 1874 entry relating to the existence of these unique wildlife habitats located in the Truckee River near Reno.]

1959(June) In anticipation of the completion of Prosser Dam and Prosser Creek Reservoir as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Washoe Project, the Tahoe-Prosser Exchange Agreement ("Agreement for Water Exchange Operations of Lake Tahoe and Prosser Creek Reservoir") was finalized whereby certain waters in Prosser Reservoir would be identified as "Tahoe Exchange Water." By this agreement, when waters were to be released from Lake Tahoe for a minimum instream flow (50 cfs winter; 70 cfs summer) and when such releases from Lake Tahoe were not necessary to satisfy the Floriston rates due to normal flows elsewhere in the river, then an equal amount of water (exchange water) could be stored in Prosser Reservoir and used for releases at other times.(169) [This agreement was later approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Truckee River General Electric Company, May 18, 1961.](170)

1959 An engineering study completed for the South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) reviewed four possible methods for sewage disposal in the Lake Tahoe Basin:

  1. Spraying treated effluent onto land sites within the basin;
  2. Direct discharge into the lake;
  3. Injection of effluent into deep wells in the basin; and
  4. Export of effluent from the basin.

Discharge and injection methods were dismissed because of the possibility of increased eutrophication within the lake.(171) The exportation of effluent from the basin was set aside for the time being due to the problems associated with finding suitable disposal sites outside the Lake Tahoe Basin. The study therefore recommended the expansion of spraying the effluent on land within the basin until a better solution could be found. Nevertheless, this report marked an important break with the past by providing insights into the ultimate solution of the removal of treated sewage entirely from the Lake Tahoe Basin.(172)

1960 The Lake Tahoe Basin 's growth was given considerable impetus and its infrastructure and facilities were heavily taxed when the VIII Winter Olympic Games were held at Squaw Valley and at other sites around the area. The eight-mile stretch of Highway 89 which ran alongside the Truckee River between the town of Truckee and the Squaw Valley turnoff was extensively graded and widened to accommodate the influx of visitors.

1961 A suit was filed (U.S. v. Truckee River General Electric Company [Decree]) to modify and incorporate the 1959 Prosser Creek Reservoir agreement between the United States, Sierra Pacific Power Company, TCID, and the Washoe County Water Conservation District.(173)

1962 Scientists using an 8-inch secchi disc and a hydrophotometer found that the disc was discernible in Lake Tahoe at a depth of 136 feet and light was detectable at 500 feet. Seven years later, in 1969, in a repeat test, the secchi disc was visible at only 100 feet, equating to an annual four percent reduction in the clarity of the lake's waters.(174) By the 1980s this visibility test recorded the depth at only 75 feet.(175)

1962 Prosser Dam and Prosser Creek Reservoir were constructed with a total reservoir capacity of 29,800 acre-feet.(176) The dam and stored waters are operated and owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and are used for:

  1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control requirements;
  2. Exchange for Lake Tahoe releases based on the Tahoe-Prosser Exchange Agreement; and
  3. Spawning needs of the endangered fish species cui-ui in Pyramid Lake.

1962(August) As part of the work undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on reducing the potential flood damage along the Truckee River based on the Flood Control Act of 1954 and begun in 1959, the COE completed its deepening and straightening of the lower Truckee River below Wadsworth.(177) Within six months, however, these river "enhancements" would have an unexpected and disastrous effect on the riparian zone of the lower Truckee River.

1963(February 1) Major flooding occurred along the Truckee River with the USGS gaging station at Vista, Nevada, recording a flow of 18,900 cubic feet per second.(178) The channelization work recently completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in August 1962 on the lower Truckee River's reach below Wadsworth had not had time to adjust to the modifications and the resultant scouring and erosion were, by all accounts, "catastrophic."(179) In downtown Reno flow rates reached 18,400 cfs at the Virginia Street Bridge. Since about 1900, when streamflow recordings were first initiated, significant floods had occurred in 1907, 1909, 1928, 1937, 1950, 1955, and 1963. While some flood damage mitigation had been afforded with upstream flood storage in 1962 (Prosser Creek Reservoir) and Truckee River channel modifications in the 1950s,(180) the of COE felt that additional flood control measures were still necessary. It had been determined that through the Truckee Meadows the Truckee River had a flood-flow capacity of between 6,000 and 7,000 cfs without major flooding and through Reno itself the river's flood capacity was about 14,000 cfs.(181)

1964 Construction began on a new sewage treatment plant for the Truckee Meadows. The new Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment Plant, as it was named, would replace two separate primary treatment trickling filter plants in operation by both Reno and Sparks. The new plant, consisting of a secondary treatment activated sludge process, would eventually come on line in 1966 with a capacity to treat 20 million gallons per day.(182)

1964 The U.S. Secretary of the Interior formed a task force to study and report on methods to resolve the persistent controversies resulting from intense competition for the limited waters of the Truckee and Carson rivers, and particularly related to the issues of the diversion of Truckee River waters into the lower Carson River Basin for use within the Newlands Project. Subsequently, an Interior Committee was established to formulate Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP) for the Newlands Project in Churchill County, Nevada.(183)

1964(October) The U.S. Secretary of the Interior approved a report ("Action Program for Resource Development, Truckee and Carson River Basins--California and Nevada"). Important findings and recommendations included:(184)

  1. Article 35 of the original 1926 compact between the USBR and TCID should be satisfied (406,000 acre-feet of water deliveries from both rivers for a maximum of 74,500 acres of Newlands Project farmlands);
  2. The Secretary of the Interior should promulgate regulations (the OCAP) defining amounts and conditions of water releases for the Newlands Project;
  3. The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with TCID, will issue regulations on return flows for the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA);
  4. The drainage and supply system relating to the Stillwater WMA shall be improved;
  5. Public lands will be withdrawn in the Stillwater WMA; and
  6. Policies will be implemented to clearly support the greatest possible flows of water into Pyramid Lake in support of the Pyramid Lake Indians.

1964(November) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting in Reno to determine local desires and interests pertaining to additional flood control along the Truckee River. Out of this meeting came the COE's proposal for the Verdi Dam and Reservoir, the construction of which would entail flooding much of the Verdi area as well as necessitating rerouting both U.S. Highway 40 and the railroad tracks through this area. Further study on this project was eventually suspended in 1970 due to continued lack of public support.(185)

1965 In a spirit of cooperation, the state legislatures of both California and Nevada created a Joint Study Committee to investigate worsening environmental problems in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The committee would undertake a scientific study and issue a technically sound and highly convincing report detailing the dangers to the lake's environment, the balance of nature, and the worsening quality of the lake.(186)

1965 A government inventory of bird life on Anaho Island in Pyramid Lake listed 7,500 White Pelicans, 1,500 Double-Breasted Cormorants, 4,500 California Gulls, 150 Caspian Terns, and 200 Great Blue Herons.(187)

1965(August 16) A particularly severe thunderstorm caused extensive flooding in the Gray Creek watershed and washed out a railroad bridge along the Truckee River, covering the tracks with rock, mud, and tree debris. Grey Creek enters the Truckee River some three miles below the community of Hirschdale, California, and just over two miles upstream from Floriston, California. As a result of the heavy sediment load of this stream, the Reno-Sparks water treatment plants were forced to shut down due to the resultant turbidity in the river. A series of almost daily thunderstorms had been blanketing the Sierra Nevada Mountains and western Nevada for nearly a month beginning around July 26th.(188)

1966 The Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment Plant was completed with a capacity of 20 million gallons per day. In addition to settling tanks (primary process), the new plant consisted of a secondary treatment activated sludge process. In this process, waste is treated by microorganisms in a well-aerated tank to degrade the organic material. A sedimentation tank is then used to remove the resultant sludge.

1966 The Endangered Species Preservation Act was passed. This act constituted the precursor of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. Major provisions of this act included:(189)

  1. Identification of native vertebrates in danger of extinction;
  2. Directed federal agencies to preserve habitat when "practicable and consistent";
  3. Authorized establishment of National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) to protect habitat; and
  4. Provided no protection except on wildlife refuges.

1967(February 6 and March 6) Pyramid Lake reached its lowest surface level in recent history (3,783.9 feet MSL),(190) approximately 86.1 feet lower than it was in July 1911 (3,870.0 feet MSL) shortly after diversions began at Derby Dam into the Truckee Canal. This level was also 94.3 feet lower than the maximum surface level of 3,878.2 feet MSL recorded on September 1, 1891.(191) The Pyramid Lake fish species cui-ui could no longer swim up the Truckee River delta on their own to spawn. It was later estimated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that Pyramid Lake needed an annual inflow of at least 440,000 acre-feet to maintain a stable lake level,(192) although other estimates indicate that a lesser amount of approximately 385,000 acre-feet would suffice.(193) According to stream gaging reports, Truckee River flows at the Nixon gaging station [USGS gaging station 10351700] have averaged 356,920 acre-feet per year over the 1958-1994 period of record, thereby resulting in an average annual deficit of between 28,080 and 83,080 acre-feet based on these minimum flow requirements. These annual discharges have been as low as 17,450 acre-feet (1992) and as high as 1,888,840 acre-feet (1983).(194)

1967 The Pyramid Lake cui-ui fish species (Chasmistes cujus) was identified as in danger of extinction under the federal Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966.

1967(February 13) The U.S. Secretary of the Interior issued the first Newlands Project regulations--Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP)--that required project farmers to conserve water and use as much water from the Carson River as possible and minimize diversions from the Truckee River and improve project efficiency. By this action, total irrigated acreage was set at 74,500 acres and an annual water allocation at 406,000 acre-feet using both the Carson and Truckee rivers. These amounts were originally established in the contract between USBR and TCID in 1926.(195) Project OCAPs would be reinstituted annually through 1972.(196)

1967(October 1) In an effort to reduce diversions from the Truckee River for the Newlands Project, the 1967 OCAP discontinued the practice of using water for single-purpose [electrical] power generation at the Lahontan and Carson Diversion dams except as incidental to other authorized purposes such as irrigation.(197) Since their construction in the early 1900s, power had been generated and sold at these facilities throughout the year, thereby increasing diversions of Truckee River water at Derby Dam for uses other than irrigation. According to TCID files, between 1910 and 1966 (encompassing the 1915-1967 period when hydropower was generated) approximately 240,000 acre-feet were diverted into the Truckee Canal each year.(198) From 1967 through 1994, a period of record after the termination of hydropower-specific diversions, Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam have averaged 183,160 acre-feet per year, an average reduction of 23.6 percent per year in diverted Truckee River water.(199)

1968 The Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe filed the first in a series of lawsuits based on the 1967 OCAP (Pyramid Lake Tribe of Paiute Indians v. Walter J. Hickel, Secretary of the Interior), claiming that water was being wasted within the Newlands Irrigation Project. The suit was primarily aimed at reducing Truckee River water diversions at Derby Dam, thereby allowing more of the river's waters to flow into Pyramid Lake.(200)

1968(July) After thirteen years of negotiations between the two states, the joint California-Nevada Interstate Compact Commission approved a provisional Interstate Compact for the division of the waters of Lake Tahoe, and the Truckee, Carson, and Walker rivers. This provisional compact, with some modification, was eventually ratified by both states (California in September 1970 and Nevada in March 1971). The compact created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) to oversee land-use planning and environmental issues within the Lake Tahoe Basin. However, the compact was never ratified by Congress which would have made it law.(201) Even so, both states chose to implement its terms under individual state legislation. With respect to the Lake Tahoe Basin, the compact provided for a maximum annual gross diversion from all sources of 34,000 acre-feet, of which California was allocated 23,000 acre-feet per year and Nevada 11,000 acre-feet per year.(202)

1969(July) In a meeting at Lake Tahoe, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the Governors of the states of California and Nevada came to an agreement that action was urgently needed to halt the recession of Pyramid Lake. Just two years prior, in 1967, Pyramid Lake's surface elevation had reached its lowest level (nadir) in recorded history (3,783.9 feet MSL) and had declined by some 86 feet over 56 years. Out of this meeting, the Pyramid Lake Task Force was created and subsequently published their findings and recommendations on December 31, 1971.(203)

1969 The Endangered Species Conservation Act was passed. This was the last such act before the final passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. Major provisions of this act included:(204)

  1. Identified vertebrates and invertebrates in danger of worldwide extinction;
  2. Prohibited interstate commerce of illegally taken species;
  3. Prohibited import or subsequent sale within U.S. with only few exceptions; and
  4. Required an international agreement on trade in endangered species.

1969 The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) was passed establishing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and requiring that Environmental Assessments (EAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) be undertaken for major construction projects.

1970 Stampede Dam and Stampede Reservoir were constructed on the Little Truckee River about five miles upstream from Boca Reservoir and eight miles upstream from the confluence of the Little Truckee River and the Truckee River. Total storage capacity is approximately 226,500 acre-feet.(205) The USBR operates the dam and owns the stored waters. Due to its relatively junior water rights, the reservoir is infrequently filled as several conditions must be met before water can be stored:(206)

  1. Floriston rates must be met;
  2. Truckee River water diversion (Orr Ditch Decree) rights must satisfied;
  3. Boca Reservoir (below Stampede Reservoir) is full; and
  4. Independence Lake (above Stampede Reservoir on Independence Creek) is full.

1970 Due to lack of community support, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formally suspended further investigation of flood improvement proposals for the Truckee River that it had submitted for local review in 1964-1965. These proposed flood-control projects included the Verdi Dam and Reservoir and alternative reservoirs at the Lawton, Hirschdale, Truckee, and Gateway sites, storage and interceptor facilities on the Steamboat Creek tributary, and channel improvement in the Truckee Meadows.(207)

1970(March) Based on mounting evidence of degradation to the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and the passage of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact, the first meeting of the Lake Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was held. While initially the body appeared assertive and decisive concerning water quality and environmental matters within the Lake Tahoe Basin, later it would become hamstrung through lack of funds and legal entanglements.(208)

1970(August) A suit (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. Rogers C.B. Morton, et al.) was filed against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Attorney General for failure to protect water rights and other property rights of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, including the full rights to use and receive waters of the Truckee River for maintaining Pyramid Lake's fishery.(209)

1970(September 19) The California Legislature adopted the California-Nevada Interstate Compact.(210).

1970(August 25) The Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) was listed as a species in danger of extinction (endangered) under the federal Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969.(211)

1971(March 5) The Nevada Legislature formerly adopted the terms of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact which the California Legislature had approved in September 1970.(212) While this compact was never ratified by Congress, many of its provisions pertaining to the Truckee and Carson rivers and Lake Tahoe were eventually formalized and incorporated into Public Law 101-618, the Negotiated Settlement, in November 1990. Compact provisions regarding the Walker River were not incorporated into the Negotiated Settlement.

1971 A study by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) showed that when California's 23,000 acre-feet of annual water rights in the Lake Tahoe Basin were added to then pending applications for water rights within the California portion of the basin, the resultant total of 59,800 acre-feet per year exceeded the provisions of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact by 36,800 acre-feet.

1971 Martis Creek Reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a storage capacity of 20,400 acre-feet solely for flood control storage. Today, however, due to a leaking dam, only temporary storage is permitted and inflows typically equal outflows.(213)

1971 In a fairly typical year, TCID reported in their 1971 annual report to the USBR that the Newlands Project withdrew 391,700 acre-feet of its annual allotment of 406,000 acre-feet from the Truckee and Carson rivers. Of this amount, 56 percent, or 219,352 acre-feet, came from the Carson River and 44 percent, or 172,348 acre-feet, came from the Truckee River.(214) Further, it was reported that the net supply available to project farmers was 362,612 acre-feet, but of this amount only 213,705 acre-feet actually reached farmlands; the remainder was lost to seepage or spilled to wildlife areas, representing an overall project water efficiency of 59 percent [net water available to the farmlands divided by total gross diversions].(215)

1971(December) The Pyramid Lake Task Force, a group formed in July 1969 to study the problems associated with Pyramid Lake's recession, published their findings and recommendations. Based on 40 years of record from 1929-1969, it was found that Pyramid Lake was experiencing an annual water deficit of 135,000 acre-feet based on annual Truckee River inflows of 250,000 acre-feet per year, lake surface precipitation of 55,000 acre-feet per year, and annual surface evaporation of 440,000 acre-feet.(216) Some of the Task Force's recommendations called for a combination of water importation (Columbia River), weather modification (cloud seeding), and water salvaged from inbasin sources, which alone could add as much as 95,150 acre-feet per year for downstream uses.(217) It was also noted in this report that greater efficiencies in the Newlands Project could save as much as 85,650 acre-feet.(218) It was also determined that if this 95,150 acre-feet could be salvaged and diverted into Pyramid Lake, the lake's surface elevation would stabilize by the year 2580 at an elevation some 40 feet below its current (1971) level.(219)

1972 The Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed and was based on the 1965 Water Quality Act. The new act dramatically increased the goals of zero toxic discharges providing for "fishable" and "swimmable" surface waters. Major enforceable provisions of the CWA included:(220)

  1. Technology-based effluent standards for point sources (PS) of pollution;
  2. State-run control program for nonpoint sources (NPS) of pollution;
  3. A construction grants program to build and/or upgrade municipal sewage treatment plants;
  4. Regulatory system for spills of oil and other hazardous wastes; and
  5. A controversial wetlands preservation program (Section 404).

The CWA Section 404 on wetland provisions has become a crucial factor in the future preservation efforts of wetlands throughout the United States. It also created considerable controversy over the definition and value placed on such areas.

1972(1972-1976) Beginning in this year and continuing over the next five years, University of Nevada, Reno, professors Don Klebenow and Robert Oakleaf performed a follow-up study of the bird species of the lower Truckee River below Wadsworth. In 1868, Robert Ridgway had identified 91 species of birds during a three-week trip to the area at the height of the spring breeding season. Over this more recent five-year period, only 65 species could be identified and of those, 17 were new. Consequently, 42 of the original species identified by Ridgway had completely disappeared.(221) Together, these losses represented a 56 percent reduction in bird species diversity within only about 100 years along the lower Truckee River.(222)

1972(July 11) Based on an extensive aerial reconnaissance, it was determined that the Newlands Project had 64,388.4 acres of improved irrigated lands. This consisted of 5,300.3 acres in the Truckee Division, which included the Fernley, Hazen, and Swingle Bench areas of the Newlands Project serviced from the Truckee Canal, and 60,209.1 acres in the Carson Division, which included the Stillwater, Stillwater Indian Reservation, Fallon, Island and Sheckler areas serviced below Lahontan Dam, for a total of 65,509.4 acres, less 1,121.0 acres of fallowed lands.(223)

1972(August) A non-governmental Pyramid Lake task force, initiated by the Sierra Club, published its report which sought a physical solution for the maintenance of Pyramid Lake at its present level without destroying competing beneficial uses associated with the Newlands Project.(224) The major competitive uses (aside from the Newlands Project) were determined to be the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, the Carson Lake and Pasture (for its agricultural productive value), and the recreational role of Lahontan Reservoir. Principal recommendations included:(225)

  1. Reduce Lahontan Reservoir's storage capacity from a maximum of 319,000 acre-feet [actually 317,300 acre-feet with flashboards installed] to 150,000 acre-feet;
  2. Reduce the Newlands Project acreage from 64,600 acres to approximately 48,000 acres;
  3. Reduce the Newlands Project annual water diversions from 400,000 [actually 406,000 authorized] acre-feet to 273,000 acre-feet per year; and
  4. Reduce the present size of the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area and Carson Lake and Pasture and upgrade these remaining areas with physical improvements (e.g., dikes, regulating devices, etc.).

1973(February) Litigation that began in 1968 by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (Pyramid Tribe of Paiute Indians v. Walter J. Hickel, Secretary of the Interior) and in 1970 (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. Rogers C.B. Morton, et al.) resulted in a decision by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that the USBR, and specifically, the Secretary of the Interior, was required to deliver to Pyramid Lake all Truckee River water in excess of valid Newlands Project water rights. This February 20, 1973 judgement, popularly known as the Gesell Opinion (after U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell), contained new operating criteria for the Newlands Project calling for a stepwise reduction in allowed water diversions from the current diversion amount of 406,000 acre-feet per year (based on the 1926 USBR and TCID agreement) to 350,000 acre-feet in 1973 and then to 288,129 acre-feet each year for the years 1974 through 1984. Annual Operating Criteria and Procedures would be put into effect during 1985, 1986, and 1987, and the final OCAP would be put into effect in 1988.(226) It was estimated that annual Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam would be reduced from approximately 187,000 acre-feet per year to approximately 108,000 acre-feet per year. The court's determination of excessive project diversions of Truckee River waters was based on: (1) the definition and delineation of bench lands (water duty of 4.5 acre-feet per acre per year) and bottom lands (water duty of 3.5 acre-feet per acre per year); (2) project irrigation inefficiencies;(227) and (3) the alleged lack of compliance by TCID with various interim OCAPs.(228)

1973 The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed superseding and strengthening the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) shared the authority and responsibility to list endangered species, determine critical habitat, and develop recovery plans for listed species. The act also required the re-authorization by Congress every five years.(229) Major provisions of this act included:(230)

  1. Emphasis on the conservation of ecosystems upon which species depend;
  2. Consolidating existing U.S. and foreign lists;
  3. Establishing and defining categories of "endangered" and "threatened";
  4. Lowering the listing threshold to "in danger of extinction in a significant portion of range";
  5. Making eligible all classes of vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants;
  6. Defining and prohibiting the "take" of endangered vertebrates and invertebrates;
  7. Establishing prohibitions on take of threatened species available by special regulation;
  8. Restricting import and export;
  9. Requiring federal agencies to undertake conservation programs;
  10. Prohibiting federal agencies from authorizing, funding, or carrying out actions that may jeopardize the continued existence of listed species;
  11. Authorizing the establishment of National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) to protect critical habitat;
  12. Establishing a state grant program; and
  13. Appropriating funding for programs through 1978 (5-year cycle).

1973 The Pyramid Lake modern trout weight record was established at 19 pounds, 8 ounces for the strain of Lahontan cutthroat trout transplanted from Walker Lake in the 1950s. These trophy fish attained a length of 30 inches and were up to 18 inches in girth.(231) While impressive, this is still well below the record set in 1925 at 41.5 pounds and nearly four feet in length for the Pyramid Lake variety of Lahontan cutthroat trout, a sub-species that became extinct in the early 1940s.

1973 U.S. Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton officially notified TCID that every acre-foot of excessive diversions of water, based on the 1973 OCAP and the Gesell Opinion, would have to be returned to Pyramid Lake. Over a 15-year period (1973-1988) this amount of Truckee River diverted water considered in excess of valid project water rights would grow to over one million acre-feet.(232)

1973(August) The delay by TCID in complying with the U.S. Department of the Interior's operating criteria prompted the federal government to threaten TCID with federal resumption of control of the Newlands Project and the cancellation of its 1926 operating agreement. Despite USBR directives and a federal court order (Gesell Opinion), TCID continued to distribute irrigation water according to earlier standards. USBR Commissioner Gilbert Stamm visited Fallon and met with local representatives to explain the potential danger of refusal to meet the new criteria. The meetings failed to reach an agreement.(233)

1973(September 17) Amid growing frustrations and acrimonious relationships, the USDI gave TCID a one-year required notice of its intention to cancel TCID's contract to operate the Newlands Project, effective October 31, 1974.(234)

1973 Based on growing controversies surrounding the Newlands Project and associated water rights issues, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. (which had issued the Gesell Opinion), ordered the implementation of a new OCAP for the project.(235)

1973(December 21) In order to halt the decline in Pyramid Lake's water level, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe attempted to show that since its cultural heritage was clearly one of fishing and not farming, its reserved water rights (1908 Winters Doctrine and the federal reservation doctrine) should be based on the water necessary to sustain the lake's fishery, rather than a lesser amount (30,000 acre-feet per year) based on the irrigation of farmlands and the concept of "practicably irrigable acreage." In order to attempt to effect this change, the United States, on behalf of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, filed a lawsuit (originally U.S. v. TCID, but later renamed Nevada v. United States) against the Nevada parties(236) involved in the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree seeking to reopen that decree to obtain a reserved water right with an 1859 priority date for the Tribe to maintain lake levels for fishery purposes.(237) As part of this process, the United States government also sought water for other federal "reservations," namely the Stillwater Refuge (designated in 1948), the Toiyobe National Forest (set aside in 1905, 1909, 1926), and for other purposes.(238) On June 24, 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the federal government and the Indian Tribe and refused to open the Orr Ditch Decree to litigate additional water claims under the federal reservation doctrine.(239)

1974(March) TCID sued the federal government (TCID v. Secretary of the Interior) in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, over the contract cancellation in 1973. Later, in 1983, a judgement would rule against the Lahontan Valley farmers and TCID, and would uphold the contract cancellation, after which time TCID would operate the project under an interim contract. On August 18, 1983, the U.S. District Court would decide that: (1) the U.S. Secretary of the Interior had authority to issue OCAPs pursuant to the 1926 contract; (2) the Secretary had properly terminated the 1926 contract; and (3) the U.S. had a right to take possession and control of the Newlands Project.(240)

1974(May) Washoe County formally requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consider the economic feasibility of an alternative to their 1964-1965 proposal for additional upstream flood storage on the Truckee River (i.e., the Verdi Dam and Reservoir, as well as alternative proposed reservoir sites).(241)

1974(July) The City of Fallon filed a lawsuit (City of Fallon, et al. v. Secretary of the Interior) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) enjoining the United States from taking over the Newlands Project or from enforcing the USDI's operating criteria (1973 Gesell Opinion and new OCAP) in the absence of compliance with the provisions of NEPA and the submission of a formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). By mutual agreement of the federal government, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, the Nevada Wildlife Federation, the City of Fallon, and others, the 1973 OCAP was not to be implemented until the completion of the OCAP EIS. On November 4, 1983, as a motion had not been filed, this case was dismissed, without prejudice, even though the EIS was still not final.(242)

1975 During this year and into 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsored a plant-scale test by the licensing company of the modified "PhoStripz" version of a phosphorus removal process at the Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment Plant.(243) Subsequently, a major expansion of the plant was designed and constructed in 1982 employing this process, termed "phosphorus stripping,"(244) and the Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment Plant became the first wastewater treatment plant in the United States for which this proprietary treatment process was planned and then later used as a designed-in process for phosphorus removal.(245)

1975 Marble Bluff Dam and the Pyramid Lake Fishway, located within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, were completed in an effort to reduce further erosion in the lower Truckee River and to promote the spawning runs of the Pyramid Lake cui-ui endangered fish species.(246)

1975 A record Lake Tahoe Mackinaw (lake) trout weighing 37 pounds and 6 ounces was caught in Lake Tahoe by Robert Aronsen. Also known as lake trout, mackinaw more typically weigh in at three to five pounds. Lake Tahoe also features rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon.(247)

1975(July 16) Pyramid Lake's endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) was reclassified to threatened under the ESA of 1973 because of the successful establishment of additional populations and hatchery rearing programs.(248)

1976(June) In response to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice insisting that the U.S. District Court Federal Water Master in Reno, Nevada, strictly enforce the terms of the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree with respect to the diversion of water from the Truckee River, the Water Master responded by filing a petition (Petition of the Water Master in United States v. Orr Water Ditch Decree). The Federal Water Master wanted to adhere to past practices permitting excess diversions, despite the terms of the decree, if in his opinion, no decreed rights were being adversely affected.(249) Adherence to such practices would, in effect, allow excess Truckee River waters, i.e., unappropriated flood waters, to be diverted at Derby Dam for use in the Newlands Project and within the wetlands beyond, as opposed to allowing them to remain within the Truckee River and flow into Pyramid Lake.

1976 The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed establishing uniform drinking water standards for the nation.(250)

1976 A civil suit was filed by the State of Nevada (Nevada v. United States) in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, claiming ownership of Pyramid Lake's lakebed. By its claim, the State of Nevada sought to exert jurisdiction over the Pyramid Lake fishery. In October 1977, the U.S. District Court dismissed the case on grounds of sovereign immunity and the state appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the dismissal and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.(251)

1976(October 1) A suit was filed by the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District, Sierra Pacific Power Company, and the State of Nevada (Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District (CTWCD) v. U.S. Department of the Interior [Secretary of the Interior]) seeking mandamus and injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to two issues: (1) Whether the provisions of the Washoe Project Act required a cost reimbursement contract with the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District; and (2) If so, whether the provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 somehow altered that obligation. This suit dealt with the issue of the use of the waters of Stampede Reservoir, which the Pyramid Indian Tribe was attempting to have allocated solely for Pyramid Lake and fishery restoration and preservation purposes.(252)

1977 The ban on water meters that applied to Sierra Pacific Power Company was amended by the Nevada Legislature to allow SPPCo to install water meters on all businesses and to initiate a voluntary test program for residential housing units. Federal officials (USBR) informed SPPCo that they could Stampede Reservoir for drought storage if water meters were installed.(253)

1978(February) Sierra Pacific Power Company's Glendale water treatment plant was constructed on the north bank of the Truckee River in Sparks just downstream from the Glendale Avenue Bridge. This facility differed from previous treatment facilities located in the Truckee Meadows (i.e., Highland, Hunter Creek, and Idlewild) in that it used filtration (as opposed to merely sedimentation) as a major component of the treatment process.(254) The treatment facility, however, was limited by its inability to divert water from the Truckee River during low-water flows. Water diversions are made via a rock, concrete rubble, and gravel dam which was originally constructed to divert water for the Sessions Ditch. During normal river flows the dam can divert up to 25 million gallons per day (mgd); however, plant backwashing limitations of the filter element restrict the plant's effective capacity to 22.5 mgd.(255)

1978 An important U.S. Supreme Court case (California v. United States) held that the federal government must obtain water rights under state law for reclamation projects, unless state law conflicted with clear Congressional directives. As a practical matter, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had normally participated in the state water rights permitting process since its inception (as the U.S. Reclamation Service) with the National Reclamation Act of 1902.(256)

1978 Amendments were made to the Endangered Species Act (of 1973) to include:(257)

  1. Established cabinet level exception from jeopardy standard;
  2. Critical habitat defined and designation required for listing;
  3. Economic impacts to be considered when designating critical habitat;
  4. Distinct population of vertebrates could be listed;
  5. Required recovery plans for species listed as endangered; and
  6. Appropriated funding for programs through 1982.

1978(April 10) The Lagomarsino Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was established along the Truckee River in Storey County near Lockwood and consisted of 120 acres of land donated by the federal government to the State of Nevada for such purposes.(258) This location represents the approximate maximum extension up the lower Truckee River canyon of Ice Age Lake Lahontan at its highstand of 4,380 feet MSL some 65,000 years ago.

1978(November 24) TCID filed a suit in the U.S. Court of Claims (TCID v. United States) claiming monetary damage for breach of an alleged implied contract between TCID and the federal government. TCID claimed the right to recover revenues lost as a result of it having to forego the sale of winter hydroelectric power from the Lahontan Dam structure since 1967.(259) At issue was the government's 1967 stipulation (OCAP) which prevented such power sales and, by so doing, reduced TCID's diversion of Truckee River water for uses other than agriculture production on Newlands Project farmlands.

1979(April 3) The Unites States, on behalf of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, petitioned the court (U.S. v. Orr Water Ditch Company, et al.) for a change in place and purposes of use of water rights decreed to the Tribe under the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree. Responses to the petition were filed by: Sierra Pacific Power Company (June 21, 1979); Albert Alcam & Group 19 Defendants (June 27, 1979); TCID (June 28, 1979; Washoe County (June 29, 1979); Steamboat Canal & Irrigation Company and Last Chance Ditch Company (July 6, 1979); and the State of Nevada (June 21, 1979). The State of Nevada filed a motion to dismiss the suit contending that this matter should be brought before the Nevada State Engineer.(260)

1979 The (Dr.) David L. Koch Cui-Ui Hatchery, Pyramid Lake Fisheries of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, was completed.(261)

1980(October 28) Based on litigation initiated by the USBR in May 1925 (U.S. v. Alpine Land and Reservoir Company, et al.), the Alpine Decree was entered (Judge Bruce R. Thompson, U.S. Ninth District Court, Nevada)(262) to resolve water rights disputes between the states of California and Nevada for waters of the Carson River. With respect to waters diverted from the Truckee River, as applied to lands within the Newlands Irrigation Project, the decree established a maximum irrigation water duty of 4.5 acre-feet per acre per year for water-righted bench land and 3.5 acre-feet per acre per year for bottom lands, delivered to the land.(263) While the Alpine Decree established water duties for bench and bottom lands, it made no identification of those lands. The water duties would apply to all irrigated lands within the Newlands Project and therefore affect allowable diversions from the Truckee River as well. Judge Thompson also granted property owners in the Newlands Project the right of ownership of their water rights ("...Each such landowner is the owner of an appurtenant water right for the patented land...") as opposed to ownership by the federal government (USBR).(264) This action would have important implications with respect to the federal government's ability to cancel, restrict, or re-acquire these water rights from individual owners.

1980(December 19) The Tahoe Regional Planning Compact was amended requiring, among other things, that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopt "Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities" for the Lake Tahoe Region. The compact further required that withing one year after the adoption of these carrying capacities, the TRPA shall amend its regional plan so that, at a minimum, the plan and all of its elements, as implemented through TRPA ordinances, rules, and regulations, will achieve and maintain the adopted Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities. These environmental standards would be adopted by the TRPA Governing Body on August 26, 1982.(265)

1981(March 18) The U.S. Department of the Interior filed a Memorandum and Order (U.S. v. TCID) to take possession of a 64-acre tract of land surrounding the headwaters of the Truckee River near the point where the river drains out of Lake Tahoe. This tract was originally ceded to the U.S. Reclamation Service by the Truckee River General Electric Company in 1915 by a consent decree for a purchase price of $139,500. The Department of the Interior wished to convey the tract to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) for the purpose of developing a public recreational facility.(266)

1981(June 23) The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe filed suit (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. State of California, et al.) against Truckee River water rights holders in California in order to claim reserved water rights for Pyramid Lake and the Pyramid Lake fishery.(267) This suit is currently pending based on the Negotiated Settlement process (Public Law 101-618).(268)

1981(October 1) A period of wet years began in the water basins of northwestern Nevada. This period, which included the record "High Water Year" of 1983 for the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins, would last through 1986. During this 1982-1986 (water year) period,(269) the Lake Tahoe Basin recorded an average annual snow water content 136 percent of normal, ranging from a low of 90 percent of normal (1985) to a high of 202 percent of normal (1983). Similarly, the Truckee River Basin (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) recorded an average annual snow water content 136 percent of normal, ranging from a low of 90 percent of normal (1985) to a high of 205 percent of normal (1983).(270)

1981(December 4) The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe filed a suit (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. U.S. EPA) seeking a declaratory judgement declaring void EPA's approval of portions of the Nevada Water Pollution Control Regulations. A central issue in this suit was the water temperature standard for the Truckee River's waters.(271)

1982(January) Modifications were made to the Reno-Sparks Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (formerly the Reno-Sparks Joint Sewage Treatment Plant) increasing its total treatment capacity from 20 million gallons per day to 30 million gallons per day. The performance of the phosphorus-removal process "PhoStrip," which was initially installed and tested in 1975-1976, suffered from a number of startup problems including equipment malfunctions and failures, initial unreliable performance of the control system, the inadvertent recycling of phosphorus-rich digested sludge from a storage lagoon external to the plant site, serious infestations of Nocardia in the activated sludge, and periodic upstream discharges of toxic substances. It would not be until early 1985 that these problems would be effectively eliminated and the PhoStrip process began meeting discharge requirements on a continuous basis.(272)

1982 Amendments were made to the Endangered Species Act (of 1973) to include:(273)

  1. Listing based solely on best biological information available;
  2. Critical habitat designation concurrent with listing only to maximum extent prudent and determinable;
  3. Established time requirements for listing process;
  4. Established recovery priority system;
  5. Designation of experimental populations;
  6. Limited prohibition on take of endangered plants;
  7. Incidental take permits for development of private land;
  8. Incidental take provision incorporated within Biological Opinions; and
  9. Appropriated funds for programs through 1988.

1982(July 20) The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe filed a suit (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. City of Reno, et al., and James G. Watt [Secretary of the Interior]) seeking enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior were also named as defendants. The suit sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as money damages because a Joint Water Pollution Control Project (JWPC), undertaken by Reno and Sparks pursuant to an EPA grant, was allegedly having numerous direct and indirect serious adverse effects on water quality in the Truckee River where the endangered cui-ui and the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout are located. Interestingly, the two cities cross-claimed against the EPA and the USDI claiming that the USDI had created the jeopardy situation in the lower Truckee River fishery by diverting water at Derby Dam for the Newlands Irrigation Project in Churchill County. If successful, this action by the cities would hold the USDI responsible for money damages, if awarded.(274)

1982(August 26) By unanimous vote, the Governing Body of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopted a resolution which established numerical goals for nine (9) environmental indicators for Lake Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Basin. These included:

  1. water quality;
  2. soil conservation;
  3. air quality;
  4. vegetation preservation;
  5. wildlife;
  6. fisheries;
  7. noise;
  8. recreation; and
  9. scenic resources.

These "Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities" for the Lake Tahoe Region were based on a December 19, 1980 amendment to the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.(275)

1982(December 22)(276) The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe won an important suit originally filed on October 1, 1976 (Carson-Truckee Water Conservation District v. Secretary of the Interior) that obtained dedicated water rights for Pyramid Lake's endangered cui-ui fish species and threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.(277) The ruling in the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree held that the 1908 Winter's Decision applied to reserved water rights for irrigation only on the reservation; water rights for lake restoration and the fishery operations would have to be adjudicated (determined by court action). This new action provided just such a dedicated upstream source of water for the Tribe's fishery by ruling that the waters of Stampede Reservoir, located upstream from Boca Reservoir on the Little Truckee River, were to be used solely for the benefit of the Pyramid Lake fishery.

1983(May 30) After a winter of relatively high precipitation and snowpack buildup, an estimated 120,000 cubic feet of wet soil slid into Upper Price Lake on Ophir Creek below Slide Mountain. The surge sent 1.8 million gallons of water into Lower Price Lake and then sent a wall of water, rocks, and debris through the foothills, across Old Highway 395 and out into Washoe Valley. Upper Price Lake was largely filled, reducing it from approximately four acres and 30 feet deep to only half its surface area and two feet deep. Lower Price Lake was completely obliterated. The mud and debris covered Old Highway 395 to a depth of nine feet. One person was killed by the rampaging waters, six others were injured, four homes were destroyed and several others were severely damaged, nine cars destroyed including a motor home, a school bus, and a truck.(278) The geology of the Ophir Creek drainage, which begins in the alpine meadows between Slide Mountain and Mount Rose, is highly unstable and an analysis of the extensive alluvial fan formation stretching well out into Washoe Valley indicates that this creek has flooded a number of times previously.(279)

1983(June 24) Based on a lawsuit (Nevada v. United States, originally U.S. v. TCID)(280) filed by the federal government on behalf of the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe in 1973 to open the Orr Ditch Decree based on the "federal reservation doctrine" and obtain additional waters for the Pyramid Lake fisheries, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the existing water right holders that the Orr Ditch Decree was final and binding on all parties and that it should not be reopened on the reserved rights issue (1908 Winters Doctrine).(281)

1983(August 8) Based on the suit (TCID v. Secretary of the Interior) filed by TCID against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in March 1974 for the cancellation of its contract, the U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, decided in favor of the federal government stating that: (1) the U.S. Secretary of the Interior had the authority to issue OCAP pursuant to the 1926 contract; (2) the Secretary had properly terminated the 1926 contract; and (3) the United States had a right to possession and control of the Newlands Project. TCID appealed this decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.(282)

1983(September 30) End of the wettest year ever recorded in the Truckee River Basin. This year became the standard "High Water Year" for virtually all creeks, streams, and rivers within the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins. The Truckee River's recorded annual average discharge (volume) recorded at the California-Nevada border (Farad gaging station) for this year was 1,769,00 acre-feet, equivalent to an annual average continuous rate of flow of 2,443 cubic feet per second. This discharge was over three times the average annual discharge up to this time (574,101 acre-feet per year for the period of record 1900-1982). [By contrast, the Truckee River's lowest recorded annual average discharge was attained in 1931 at 133,200 acre-feet, equivalent to an annual average rate of flow of only 184 cfs.](283)

1983 The first major application of the "Public Trust Doctrine" to water rights decisions was given an important precedent by the California State Supreme Court in National Audubon Society v. Superior Court when it ruled in favor of a balancing of public trust uses of water (e.g., minimum instream flows, habitat restoration and protection, wetland preservation) against typical consumptive uses of water during the water rights application process. Further, the California Court ruled that the state, and specifically the grantor of water rights, i.e., the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB),(284) may reconsider the effects of past allocations based on this concept.(285)

1984 Based upon the August 1983 resolution of the suit filed by TCID in March 1974 against the Secretary of the Interior over contract cancellation (TCID v. Secretary of the Interior) which was decided in favor of the federal government, an interim contract was signed with TCID. It was stipulated that the contract could be terminated by either party with 90 days written notice. The issue of recoupment of excess waters diverted between 1973 and 1983 remained unresolved, however.

1984 The Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council, an organization representing the interests of hundreds of Lake Tahoe Basin property owners, filed a lawsuit in Nevada and California federal courts against the bi-state (Nevada and California) Tahoe Regional Planning Agency over its land-use powers. The landowners claimed damage in the amount of $26.7 million from different TRPA regulations and because the properties have received various restrictions on their use, thereby resulting in diminished property values and denying owners full use of their property without fair compensation. Specifically, the case challenged TRPA's 1984 regional plan, a 1981 land-classification ordinance, and a 1983 building moratorium. The filing was based on the classic "taking" of property barred by the U.S. Constitution without just compensation.(286)

1985 The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation published an Environmental Assessment (EA) which examined alternative OCAPs for the Newlands Project. This resulted in a "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI) for the 1985 OCAP within the range of alternatives outlined in the EA. Public comment, however, resulted in the decision to develop a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).(287)

1985 The USBR's Environmental Assessment found that within the Newlands Project 63,100 acres were actually being irrigated, of which 57,518 acres had legal project water rights. It was estimated that of this difference of 5,582 acres, 900 acres were irrigated by groundwater, 475 acres were irrigated with return flow rights, and 4,207 acres were irrigated which did not have documented water rights or for which water right transfer applications were not complete.(288)

1985 The Nevada Legislature amended Sierra Pacific Power Company's ban on water meters to allow any resident who volunteered for a water meter to have one. Legislation also required that all new homes built after July 1, 1988 have water meters installed.(289)

1985(August 30) Based on a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation contract commissioned on August 22, 1984, Chilton Engineering, Chartered, of Reno, Nevada, determined that there existed a total of 73,858.88 water-righted acres as part of the Newlands Project located in Churchill (Carson Division) and Lyon (Truckee Division) counties, Nevada. This total amount consisted of 68,396.48 acres of TCID acreage, 22.10 acres of additional acreage concluded to be part of the TCID acreage, and 5,440.30 acres of Fallon Indian Reservation water-righted acreage.(290)

1986(February) Extreme precipitation dramatically increased the Truckee River's rate of flow to 10,000 cubic feet per second through downtown Reno, approximately equal to designed flood stage. Upstream storage and flood control measures completed since 1970 (Stampede Reservoir and channelization through Reno) were primarily responsible for preventing a repeat of the 20,800 cfs Truckee River flows and extensive flooding and consequent property damage recorded during the river's record stage of 1955. This marked the end of one of the wettest periods of record (1982-1986 [water years], including the wettest year on record--October 1, 1982-September 30, 1983). It also marked the beginning of the worst recorded drought period in the history of the Truckee River Basin (1987-1994).

1986 A graduate thesis written by Wendy Milne, a student in the Department of Geology and Geologic Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, in Golden, Colorado, reconstructed Truckee River flows without upstream agriculture diversions and other human intervention and hypothesized that the Pyramid Lake/Winnemucca Dry Lake system would have been at a level above the sill and existed as one large lake until 1930 if pristine conditions had prevailed.(291) The "joining" of these lakes would have required a joint surface elevation of approximately 3,861 feet MSL (1,177 meters), a level approximately 64 feet above Pyramid Lake's July 31, 1995 highstand surface elevation of 3,796.94 feet MSL.(292) Winnemucca Lake dried up for the last time in 1938.

1986 A major increase in the White Pelican colonies was recorded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge in Pyramid Lake. Based upon the high water flow years of 1983-1986 for both the Truckee and Carson rivers (which thereby reduced diversions from the lower Truckee River at Derby Dam) and the consequent beneficial effects on downstream terminus locations, e.g., Pyramid Lake and the Lahontan Valley wetlands, it became apparent that fish and waterfowl conditions were inextricably tied to the viability of these river system terminus areas.(293)

1986(June) The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a new long-term OCAP for the Newlands Project. The DEIS allowed for a probable range of annual diversions, using the waters of both the Carson and Truckee rivers, ranging from the 288,129 acre-feet established in the 1973 (U.S. District Court) Gesell Opinion (OCAP) to 406,000 acre-feet, which was the upper water diversion limit established in the 1967 OCAP.(294)

1986(Summer) A large blue-green algae "bloom" covered one-third of Pyramid Lake's surface area. Phosphates, primarily entering the lake as windblown sediments, were at extremely high levels and while the size of the lake has enabled it to handle the high levels of phosphates, the lake continued to show a deficit in nitrogen. Differences in water densities between river inflows and lake waters (moderately saline--over 4.1 parts per thousand, and highly alkaline--9.1-9.3 pH) allowed surface entrapment of nutrient-rich freshwater inflows, hence leading to this condition and the potential for future algal "blooms" in Pyramid Lake as well.(295)

1986 Thirteen million gallons of partially treated sewage spilled into Lake Tahoe from the wastewater treatment facilities of the South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD). As a result of this spill, the California Attorney General and the League to Save Lake Tahoe filed suit against the utility, requiring movement of the utilities' transfer pipeline away from environmentally sensitive wetlands and portions of the Upper Truckee River. STPUD uses a 27-mile pipeline from the Lake Tahoe Basin, over Luther Pass, to Harvey Place Reservoir in Alpine County in the Carson River Basin where the treated effluent is used for irrigation. In a 1989 settlement, STPUD agreed to move the pipeline by 1994.(296)

1986 U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt (Nevada), after attempting to negotiate outstanding issues of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact pertaining to the apportionment of the waters of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee, Carson, and Walker rivers between the two states, failed in his effort to have Congress ratify the compact. A major issue of contention was a phrase in the compact which stated that the use of waters by the federal government, its agencies, instrumentalities, or wards was to be credited against the use by the state in which it is made. This limitation, combined with new court interpretations of the federal reserved water rights (Winters Doctrine), waters required for Pyramid Lake fish species under the 1973 Endangered Species Act, and public trust doctrine issues, all combined to derail Congressional approval.(297)

1986 Based on the failure of the California-Nevada Interstate Compact to be ratified and continuing conflicts and litigation over Truckee and Carson River water rights, in particular, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) began negotiations among state, federal, and other interests. These negotiations eventually resulted in the passage of Public Law 101-618 (the Negotiated Settlement) in November 1990.(298)

1986(October 1) A period of drought began in the water basins of northwestern Nevada. This period would last for essentially eight years through 1994. During this 1987-1994 (water year) period, the Lake Tahoe Basin recorded an average annual snowpack water content 65 percent of normal, ranging from a low of 29 percent of normal (1988) to a high of 149 percent of normal (1993). The Truckee River Basin (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) recorded an average annual snowpack water content 69 percent of normal, ranging from a low of 32 percent of normal (1988) to a high of 158 percent of normal (1993).(299)

1987 A Lake Tahoe Dam suit was initiated by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. Secretary of the Interior Hodel). Based on the intent of the USBR to repair the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City in order to improve its seismic resistance, the Paiute Tribe used this occasion to file a suit against the federal government over the operation of the dam and its impact on Pyramid Lake's endangered cui-ui fish species. This suit has since been put on hold pending the outcome of the negotiations being conducted under the Negotiated Settlement (Public Law 101-618) and the implementation of a new Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA).(300)

1987(April 1) The snow water content of both the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins was recorded at only 56 percent of normal for this time of year,(301) and signaled the commencement of a record drought period, lasting through 1994 (eight years). Its effects would adversely impact stream flows, reservoir levels, habitat and wildlife, as well as dramatically alter conservation and water use practices throughout the water basins of Northern Nevada. Interestingly, this drought period had essentially the same duration as the 1928-1935 drought period. In terms of average annual flows measured at the California-Nevada border (Farad USGS gaging station), the 1987-1994 drought period was worse than the 1928-1935 drought period. Over the 1928-1935 period, average annual flows (discharges) measured at Farad were 303,240 acre-feet per year, whereas during the 1987-1994 period they were 286,350 acre-feet per year, a 5.6 percent reduction.

1987 U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) began formal discussions with Truckee River water users--Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, Sierra Pacific Power Company, and TCID--about settling various litigation over the waters of the Truckee River. The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe demanded that the Newlands Project water allocation from both the Truckee and Carson rivers be cut back to a maximum of 300,000 acre-feet per year. However, the Lahontan Valley farmers were only willing to reduce the project's annual water requirement to 350,000 acre-feet.(302)

1987(August) Soil contamination was first discovered by Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline, Inc., at their petroleum storage tank facility in Sparks, Nevada, a location less than one mile from the Truckee River. By November, further studies had shown that the contamination had affected the groundwater at the site. It was later estimated that approximately two million gallons of primarily gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel, had seeped into the ground and created a plume of contaminated soil extending towards the Helm's gravel pit. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) issued an Administrative Order to Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline to investigate and remediate the contamination.(303)

1987(November) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its Biological Opinion pursuant to the USBR's request for formal consultation on the long-term OCAP Draft Environmental Impact Statement originally submitted in June 1986. Accordingly, the USFWS concluded that the implementation of "Alternative E," which called for 320,000 acre-feet per year, or less, of total allowable Newlands Project water diversions (including both Truckee River and Carson River waters), would not likely jeopardize the continued existence of the endangered cui-ui fish species or bald eagle populations. Further, the USFWS also determined that this scenario would not affect the endangered peregrine falcon or the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.(304)

1987(December) Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures was issued by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Regional Office, Sacramento, California. The report was intended to describe the environmental consequences of adopting the most recent OCAP for 1988 and future years. The OCAP intended to reduce Newlands Project diversion stepwise from 332,000 acre-feet in 1989 to 326,000 acre-feet in 1990, to 322,000 acre-feet in 1991, and to the ultimate goal of 320,000 acre-feet or less by 1992.(305)

1988 Amendments were made to the Endangered Species Act (of 1973) to include:(306)

  1. Prohibited recovery preference based on taxonomy;
  2. Required monitoring of recovered and candidate species;
  3. Established recovery plan content requirements;
  4. Required public review and comment on recovery plans;
  5. Required reporting of recovery expenditures and species status;
  6. Strengthened take prohibitions for endangered plants; and
  7. Appropriated funds for programs through 1992.

1988 Recognizing its importance as a key migration and wintering area for up to one million waterfowl on the eastern edge of the Pacific Flyway, the Lahontan Valley Wetland System was named to the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. It was also nominated for inclusion under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, thereby attesting to the continental significance of this area.(307)

1988(April 15) The U.S. Secretary of the Interior adopted a new OCAP ("Final OCAP") for the Newlands Project with respect to allowable water diversions. From this date through at least December 31, 1997,(308) the project's annual water allotment would be determined by a "maximum allowable diversion" (MAD) concept, which is based on actual project water-righted and irrigated acreage, bench and bottom lands designations, and the water duty assigned to those lands as specified in the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree and the 1980 Alpine Decree. TCID records showed that this acreage totaled approximately 59,800 acres, of which 4,085 acres were located in the Truckee Division, fed directly from the Truckee Canal (Truckee River waters only), and 55,715 acres were in the Carson Division, fed from Lahontan Reservoir (Carson and Truckee River waters).(309)

1988 In The State of Nevada v. Morros, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the State Engineer's issuance of a water permit for using Blue Lake for public recreation and as a fishery. It was stated that the permit was in the public interest and therefore constituted a beneficial use of water. This authorized an in situ use of water rather than a traditional diversionary consumptive use. An important distinction between this case and the 1983 California Public Trust Doctrine case (National Audubon Society v. Superior Court), in which the California State Supreme Court ruled that the State Water Resources Control Board may reconsider the effects of past water allocations and, possibly, even transfer existing water rights to other [more] beneficial uses,(310) was that the Nevada permit was an original allocation, not a transfer. Furthermore, the Nevada case was based on existing Nevada water law rather than on the public trust doctrine. The following year, the Nevada Legislature would take action to legislate these uses as beneficial.

1988(June-July) Local governments in the Truckee Meadows adopted a four-stage drought water conservation plan. The first stage, already in effect, called for voluntary twice-weekly watering of lawns. The Nevada Legislature also passed a law that required all new homes to have water meters.(311)

1988(October) Lake Tahoe dropped below its natural rim of 6,223.0 feet MSL and the upper reach of the Truckee River below the dam stopped flowing.(312)

1988(November) Fuel contamination from the Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline facility in Sparks, Nevada, (see August 1987 entry) was first discovered at the Helm's gravel pit located approximately one mile east of the storage tank site. The pit was being pumped at the rate of some seven million gallons per day, and it was estimated that the level of pumping was affecting the area's hydrologic gradient, causing the plume of pollutants from the tank farm to be drawn due east to the pit and parallel to the river, instead of assuming a natural direction of flow east southeast towards the Truckee River. It was therefore apparent that pumping at the Helm's pit site would need to be continued if this plume of fuels was to kept away from the Truckee River.(313)

1988(December) Modifications were made to the Reno-Sparks Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility (formerly the Reno-Sparks Joint Water Pollution Control Plant and before that the Reno-Sparks Joint Sewage Treatment Plant) increasing its total treatment capacity from 30 million gallons per day to 40 million gallons per day. In addition to increased capacity, two major improvements were made to the treatment process during this year to include the installation of multimedia filters consisting of pea gravel, sand, and anthracite (charcoal) in March 1988, and the addition of nitrification/denitrification towers in May 1988.(314) In response to the increased plant treatment capacity and threat of greater effluent discharges, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit precluding discharges beyond the prior capacity of 30 million gallons per day. This suit would not be resolved until October 1996 with the signing of the Truckee River Water Quality Agreement.

1989 The Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 322 which stated that "the watering of wildlife, and the establishment and maintenance of wetlands, fisheries, and other wildlife habitats" constitutes a beneficial use of water.(315)

1989(May) A Preliminary Settlement Agreement (PSA) was negotiated between the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe and Sierra Pacific Power Company which provided SPPCo the ability to store up to 39,500 acre-feet of water covered by a portion of its water rights in federally operated reservoirs along the Truckee River in California at times when it was not needed for municipal and industrial (M&I) water supply in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. In exchange, excess water in storage was to be used for fishery purposes. Also, SPPCo would forego its right to single-use hydroelectric flows in the Truckee River under the Orr Ditch Decree, thereby enabling the United States and the Tribe to store water for fishery benefit at certain times of the year. The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area would be required to implement conservation measures reducing water use by about ten percent.(316) The PSA was later to be incorporated into Public Law 101-618 by reference. [See November 1, 1995 entry for continuing information on this matter.]

1989 The Nevada Legislature lifted Sierra Pacific Power Company's ban on the use and installation of residential water meters in the Truckee Meadows provided that:

  1. Truckee River Negotiated Settlement goes into effect;
  2. Residents do not pay for hookups; and
  3. Residents are not forced to have meters installed until 90 percent of SPPCo's customers are on meters.

The Legislature also insisted that the water saved by the installation of meters must be stored for drought protection [and not used for future growth accommodation].(317)

1990(June) Based on the effects of the continuing drought, mandatory twice-a-week watering restrictions went into effect in the cities of Reno and Sparks.(318)

1990(September) After it had risen slightly above its natural rim in March 1989, Lake Tahoe again dropped below its rim and would remain below its rim until May 1993.(319)

1990 The Truckee Meadows Coalition for Citizens' Right to Vote held a petition drive to force a public vote on water meters. The cities of Reno and Sparks refused to put the issue on the ballot, forcing the Coalition to file suit.(320)

1990(November 16) Public Law 101-618, also referred to as the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Settlement Act, was enacted into law in two titles:(321)

  1. Title I--The Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Indian Tribal Settlement Act; and
  2. Title II--The Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act.

Seven main elements were covered by the legislation to include:

  1. Promote the enhancement and recovery of [Pyramid Lake's] endangered and threatened fish species;
  2. Protect [Lahontan Valley] wetlands from further degradation;
  3. Encourage the development of solutions for demands on Truckee River waters;
  4. Improve the management and efficiency of the Newlands Project;
  5. Fallon Paiute-Shoshone water issues settlement;
  6. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe water issues settlement; and
  7. California-Nevada interstate water apportionment settlement.

The act would give Sierra Pacific Power Company 39,500 acre-feet of drought storage space in federal reservoirs for the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, located in Washoe County, Nevada, provided that a water meter retrofit program was implemented. It also called for the federal government to acquire by purchase or by other means water rights for Pyramid Lake and for the Lahontan Valley wetlands (Stillwater Wildlife Refuge and Carson Lake and Pasture). More importantly, the act attempted to settle much of the on-going litigation surrounding Truckee and Carson River water rights. Most important for TCID and the Lahontan Valley farmers was Section 209(h)(1) of this act which stated that "...Subsections 209(d), (e), (f), and (g) of the act would not become effective unless and until the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District has entered into a settlement agreement with the Secretary [of the Interior] concerning claims for recoupment of water diverted in excess of the amounts permitted by applicable operating criteria and procedures."(322)

1991(January) A suit was filed by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection against all parties associated with the groundwater contamination at the Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline storage tank facility in Sparks, Nevada. The fuel contamination had been first discovered in August 1987 and the contaminated groundwater plume first recorded as having reached the Helm's gravel pit in November 1988.(323)

1991 The Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge was established consisting of 77,500 acres (121 square miles) which were withdrawn from the 224,000-acre (350 square-mile) Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, which was established in 1948. The refuge is located approximately 15 miles east of Fallon within Churchill County, Nevada, on the edge of the Carson Sink. Today, the Stillwater NWR includes a variety of habitats, from freshwater sloughs and marshes to brackish-water marshes and alkali flats. Each habitat hosts a unique assemblage of plants and invertebrates, which in turn attracts more than 160 bird species and many other animals.(324) Due to the frequently poor quality of waters entering this area, consisting primarily return flows from upstream Newlands Project irrigation, the area has experienced periodic fish and wildlife kills.(325)

1991(July) Due to drought-induced extremely low flows in the Truckee River, the Federal Water Master shut off the irrigation ditches in the Truckee Meadows.(326)

1992(January) The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued its revised Initial Bench & Bottom Land Map & Criteria report for the Newlands Project. The report opened with a quote by Professor James N. Luthin of the University of California at Davis, which noted the fallacy in assuming that soils such as those of the Newlands Project, underlain with sandy layers and having been idle for centuries, would be safe from water logging (establishment of an artificially high water table).(327) It was noted that the Newlands Project had been hampered by water logging soon after the start of irrigation. The criteria used to classify lands as to either bench or bottom included two aspects: (1) the available water-holding capacity in the top five feet of the soil profile (AWHC5), and (2) the seasonal high water table (SHWT). By this classification system, of the total 73,789 acres recorded as being within the Newlands Project, there existed 64,233 acres of bottom lands (water duty of 3.5 acre-feet per acre per year) and 9,556 acres of bench lands (water duty of 4.5 acre-feet per acre per year).(328)

1992(April) The De Bruyn report, Potential Water Conservation Measures--Newlands Project, was issued relative to an efficiency study of the Newlands Project and related matters. It was proposed that with upgraded facilities, extensive (and very costly) canal lining, and more precise diversion measuring capabilities, total potential water conservation within the project could total as much as 212,000 acre-feet per year out of a total annual water diversion of 375,000 acre-feet. It was also estimated that total farm consumptive water use was 155,000 acre-feet per year on 58,000 irrigated acres, and that the agriculture leaching requirement was approximately 8,000 acre-feet per year. Admittedly, this optimum level of project efficiency came at an extremely high price. For example, lining the central 20 miles of the Truckee Canal's 32.5 mile length, where losses were estimated at 30,000 acre-feet per year, was estimated to cost $40 million with an additional $3.55 million annual operations and maintenance expense. This study also estimated that 1,066,016 acre-feet constituted the total payback (recoupment) for Truckee River waters diverted by TCID in excess of allowed OCAP amounts based on three component parts:(329)

  1. 21,434 acre-feet of water the U.S. District Court allowed diverted in 1988 from storage in Stampede Reservoir;
  2. 321,117 acre-feet of Truckee River water diverted to Lahontan Reservoir during such times when it was in spill or drawdown conditions; and
  3. 723,485 acre-feet of Truckee River water diverted in excess of OCAPs established by the 1973 (U.S. District Court) Gesell Opinion covering the years 1973-1984 and subsequent OCAPs covering the years 1985, 1986, and 1987.

1992(June 8) Again due to an intensification of the drought conditions and extremely low Truckee River flows (see July 1991 entry), the Federal Water Master in Reno, Nevada, was forced to shut down the irrigation ditches in the Truckee Meadows. This represented the earliest they had ever been closed.(330)

1992(July 14) A sudden localized rainstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Gray Creek watershed sent extensive quantities of mud into the Truckee River just upstream from Floriston, California.(331) Sierra Pacific Power Company was forced to shut down its Reno-Sparks water treatment plants for three days and by July 16th Reno's fresh water supplies were down to 25 percent of capacity. An outdoor water ban was placed into effect from Wednesday, July 15th through Sunday, July 19th.(332)

1992(August) The Truckee River completely dried up between Sierra Pacific Power Company's Glendale Water Treatment Plant and the Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment plant, a distance of nearly four miles.(333)

1992 In a suit filed against the cities of Reno and Sparks in 1990 by the Coalition for Citizens' Right to Vote, Washoe County District Court Judge Jerry Whitehead ruled in favor of the Coalition and ordered the cities to put the issue of water meters on the November ballot. In November voters were asked if they wished to vote in the future on making water meters mandatory, and they answered no.(334)

1992(November 30) Lake Tahoe attained its lowest recorded lake surface elevation over its entire period of record (April 1900 to the present): 6,220.26 feet MSL. This represented a lake level 2.72 feet below its natural rim (6,223 feet MSL), and 11 feet below its highest lake surface level of 6,231.26 feet MSL recorded on July 14, 15, 17, and 18, 1907.(335)

1993(March 5) The Truckee-Carson Leasing Authority (TCLA) became incorporated in Nevada as a non-profit organization. TCLA's organizers created the agency to encourage TCID farmers to lease their water rather than sell it to satisfy upstream urban demands, wetland and wildlife needs, and other uses. It was feared that if water right holders in the Newlands Project sold their water rights outright, it would soon become too expensive and inefficient to operate the project's extensive irrigation system for those who wished to remain in agriculture. Under TCLA's organizational plan, members were to pay a $125 membership fee and then give ten percent of any profits derived from leasing to TCLA for operating costs. After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, TCLA agreed that no more than 25 percent of the water-righted acreage in the Newlands Project would be involved at any one time in leasing.(336)

1993(May) Based upon an above average water year in the Lake Tahoe Basin (149 percent of normal snow water content measured on April 1st), Lake Tahoe rose above its natural rim of 6,223 feet MSL, the first time it had done so since September 1990.(337)

1993(October) Fallon and Fernley residents formed the Lahontan Valley Environmental Alliance (LVEA). The LVEA represented an inter-local agreement between the City of Fallon, Town of Fernley, Churchill County, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, Lahontan Conservation District, and the Stillwater Conservation District. LVEA representatives represented all residents of TCID including the Newlands Water Protective Association (NWPA), which represents many water right owners.(338) Until this time, that representation had been left up to individual farmers themselves.(339) This signified a more community-wide effort to negotiate a settlement to outstanding water issues and to maintain a viable agricultural industry in the region.

1993(December) U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) and Senator Bill Bradley (New Jersey), both Democrats, held hearings in Reno to take testimony on whether Congress should re-authorize the Newlands Irrigation Project.(340)

1994(February) Pouch snails, a one-quarter inch long common snail variety found in home aquariums, were first discovered in the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility. The snails affected the plant's four nitrification towers by eating the bacteria film that removes the nitrogen, thereby increasing the possibility that the plant would exceed its allowable nitrogen discharge limit of 500 pounds per day (based on a 30-day average).(341)

1994(March 28) Sierra Pacific Power Company 's Chalk Bluff Phase I water treatment plant, located on a bluff above the Truckee River just upstream from the West McCarran Avenue Bridge, began service with a capacity of 20 million gallons per day (mgd).(342) Because several of SPPCo's other water treatment plants, namely Idlewild, Hunter Creek, and Highland, did not meet the Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR)(343) due to lack of filtration as required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), it was deemed most cost effective to remove these plants from service and replace their capacity with that of the Chalk Bluff water treatment plant. At the time of its opening, construction was also begun on a 30 mgd nominal expansion (Phase II) which was scheduled to be in service by June 1996. When completed, the design capacity of this plant would be 50 mgd with a peaking capacity of 69 mgd. Water was to be supplied via the Highland Ditch and the Orr Ditch pump station with a maximum raw water supply of 80 mgd.(344)

1994(April) Betsy Rieke, Assistant Secretary of Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior, reported to Congress that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was ready to take over the Newlands Project if the farmers could not negotiate a new contract to operate it. It was also noted in her testimony that the USBR had calculated the amount of Truckee River excess water diversions by TCID from 1973 through 1987 to be 1,058,000 acre-feet and that in accordance with the 1990 Negotiated Settlement Act (Public Law 101-618), Section 209(h)(1), the Secretary of the Interior was required to pursue through a negotiated settlement or litigation the recoupment of such waters.(345)

1994(April) In anticipation of the opening of the Chalk Bluff water treatment plant, Sierra Pacific Power Company's Idlewild water treatment plant was removed from service, but would remain available for emergency production until June 1996. SPPCo's other non-filtered plants--Highland and Hunter Creek water treatment plants--will be removed from service by June 1996.(346) Later it was decided to use the covered storage facilities at both Highland Reservoir and Hunter Creek Reservoir to store the treated water from the Chalk Bluff water treatment plant.

1994(April) Pyramid Lake's biggest fish have typically been found to be landed by hook and line during the fall and spring. This proved the case when wading fly fisherman Eldon Hanneman caught a 21 pound 8 ounce Lahontan cutthroat trout in the lake. It should be noted that the ability of Pyramid Lake to growth large trout quickly is primarily based on a unique prey-predator relationship between the lake's cutthroat trout and the abundant rough fish called tui chub (Gila bicolor). Without sufficient stocks of tui, the trout must eat microscopic animals called zooplankton, limiting growth rates dramatically. It appears that over the last two years the lake's tui chub population has made a remarkable comeback. Large schools of juvenile chubs were seen in the shallows around Pyramid Lake early last fall (1993).(347) Not unexpectedly, it appears evident that the health of the lake's cutthroat trout population and its primary food source are crucially dependent on lake inflows. During the water year ended September 1993, inflows into Pyramid Lake measured at the USGS Nixon gaging station measured 241,080 acre-feet. In the current 1994 water year inflows were a lesser 141,392 acre-feet. Even so, during the prior five water years (1988 through 1992), inflows into Pyramid Lake totaled only 154,196 acre-feet, averaged 30,839 acre-feet per year, and fell to as little as 17,496 acre-feet in the water year ended September 1992.

1994(May 18) Based on scheduled hearings on the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District's request for 100,000 acre-feet per year of additional (unappropriated) Truckee River water (see September 9, 1930 entry for application permit number 9330), Elizabeth Ann Rieke, Assistant Secretary of Water and Science of the U.S. Department of the Interior, wrote a letter(348) to the Nevada State Engineer, R. Michael Turnipseed, stating that even if TCID's request was approved, the USDI would not allow federal facilities to be used for the conveyance, storage, or delivery of Truckee River water appropriated pursuant to that application. Ms. Rieke stated that such approval was contrary to section 210(a)(2)(B) of the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act (Public Law 101-618).(349)

1994(May 31) Based on the "threshold issue" of USDI's refusal to allow federal facilities to be used for the conveyance, storage, or delivery of any Truckee River water appropriated pursuant to TCID's application permit number 9330 (see entries under September 9, 1930 and May 18, 1994), the Nevada State Engineer granted the motion to deny TCID's application number 9330 summarily without ruling on whether there exists unappropriated water, whether this application would interfere with existing rights, or whether the application would threaten to prove detrimental to the public interest.(350)

1994(June 13) Due to a resumption of drought conditions in the Truckee River Basin after a relatively wet year in 1993 (snow water content in the Lake Tahoe Basin at 149 percent of normal and 158 percent in the Truckee River Basin), the federal watermaster cut off water to the irrigation ditches in the Truckee Meadows.(351)

1994(June 30) The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District filed an appeal in the Third Judicial Court of the State of Nevada, in and for the County of Churchill, to the State Engineer's May 31, 1994 ruling which denied additional Truckee River water rights. The court subsequently ruled to remand the case back to the State Engineer for a re-hearing so additional evidence and testimony could be presented. The hearing was scheduled for November 1995, but due to federal budget problems which affected USDI's ability to attend that meeting, the hearing was not held until January 31, 1996.(352)

1994(July) U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) agreed to let a professional mediator from Resolve (Center for Environmental Dispute Resolution) of Washington, D.C.,(353) conduct negotiations to mediate and arbitrate outstanding water issues pertaining to Pyramid Lake and the Truckee and Carson rivers.

1994(August) As it had done in August of 1992, the Truckee River dried up again between Sierra Pacific Power Company's Glendale Water Treatment Plant and the Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment plant, a distance of nearly four miles.(354)

1994(September) Negotiator Gail Bingham from Resolve convened the first meeting of the Truckee-Carson Settlement Negotiations in Reno, Nevada. Participants included:

  1. U.S. Department of the Interior (Office of the Secretary);
  2. State of Nevada (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources);
  3. Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe;
  4. Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Indian Tribe;
  5. Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Governing Board (Washoe County);
  6. Sierra Pacific Power Company (Westpac Utilities);
  7. Lahontan Valley farmers and TCID (represented through the Lahontan Valley Environmental Alliance--LVEA); and
  8. the Conservation Caucus (The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, Lahontan Wetlands Coalition).

Various working groups consisted of the Modeling Working Group, Water Quality, Land Use Planning, Hydro Power, and M&I (municipal and industrial). The initial deadline for the completion of negotiations was established to be January 31, 1995.(355)

1994(October) Due to an infestation of bacteria-eating pouch snails, an exotic aquatic species of snail first discovered in the Reno-Sparks sewage treatment plant's nitrification towers in February 1994, the plant discharged an average of 804 pounds of nitrogen per day (based on a 30-day average) into the Truckee River during this month. This was the first time that the sewage treatment plant had exceeded its permitted limit of 500 pounds per day.(356)

1995(February) Sierra Pacific Power Company began collecting a fee of $1,350 per acre-foot(357) of water demand from developers to pay for the Truckee Meadows water meter retrofit program. The first phase installation was intended to target some 5,000 homes in SPPCo's service area that were built between 1980 and 1988 which already had meter boxes installed.(358) The water meter retrofit program constitutes an integral part of the Negotiated Settlement process among the cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, SPPCo, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to these negotiations, mandatory twice-a-week watering will end in 12 years, or when 90 percent of all SPPCo's customers are on water meters.(359)

1995(March 1) The Steamboat Creek Restoration Project was funded and placed under the administration of the Washoe-Storey Conservation District, Washoe County Comprehensive Planning, and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Steamboat Creek, which enters the Truckee River at the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility near Vista, represents the major contributor of non-point source pollution to the river, contributing sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and trace metals, as well as geothermal waters laden with boron and arsenic. The purpose of the project was to develop a master plan to include: (1) history of the creek and its tributaries; (2) listing of stream types and their behavior; (3) land use and project inventories for current and future development; (4) an overview of best management practices (BMP's); (5) policy and implementation guidelines; (6) permitting requirements; (7) funding opportunities; and (8) reach by reach recommendations for restoration.(360)

1995(March) Portions of the South Tahoe Public Utility District's 27-mile pipeline failed near Luther Pass. The pipeline conveys treated effluent out of the Lake Tahoe Basin, over Luther Pass, to Harvey Place Reservoir in Alpine County in the Carson River Basin. Based on a 1986 spill from the pipeline in which approximately 13 million gallons of partially treated effluent was released into Lake Tahoe, the utility was sued and forced to move the pipeline away from environmentally sensitive wetlands and portions of the Upper Truckee River. In a 1989 settlement, the utility agreed to move the pipeline by 1994; however, when this was not possible, an extension was granted until 1997.(361)

1995(March) Per prior arranged schedule, the Truckee River Settlement Negotiations terminated with a commitment for a continuing dialogue by all interested parties at the negotiating table. There was some success in negotiating issues related to Lahontan Reservoir storage (relating to a minimum pool)(362) and water quality flows on the Truckee River (greater dilution of discharges from the Reno-Sparks sewage treatment plant). Also, Reno, Sparks and Washoe County and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe agreed to settle lawsuits the tribe had filed over 12 years ago against the Reno-Sparks sewage treatment plant.(363) Even so, major issues pertaining to the restoration of Pyramid Lake and the Lahontan Valley wetlands remained unresolved.(364)

1995(April 1) A very good year, hydrologically, for the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins. The Lake Tahoe Basin's snow water content was recorded at 168 percent of normal for this time of year, after only 44 percent of normal recorded in 1994. The Truckee River Basin's snow water content (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) was measured at 184 percent of normal after only 50 percent of normal in 1994.(365)

1995(Summer) The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's 1995 Water Quality Report noted that the most recent algal's primary productivity index stood at 164 grams of carbon per square meter per year, over 3.5 times as great as the 46.5 index level recorded in 1968. Lake Tahoe's algae growth levels are measured by the Tahoe Research Group (TRG), a group of scientists who measure growth rates every 10 to 14 days at several lake depths.(366) The primary productivity index is a measure of the mass of carbon used annually by algae per unit measure of lake surface and provides an index of the eutrophic state of a body of water.(367)

1995(July 18) A sudden localized rainstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Gray Creek watershed sent extensive quantities of mud into the Truckee River just upstream from Floriston, California. By the following day (Wednesday) all Sierra Pacific Power Company's Reno, Nevada, water treatment plants were taken off line. By Thursday evening, SPPCo had enacted an outdoor watering ban which would last until Saturday, July 22nd.(368) An investigation of the Gray Creek watershed by the U.S. Forest Service showed that little could be done to effectively alleviate this periodic flood-related problem due to topographical, hydrological, and biological conditions. [Also see related entries under 1880, 1884 (August 4), 1890, 1965 (August 16), and 1992 (July 14)].(369)

1995(July) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement Water Rights Acquisition for the Lahontan Valley Wetlands. The USFWS began public scoping and planning for this document in early 1992 and conducted formal public scoping workshops, bi-monthly public meetings, and informal agency meetings since that time. The Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act, Title II, Section 206, of Public Law 101-618 (November 1990) directed the Secretary of the Interior to acquire by purchase or other means, enough water and water rights to sustain, on a long-term average, approximately 25,000 acres of primary wetlands habitat in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Carson Lake and Pasture, and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Indian Reservation wetlands. In order to meet the 25,000-acre wetland objective, the USFWS determined that an annual average total of up to 125,000 acre-feet of water would be needed. After an extensive comments period, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) would be issued in September 1996.(370)

1995 (July) The 1995 Nevada Legislature passed Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 540A requiring WaterPlanning commissions for each county. As the chapter specifically applied to counties whose population was 100,000 or more, but less than 400,000, only Washoe County (in the Truckee River Basin) was affected by the act [see NRS 540A.020]. As specified, the [Washoe County] Regional WaterPlanning Commission must consist of nine (9) voting members(371) who are residents of Nevada and are appointed as follows:(372) (1) one member appointed by the governing body of the largest city in the county [i.e., Reno City Council]; (2) one member appointed by the governing body of the next largest city in the county [i.e., Sparks City Council]; (3) one member appointed by the board of county commissioners [i.e., Washoe County]; (4) one member appointed by the [Washoe County] board of county commissioners to represent owners of domestic wells; (5) one member appointed by the governing body of a general improvement district (GID)(373) having the greatest number of customers for water and sewage in the region; (6) one member appointed by the largest public utility water purveyor in region;(374) (7) one member appointed by the governing body of the largest (in area) Indian reservation in the county(375) (or, if none, or none is appointed, then the board of county commissioners will appointed a member to represent the public at large); (8) one member appointed by the governing bodies of the two largest cities [Reno and Sparks] by mutual agreement to represent environmental, biological, conservation or public concerns; and (9) one member appointed by the governing body of the irrigation district which has the largest number of members in the region(376). The purpose of the regional WaterPlanning commission was to develop a comprehensive regional water plan which addressed specific elements.(377) All statutory authority for the commission was mandated to expire on July 30, 1997; however, requirements related to the remediation of water quality(378) and transfer of water supply facilities and certain other matters(379) were not provided expiration dates.

1995(July 24) Four wells used by Sierra Pacific Power Company to supply drinking water to central Reno during the previous week's water emergency, which was caused by sediment-laden waters flowing out of Gray Creek, showed traces of water contamination by tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene, or PCE), a solvent often used for degreasing and in dry cleaning. Three of the subject wells which exceeded the EPA safe drinking-water standard included Kietzke Lane, Mill Street, and High Street, and one well, Corbett Street, was only slightly below the EPA standard of 0.005 parts per million.(380) [Studies have shown that high concentrations of this chemical, also called perclene, can cause liver and kidney damage, including cancer, in animals, although in humans not enough information is available to say it is a definite carcinogen.](381)

1995(July) A near-record water year of precipitation in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River basins did much to recharge groundwater and replenish near-empty reservoirs. Lake Tahoe rose 5.97 feet from its most recent low point on October 31, 1994 of 6,221.01 feet MSL (1.99 feet below its natural rim) to a peak surface elevation of 6,226.99 feet MSL on July 29, 1995 (3.99 feet above its natural rim and 2.11 feet below its maximum allowable elevation of 6,229.1 feet MSL). The total increase in Lake Tahoe's storage was estimated to be 726,410 acre-feet (236.703 billion gallons), which included 240,810 acre-feet to recharge the lake's deficit and bring its surface water elevation up to its natural rim of 6,223.0 feet MSL, and an additional 485,600 acre-feet of increased storage above its natural rim.(382) Stampede Reservoir also filled, peaking at 236,199 acre-feet on July 19, 1995, the first time this reservoir had been filled in over ten years. Pyramid Lake's level rose by at least 3.77 feet from its recent low point recorded on January 3, 1995 to 3,796.94 feet MSL recorded on July 31, 1995.(383) Lahontan Reservoir on the lower Carson River also filled, peaking at 316,300 acre-feet on July 25, 1995.(384) This allowed the diversions at Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River to be virtually cut off by the end of March 1995.(385) As a precautionary measure, and because Floriston rates (i.e., Orr Ditch Decree rights) were being satisfied from natural and other reservoir flows, the federal watermaster decided not to allow any discharges from Lake Tahoe.

1995(August 8) Churchill County filed a formal request with the USBR in Carson City to receive approximately 20,000 acre-feet of Truckee River water for supplemental municipal and industrial use to be delivered through the Truckee Canal and the existing distribution network in Churchill County, Nevada. The water would come from Claim 3 of the Orr Ditch Decree which allows up to 1,500 cfs (nominal capacity of the Truckee Canal is only 900 cfs) of water to be diverted at Derby Dam on the lower Truckee River.(386) Since Truckee River diversions began at Derby Dam in 1906 for Newlands Project farmlands, this represented the first formal request for an additional interbasin transfer of Truckee River water for a purpose (municipal and industrial) other than agriculture. Many individual water users in this area rely on shallow alluvial aquifers, portions of which are recharged by Newlands Project water. This has heightened concerns that water rights purchases on lands irrigated by the project could dramatically affect the reliability of future water supplies.(387) The Negotiated Settlement specifies that the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to "...operate and maintain the project for the purpose of...municipal and industrial water supply in Lyon and Churchill counties, Nevada."(388)

1995(August 29) A $10 million settlement was reached with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection based on fuel contamination at the Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline tank farm in Sparks, Nevada. In addition to the fine, the companies that had been party to the suit filed by the NDEP in January 1991 agreed to be liable for continued mitigation of the fuel spill and to insure that the plume of contaminated groundwater would not reach the Truckee River. Other potential litigation still remained on this issue with the City of Sparks and private parties.(389) The City of Sparks would later settle its claims for the sum of $12 million.

1995(September) TCID requested that the USBR approve its request to allow an estimated 3,500 acre-feet of its water stored in Donner Lake to be used for the Fernley Wildlife Management Area, an area located just north of the Truckee Canal between Fernley and Hazen, primarily in Lyon County. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe argued against the plan claiming that TCID had already spilled approximately 70,000 acre-feet of Truckee River water from Lahontan Reservoir this year(390) and the water released from Donner Lake during the forthcoming winter and spring should be used instead to support endangered and threatened fish species in Pyramid Lake.(391)

1995(October) The $26.7 million lawsuit filed in 1984 by the Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 1984 over its land-use powers and based on the classic "taking" of property barred by the U.S. Constitution without just compensation was ordered by the federal court into mediation sessions. Thus far, the case has survived more than a decade of court actions, including two separate dismissals and repeated appeals.(392)

1995(November 1) By means of an agreement between Sierra Pacific Power Company and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the Federal Water Master dropped the Truckee River's minimum allowable rate of flow at the Farad gaging station from 350 cfs (Orr Ditch Decree rights, i.e., Floriston rates) to 300 cfs. The difference in flow will allow an estimated 20,000-30,000 acre-feet to be stored in Stampeded Reservoir and used during the next spring's spawning run for Pyramid Lake's endangered cui-ui sucker fish. This permanent agreement will also increase SPPCo's storage capacity in Stampede Reservoir to 39,000 acre-feet.(393)

1995(December 1) Churchill County filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the federal government from acquiring and transferring water rights to the Lahontan Valley wetlands and/or to Pyramid Lake. The injunction called for a more comprehensive "programmatic Environmental Impact Study" to be completed to assess the cumulative impacts of a number of federal government actions taking place simultaneously.(394) Claiming that none of the studies thus far had done a particularly good job of assessing the pervasive effects on Lahontan Valley of the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Settlement Act (Public Law 101-618), the county claimed that water rights transfers would dry up local aquifers and adversely affect homes and businesses.(395)

1995(December 8) One week after Churchill County filed for an injunction to prevent further acquisition of Newlands Project water rights by the federal government for Lahontan Valley wetlands and/or Pyramid Lake, the U.S. Justice Department, on the behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, filed a suit in Reno federal district court against TCID demanding full return of approximately 1,057,000 acre-feet(396) of waters diverted from the Truckee River between 1973 and 1987 (15 years) in violation of existing OCAPs.(397) In addition to the recoupment amount, the suit also sought "in-kind interest." According to the complaint, the recoupment figure was derived from:(398)

  1. 151,130 acre-feet of water diverted during the 15-year time frame that was sent to Lahontan Reservoir at the same time that water was being released [spilled] from Lahontan Dam as a precaution to prevent flooding;
  2. 188,368 acre-feet of water that was diverted during the 15-year time frame in the winter months and stored in Lahontan Reservoir and then later spilled as precautionary releases and was over OCAP allowances;
  3. 682,215 acre-feet of diversions made to Fallon farmers in excess to the 1973 OCAP limitation;
  4. 32,253 acre-feet of excessive diversions to Fernley, Hazen, and Swingle Bench farmers;
  5. and
  6. Approximately 10,034 acre-feet in additional miscellaneous (unspecified) diversions.

1995(December) The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency created the Shorezone Partnership Committee of 20 organizations and entities to lessen the problems among those interested in the future development of the lake. Those represented include: California and Nevada state lands; California and Nevada state parks, California Department of Fish and Game, California Tahoe Conservancy, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board; League to Save Lake Tahoe; Nevada Division of Wildlife; Tahoe Lakefront Owners Association; TRPA; Tahoe Research Group; Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Forest Service; commercial property owners; Lake Tahoe marinas; Lake Tahoe tour-boat operators; other private property owners; and Lake Tahoe Basin recreation concessionaires.(399)

1995(December) A resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) pertaining to Lake Tahoe was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The resolution would: (1) resurrect previously established authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the Truckee River Basin and extend that authority to the Lake Tahoe Basin, and (2) instruct the COE to examine all studies on water quality and wetlands at Lake Tahoe and report to Congress with a plan for environmental restoration. This action represented the first step in ultimately obtaining up to $25 million in federal aid to address growing water clarity problems at Lake Tahoe. Four key watersheds within the basin have been identified for restoration projects: the Upper Truckee River and Edgewood Creek on the lake's south shore, and Incline Creek and Third Creek on the north shore.(400)

1995(December) Due to the infestation of pouch snails in the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility discovered in February 1994, discharges of nitrogen into the Truckee River averaged 2,084 pounds per day during this month, over four times the permitted maximum level of 500 pounds per day. In fact, daily nitrogen discharges from the plant have exceeded the permitted maximum level since October 1994.(401) In order to avoid future fines contemplated by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, plant operators have proposed a $1.8 million project to alter the plant's plumbing so as to be able to isolate the four nitrification towers so that they may be treated independently to kill both the snails and their eggs without the risk that the chemicals would get into the Truckee River.

1996(January 23) An agreement was signed by South Lake Tahoe casinos, a major Lake Tahoe property owner, and government agencies to proceed with a multi-million dollar drainage project. Harvey's Resort, Harrah's Tahoe, Caesars Tahoe, the Lake Tahoe Horizon, Park Cattle Company, Douglas County, and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) formed the Stateline Stormwater Association. Stormwater treatment facilities will include underground vaults, filters and pipelines, and above-ground ponds and holding basins to capture and clean sediment-laden polluted water before it enters Lake Tahoe.(402) Such runoff has been a major source of the lake's recent loss of clarity, increased algae growth, and lake euthrophication.

1996(February 21) In an event all too typical and highly reflective of the variable hydrology of the Truckee River Basin, as of February 19th the SNOTEL(403) precipitation update reported that Truckee River Basin snow water content was at 79 percent of normal and that of Lake Tahoe Basin at 96 percent of normal for this time of year. After one extensive storm system moved through the area, however, on February 21st the SNOTEL update showed the Truckee River Basin snow water content at 106 percent of normal and Lake Tahoe Basin at 107 percent of normal.(404)

1996(March) The Nevada Weed Management Association (NvWMA), located at the University of Nevada, Reno, was formed to address the concerns of noxious weed control within the State of Nevada and particularly to address weed problems along the Truckee River and its tributaries. The organization's research has shown that weeds are increasing at a rate of 14 percent per year and within five years their acreage will effectively double. Activities of the association's inter-disciplinary advisory board will emphasize: (1) plant identification; (2) research and recommendations; (3) remediation and weed control; and (4) information dissemination.(405)

1996(March) Sierra Pacific Power Company installed a higher capacity solids removable system at their Chalk Bluff water treatment plant. This modification allowed the Truckee Meadows' primary water treatment facility to increase its treatment capability from waters having a turbidity of approximately 350 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU's)(406) to waters having turbidity up to 3,000 NTU's.(407) In July 1995, SPPCo was forced to shut down this primary water treatment plant when a localized thunderstorm in the Gray Creek watershed, located just above Floriston, California, sent extensive quantities of mud into the Truckee River, forcing an outdoor watering ban in the Truckee Meadows. This improvement to the treatment capabilities of the Chalk Bluff plant will now allow SPPCo to handle the level of turbidity which forced the plant to close for a brief period of time in 1995.

1996(March 25) The Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Peter G. Morros, initiated negotiations with two of the parties to the Negotiated Settlement: TCID and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe. By agreement, only two members from each interest were to participate in the new negotiations; the DCNR Director would act as facilitator and group spokesman. The negotiations would attempt to resolve the outstanding water issues.(408) After meeting twelve times, the negotiations would be terminated in July when the parties failed to agree on which topics could be discussed.(409)

1996(March 28) In response to the proposed merger of the Union Pacific [Railroad] Corporation and Southern Pacific [Railroad] Corporation,(410) the Reno City Council voted to oppose the largest railroad merger in U.S. history by filing a resolution of opposition and numerous other documents with the federal Surface Transportation Board (Department of Transportation), which will decide on the merger in August 1996.(411) In an earlier assessment of this merger and its potential impact on the Truckee River Basin, three Indian tribes--Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and the Battle Mountain Band Temoak Tribe of Western Shoshone--noted that the railroad runs along the entire length of the Truckee River from Wadsworth, Nevada, to Truckee, California (as well as along the Humboldt River through the Nevada counties of Lyon, Churchill, Pershing, Humboldt, Lander, Eureka, and Elko). The planned merger would increase the daily train traffic along this environmentally-sensitive route from the current 14 trains to 32 trains (Union Pacific estimate), or 38 trains (City of Reno estimate), and potentially pose a significant risk to drinking water supplies in the Truckee Meadows, the Pyramid Lake fishery, as well as the water flowing to the Newlands Project, should a major spill occur along its route.(412) The railroad tracks run adjacent to the Truckee River through both the upper Truckee River canyon (between Truckee, California, and Reno, Nevada) and the lower Truckee River canyon (between Sparks and Wadsworth, Nevada).

1996(April 1) Another satisfying hydrologic year for the Truckee River Basin. As of this date, snow water content within the Lake Tahoe Basin was measured at 116 percent of normal for this time of year, which, following 1995's 168 percent or normal recording, dramatically rejuvenated the basin's water resources. The Truckee River Basin (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) recorded a snow water content of 121 percent of normal.(413) According to the Nevada State Climatologist, John James, these water conditions proved sufficient to officially end the 1987-1994 severe drought period.

1996(April 29) The South Tahoe Public Utility District announced an accelerated schedule for re-routing its 27-mile pipeline which transports treated effluent out of the Lake Tahoe Basin over Luther Pass to Harvey Place Reservoir in Alpine County in the Carson River Basin. The move was triggered by several sewage spills from the pipeline in recent years, the latest occurring in March 1995 near Luther Pass. Since its initial construction nearly 30 years ago, the pipeline has generally run parallel to the environmentally-sensitive Upper Truckee River. All work on the pipeline's new routing was expected to be completed in approximately five years.(414)

1996(May) The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection discovered that a small sewage treatment plant, which has been in operation for 21 years near Verdi, Nevada, has been leaking for ten years or more. The plant, owned by the Verdi Meadows Utility Company, is located less than one mile from the Truckee River, north of Verdi, and about 1,700 feet from the company's water well used by the River Oak subdivision's 50 homes. In the fall of 1995, this same well tested positive for ammonia, indicating that in addition to groundwater contamination, the leaking sewage treatment plant may have also affected the utility's drinking-water well.(415)

1996(May 7) The Nevada-Tahoe Conservation District, a Lake Tahoe Basin environmental agency, approved a resolution to ask the U.S. Congress to designate the Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum) a noxious weed due to its threat to Lake Tahoe's water quality and clarity. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has already identified the weed as a major threat to the lake's water quality. If declared a noxious weed, Congress would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release funding for weed control. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would continue its research on the exotic species, which was introduced into Lake Tahoe in the 1960s. Reportedly, the watermilfoil sucks algae nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from lake-bottom sediments and then ejects them into the water. The weed is a fast grower, can warm water temperatures, change fishery habitat, and displace native plants. The State of California Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has established a scientific advisory panel to study the issue.(416)

1996(May 21) Up to 3,000 gallons of partially-treated wastewater spilled into the Truckee River from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility. This represented the second time within the last year that wastewater or sludge had escaped from the plant into the river via the plant's storm drain system. The spill reflected a vulnerability in the plant's design in which the storm drain system was not connected to the treatment system. It was noted by officials of the Bureau of Water Pollution Control, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, that while the state cannot mandate such a modification to the plant's treatment system, it can encourage such a change in lieu of paying a fine.(417)

1996(June) The Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project was released. This project was a $6.3 million study and assessment, commissioned by the U.S. Congress, and funded by the U.S. Forest Service, intended as a tool for policy makers as they plan for the future of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and its various watersheds. The 3,200-page study, written by 107 scientists, noted that the climate in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which is the source of much of California's and western Nevada's water, may be getting drier. It was noted that "Periods of century-long droughts have occurred within the last 1,200 years and may recur in the near future."(418)

1996(June) Northern Nevada horticulturists and weed experts raised the alarm over the spread of exotic, noxious weeds into major agricultural areas in Northern Nevada's water basins. Particular concern in the Carson River Basin was due to the spread of the Russian knapweed, or diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa) from federally-owned land in the Pine Nut Mountains into the fertile pastures of the Carson Valley. The Russian knapweed secretes a toxin that kills other plants, allowing it to take over cash crops, lawns, gardens, and pasture. The knapweed, which can grow several feet high, spreads by seed and an aggressive root system that can reach for 20 feet or more. In the Truckee River Basin and lower Carson River Basin, a primary concern was with the perennial pepperweed, commonly known as tall whitetop (Lepidium latifolium). The tall whitetop, like the knapweed, secretes a toxin poisonous to other plants and has reportedly taken over thousands of acres and is a particular threat to alfalfa crops along the Truckee River. It currently constitutes a major problem in the Truckee Meadows and in the Fallon area (Newlands Project) and is expected to become a problem in Douglas County (Carson Valley) as well. In locations along the Truckee River, it has proven very difficult to control as it grows near water and the use of herbicides could be a danger to the river's endangered fish species, the cui-ui. A special problem with tall whitetop is that the ideal time to spray herbicides also coincides with the cui-ui spawning season. Other problem plants include yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), Canada thistle (Circium arvense), puncture vine (Tribulus terrestris), and whitetop (Cardaria draba).(419)

1996(June 12) Phase II of Sierra Pacific Power Company's Chalk Bluff water treatment plant began service bringing the plant's total rated capacity up to 75 million gallons per day. Phase I was brought into service on March 28, 1994. With the removal of SPPCo's Idlewild, Hunter Creek, and Highland water treatment plants, for the first time all of the SPPCo's drinking water is filtered in accordance with more stringent requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).(420) Approximately 75 percent of SPPCo's drinking water comes from the Truckee River while the remaining 25 percent comes from wells located within the Truckee Meadows.(421)

1996(June 17) In a compromise that returned funding to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's budget that had been gutted by a Republican-dominated California Assembly, it was noted that frustrations had grown over the TRPA's reported "unfriendly" nature and a general belief that the TRPA represents a "bureaucratic nightmare." The compromise would require the TRPA to contract for an independent audit of agency operations, set up a 120-day permit deadline, and report on the success of these actions by April 1997 to a California Joint Legislative Budget Committee.(422) With respect to this matter, it was noted by Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino owner who serves as Nevada's at-large TRPA member, that constraints of the federal compact which established the bi-state agency require strict adherence to procedures that may limit the agency's ability to move as quickly as desired.(423)

1996(June 24) The Sparks City Council unanimously approved a water quality settlement agreement that would end a number of contentious lawsuits over the Truckee River. [See entries under December 4, 1981, July 20, 1982, and December 1988.] The proposed agreement, which included the cities of Reno and Sparks, Washoe County, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe, and other governmental agencies, calls for the purchase of $24 million of Truckee River water rights to insure that effluent discharges from the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (i.e.,Reno-Sparks Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility, formerly the Reno-Sparks Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, and before that the Reno-Sparks Joint Sewage Treatment Plant) receive sufficient dilution even during the most severe drought periods. Supplemental benefits would also provide for more consistent instream flows in the lower Truckee River.(424) Truckee River water rights will be purchased from willing sellers below Vista, in Fernley and in the Swingle Bench and Hazen areas that are served by TCID. The cost will be evenly shared by the federal government on one hand, and Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County on the other. Water rights purchases were expected to begin by August 1996.(425)

1996(June 26) The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved a 20-year master plan for Heavenly Ski Resort located at South Lake Tahoe in the Lake Tahoe Basin, reportedly the "biggest thing" the TRPA had done in 20 years. The plan, seven years in preparation, called for $90 million for construction of new ski lifts and ski runs and improvements to existing lodges and restaurants. Central to the project was a high-speed gondola which would link the ski area to the Park Avenue Project, a $150 million redevelopment complex. Supporters claimed the two projects would boost an ailing tourism economy and help protect the environment, while environmentalists and residents claimed the project would pollute the lake and "...send it on a nose-dive from which it can never recover..."(426)

1996(June 28) After several days of rain in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Lake Tahoe's surface elevation reached 6,229.09 feet MSL, 0.01 feet (0.12 inch) below is maximum legal limit of 6,229.1 feet MSL, prompting Federal Water Master Garry Stone to increase discharges at the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City, California. This was reportedly the highest lake level since 1957 and insured sufficient water in the Truckee River for at least the next two years. Sierra Pacific Power Company reported that it had enough stored water in its Sierra reservoirs to supply the Truckee Meadows through a ten-year drought period.(427)

1996(July 9) Washoe County District Health Department reported that 21 five-gallon containers of a toxic pesticide were found dumped along the Truckee River in Verdi, Nevada. None on the containers, which contained a toxic solution of pentachlorophenol (a petroleum-based solution) and carbamate (a pesticide used to treat wood and prevent insect infestations), had leaked into the river.(428) The location of the dump site was upstream from the diversion point of Sierra Pacific Power Company's Chalk Bluff Water Treatment Plant, which serves much of the municipal in industrial water needs of the entire Truckee Meadows and the cities of Reno and Sparks.

1996(July 9) The City of Sparks, Nevada, broke ground on an $8.2 million pipeline project intended to use treated effluent from the Reno-Sparks Sewage Treatment Plant to irrigate the Don Mello and Shadow Mountain sports complexes and the Wildcreek Golf Course.(429) The pipeline has a capacity of one million gallons per day(430) (1.55 cubic feet per second, or 1,120 acre-feet per year) and represented the first effort in the Truckee Meadows to use effluent discharges from this treatment plant for such purposes.

1996(July 10) U.S. Senator Harry Reid (Nevada) reported that he had asked President Clinton to convene a federal conference on issues surrounding the environmental condition and degradation of Lake Tahoe. Senator Reid, noting that the lake's clarity had declined from 140 feet to 70 feet over the last 70 years, stated that it had been at least 20 years since the federal government had taken a look at the Lake Tahoe area. Senator Reid's action followed a similar request in February 1996 by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.(431)

1996(July) An unpublished study by University of Nevada, Reno, Geological Engineering Professor and statistician James R. Carr, which was commissioned by Sierra Pacific Power Company, estimated that a railroad accident that spilled toxins into the Truckee River could happen once ever 80 to 154 years.(432) The study was based on present rail traffic of 14 trains per day; however, based on the proposed merger between the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, this figure could go as high as 32 trains per day (Union Pacific estimate) or 38 trains per day (City of Reno estimate), thereby increasing the risk proportionally.(433) It was noted that risks of accidents increased with steeper grades, sharper curves, and higher trains speeds. All these factors are most prevalent in the upper Truckee River canyon between Truckee, California, and Verdi, Nevada, where the probability of a spill is therefore greatest. It was also noted that one possible mitigation to such a spill that would virtually shut down the water supply for the Truckee Meadows would be to run a pipeline from either Boca or Stampede Reservoir to SPPCo's Chalk Bluff water treatment plant.(434)

1996(July 22) After twelve negotiation sessions between representatives of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe and Fallon farmers, negotiations were terminated without agreement when both parties failed to agree on which issues could be discussed. The sessions, which began on March 25, 1996, were led by the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director, Peter G. Morros. Some progress was made with respect to the Fallon farmers being open to the idea of storing some of their Truckee River water in Sierra Nevada Mountain reservoirs and bringing it down to Lahontan Reservoir via the Truckee Canal later in the spring.(435) This would have allowed a more accurate determination of Carson River shortfalls which would then be made up by TCID's Truckee River allocation. [See related entry for December 9, 1996.]

1996(August 2) Congress overwhelmingly voted to revamp the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and created a $7.6 billion revolving loan fund by which local water agencies would be able to improve decaying municipal and rural water systems.(436) More important changes included: (1) allowing small water systems (i.e., those serving in most cases no more than 3,330 customers) greater flexibility, including less monitoring and record keeping, in meeting federal water standards to reduce costs; (2) freeing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to focus federal standards on those contaminants posing the greatest health rises, e.g., the parasite cryptosporidium,(437) instead of regulating a fixed number of chemicals each year; and (3) allowing $10 million to be spent for increased research into the health effects and ways to protect water from arsenic, radon, and cryptosporidium.(438) The legislation was signed by President Clinton on August 6, 1996.(439)

1996(August 29) The Nevada Division of Water Resources informed the Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) that in both 1994 and 1995 the IVGID had used virtually all of the 3,905 acre-feet per year of water permitted to be pumped from Lake Tahoe under state law. According to the California-Nevada Interstate Compact signed by California in 1970 and Nevada in 1971, the Nevada portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin can pump a maximum of 11,000 acre-feet per year from the lake. Officials of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency noted that before that agency approves any new projects or parcel divisions within the IVGID, it will require the district to show proof of adequate water capacity.(440)

1996(September 12) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released its Final Environmental Impact Statement Water Rights Acquisition for the Lahontan Valley Wetlands. The Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act, Title II, Section 206, of Public Law 101-618 (November 1990) directed the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to acquire by purchase or other means, sufficient water and water rights to sustain, on a long-term average, approximately 25,000 acres of primary wetlands habitat in Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Carson Lake and Pasture, and Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Indian Reservation wetlands. In order to meet the 25,000-acre wetland objective, the USFWS determined that an annual average total of up to 125,000 acre-feet of water would be needed. The USFWS had begun public scoping and planning for this document in early 1992 and released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in July 1995. Based on the comments received from this DEIS, the USFWS developed five alternative actions, to include a required "no action" baseline condition (Alternative 1). Through the public scoping process, eight significant indicators were identified. The USFWS developed four alternatives to the "Proposed Action" (Alternative 2). Except for the "No Action Alternative" (Alternative 1), the volume of water that would reach the wetlands under each alternative would be similar to that proposed under the "Proposed Action." The "Proposed Action" and each of the action alternatives (Alternatives 3, 4, and the "Preferred Alternative," 5) would meet the objective of Public Law 101-618 to protect and sustain 25,000 acres of primary wetland habitat. The "No Action Alternative" (Alternative 1) would not meet that objective.(441)

1996(September 18) U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben denied the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District's motions to dismiss the federal government's water recoupment issue raised in Public Law 101-618 (Negotiated Settlement).(442) This issue centered on the time period of 1973 through 1988 when federal officials contend that TCID over-diverted 1,057,000 acre-feet of Truckee River water at Derby Dam in opposition to current Operating Criteria and Procedures. Judge McKibben cited his reasons for denial as: (1) a general public interest existed in the government seeking the recovery of the water; and (2) the U.S. Supreme Court has noted the government's duty to protect the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe's interests.(443)

1996(September 30) A panel of environmental experts(444) speaking at a Nevada Environmental Conference held at the University of Nevada, Reno, reported that government agencies in California and Nevada have a long way to go before they are prepared to react effectively to a toxic chemical spill along the Truckee River. It was noted that the Truckee River's waters pass through three California counties (Placer, Nevada, and Sierra) and four Nevada counties (Truckee River--Washoe and Storey; Truckee Canal--Lyon and Churchill) before they reach Pyramid Lake (Truckee River Basin) or Lahontan Reservoir (Carson River Basin). It was noted that the various police, fire, and health departments, as well as the newly consolidated Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, have yet to create a plan to coordinate response to a spill along the river. Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County currently have a 90-member hazardous spill response team; however, the team technically cannot respond to upstream spills in California. It was also noted that the Federal Water Master in Reno, Nevada, would have to be included in the planning process if additional releases from upstream reservoirs are required in the event of a spill. Even then, it was noted that river decrees and operating agreements may preclude the Federal Water Master from taking such action.(445)

1996(October 1) The City of Sparks, Nevada, announced its desire to turn off the pumps at the former Helm's gravel pit and turn it into a lake and regional park by the year 2002. By turning off the pumps, the approximately six million gallons of water a day (6,721 acre-feet per year) currently being pumped from the pit and transported via the People's Ditch to the Truckee River would be used to fill the pit. Supporting the termination of pumping, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the pit discharges, issued by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, has required significant reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in these discharges by July 1997. These compounds contribute to undesirable algae growth in the Truckee River. However, pumping at the pit and the pollution cleanup program at the Sparks Solvent/Fuel tank farm site, located approximately one mile to the west, are closely linked. It is feared that by turning off the pumps the resultant rise in the water table will saturate a "smear zone" which has become contaminated by a plume of petroleum products stretching from the tank farm to the gravel pit. Saturation of this zone could jeopardize decontamination efforts using a combined soil vapor extraction process and groundwater extraction process, and very possibly spread the contamination even further. The responsible parties for this cleanup operation are currently preparing technical reports to demonstrate that filling the pit will not have a detrimental impact on the ongoing cleanup efforts or surface or groundwater quality. These reports are to be submitted to appropriate state regulatory agencies by December 1996 and a final decision on filling the pit is anticipated in early 1997. Alternatives to filling the pit would be to transport the discharged waters to municipal treatment facilities at the Glendale water treatment plant and then use the treated water for municipal purposes.(446)

1996(October 8) In an incident revealing of the potential for environmental damage to the Lake Tahoe ecosystem from existing and continued development within the basin, a double-tanker fuel truck overturned on U.S. Highway 50 near Cave Rock along the lake's western shore in Douglas County, Nevada. One of the tanks ruptured and spilled between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel onto the road surface and into culverts leading to the lake. Between 200 and 300 gallons actually entered the lake but were largely confined within a private harbor area and later soaked up with absorbent pads. It was noted that quick action by emergency workers and volunteers was crucial in reducing the scope of the spill.(447)

1996(October 9) Sierra Pacific Power Company announced results of their water meter installation and retrofit program for their customers in the Truckee Meadows. The water meter retrofit program was a requirement of the Truckee River Negotiated Settlement (Public Law 101-618). The settlement provided Reno and Sparks more drought storage in Stampede Reservoir and gave federal agencies authorization to buy water rights for Pyramid Lake's endangered cui-ui fish and Lahontan Valley wetlands, located in the lower Carson River Basin. All new homes built after 1988 are required to have water meters installed. Since July 1995, SPPCo has retrofitted 1,751 homes with water meters, bringing the total number of homes with meters in SPPCo's service area up to 14,500. Meter installation is essentially free to the customer and is funded by developers. Within its service area of the Truckee Meadows, SPPCo has approximately 42,500 homes without meters and at the current rate of installation of approximately 2,000-2,500 installations per year, it is estimated that it will take nearly 12 years to complete the project. Under state law, metered billing will become mandatory for all retrofitted homes in Reno and Sparks once a 90 percent level of retrofit has been attained.(448)

1996(October 9) The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized a land exchange in the Lake Tahoe Basin whereby 1,400 acres of urban land in Las Vegas, valued at $27 million, was exchanged for 35 acres of Lake Tahoe property valued at $24 million. The Lake Tahoe land, which is located along U.S. Highway 50 just north of Zephyr Cove in Douglas County, Nevada, features a mile-long stretch of beach. The land was turned over to the U.S. Forest Service for management. National forest lands already surround the acquired land on three sides and the entire area is a wintering area for bald eagles.(449)

1996(October 10) In a public meeting held at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences, scientists warned that climate changes caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases (global warming) could leave California, and by extension, the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, "whipsawed between floods and drought and its elaborate water-supply and reservoir system unable to meet current and future water demands." Similar to western Nevada, California's ability to supply fresh water to its urban population and farmers throughout the summer months is critically dependent on its reservoir and aqueduct system which, in turn, is completely dependent on snowfall. Climate models currently predict that California will warm by an average of 2-4F by the middle of the next century if greenhouse gases are not reduced. It was also predicted that the more intense warming will occur during the winter months when California (and the Sierras) typically receives more than 80 percent of its precipitation. Consequently, under this scenario, not only will the snowpack melt sooner, but much of what now falls as snow will instead fall as midwinter rain.(450) With respect to western and northern Nevada, this implies that those river systems without significant main-stream storage facilities, i.e., the Carson, Walker, and Humboldt rivers, will be more prone to flooding and early runoff, with the possibility of a shortened irrigation season for agriculture. With respect to the Truckee River, which contains a number of upstream storage reservoirs, this implies that releases will have to be extended over a longer period. Currently, nearly 55 percent of the Truckee River's total (average) annual runoff at the USGS Farad gaging station (located 3.5 miles upstream from the California-Nevada state line) occurs during the months of March, April, May, and June.(451)

1996(October 10) Ending litigation begun in December 1988 (also see entries under December 4, 1981 and July 20, 1982) when the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility increased its treatment and effluent capacity from 30 to 40 million gallons per day, a signing ceremony was held at Wingfield Park in Downtown Reno to finalize the Truckee River Water Quality Agreement.(452) In exchange for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe dropping its lawsuits and allowing the cities of Reno and Sparks to use the full 40 million gallons per day capacity of their wastewater treatment plant, the cities and the U.S. Department of the Interior agreed to spend $24 million to purchase Truckee River water rights.(453) The water rights acquisition cost will be shared equally between the cities and the USDI. The purchased water, estimated to total approximately 24,000 acre-feet, will be stored in upstream reservoirs and released during low-flow periods.(454) This acquisition represented the first such water purchased specifically for the Truckee River itself and will be used to dilute treated effluent discharges from the treatment plant and to provide more water for Pyramid Lake.(455) A computer model predicted that over a 95-year period the additional water will allow Pyramid Lake to rise by 11 feet over its level without the acquisition. The cost to local residents of the Truckee Meadows was estimated at $0.41 per customer per month, and sewer hookup fees were predicted to rise by $200 per home.(456)

1996(October 11) The Bruce R. Thompson United States Courthouse and Federal Building was officially dedicated in Downtown Reno, Nevada. The ten-story building, containing 194,000 square feet of floor space and costing $35 million, was named in honor of Judge Thompson, who died in 1992 after serving 30 years on the federal bench. During his tenure Judge Thompson heard many northern Nevada water rights-related cases and was the presiding judge for the culmination of the 1980 Alpine Decree, which adjudicated water rights on the Carson River and held the dubious distinction of being the longest running (over 55 years; i.e., May 11, 1925-October 28, 1980, appeal decided January 24, 1983) court battle ever waged over water rights by the federal government against private interests.(457)

1996(October 22) An estimated 230,000 gallons of treated wastewater spilled from a broken portion of the South Tahoe Public Utility District pipeline which is used to pump treated effluent out of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Due to the fortuitous presence of two retention basins located near the site of the break, only about 25 gallons of the spilled effluent actually drained into the Upper Truckee River, which eventually flows into Lake Tahoe.(458) Particularly troubling about this incident was the fact that the break occurred in a portion of the pipeline that had just been installed during the previous summer, and that this spill was only slightly less than one in March 1995 when approximately 250,000 gallons of treated effluent was spilled from STPUD's pipeline near Luther Pass.(459)

1996(October 22) Acting on a 1995 state law, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to create two assessment districts encompassing all businesses and homeowners who would benefit from the cleanup of contaminated groundwater in a defined area of the Truckee Meadows.(460) The groundwater had become contaminated by a carcinogenic cleaning solvent named perchloroethylene (PCE), used since the 1920's primarily by dry cleaners, paint shops, and auto-repair businesses. The preliminary map of the assessment districts showed contamination on both sides of the Truckee River from the west side of Reno to the eastern edge of Sparks, with much of the pollution concentrated in the Sparks industrial area south of the river. The cleanup was estimated to cost $6.6 million and take up to 20 years to complete.(461)

1996(October 31) Bill Pugsley, in a testament to the perseverance of (his own and) the Donner Party and its trek across the Great Basin 150 years earlier, walked the 900-mile Donner Party route from South Pass, Wyoming,(462) to Donner Lake State Park near Truckee, California, averaging some 8.4 miles per day. Beginning on July 17, 1996, Pugsley, a resident of Reno, Nevada, was guided along the way by local historians and archeologists who charted the original route of the Donner Party.(463) Pugsley arrived at the park 150 years to the day after the first wagons of the Donner Party had arrived. Subsequent to the Donner Party's arrival at this location, on November 1, 1846, lead elements of the party moved on beyond Donner Lake but found the pass over the Sierras blocked by five feet of snow. By November 6, 1846, snowdrifts ten feet high precluded further efforts to cross the pass. They then had to return to the east end of the lake where they would become entombed in extremely heavy snowfall until the following Spring, by which time starvation and deprivation reduced their number to nearly half.(464)

1996(November 5) Voters in Nevada and California approved $30 million in total funding for the issuance of general obligation bonds to support erosion control and stream restoration projects within the Lake Tahoe Basin. With matching grants and other contributions, it was estimated that the total amount of available funding may be expanded to $40 million. Voters in Nevada passed Question 12 (by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent) which provided for $20 million in general obligation bonds, while voters in California passed Proposition 204 (by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent) which, among other state water projects, allocated $10 million to Lake Tahoe restoration projects.(465)

1996(November 7) Only sixteen days after an estimated 230,000 gallons of treated effluent spilled from a broken portion of the South Tahoe Public Utility District's out-of-basin transfer pipeline, another 5,000 gallons of treated wastewater spilled directly into the Upper Truckee River. Unlike the prior spill, which was virtually entirely contained within holding basins located at the pipeline break, this most recent spill flowed directly into the Upper Truckee River and thence into Lake Tahoe. The leak occurred when contractors installing the new sewer line failed to plug three small holes prior to testing.(466)

1996(November) Rocketdyne, a division of Rockwell International Corporation, announced its intention to formally request permission from state and county health agencies to expand its existing cleanup operations for trichloroethylene (TCE) at three sites in Warm Springs Valley,(467) located some 20 miles north of Sparks, Nevada.(468) Between 1962 and 1970, Rocketdyne did extensive development and testing of rocket engines used in the Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle, and other NASA and military space programs. Based on the federal government's listing of TCE standards in 1989, Rocketdyne began extensive groundwater testing in 1990 and in the Spring of 1991 announced their findings of high levels of TCE at three locations in the valley. A Rocketdyne official estimated that it will take 20 years and $30 million to clean up the contamination.(469)

1996(December 2) In what portended to be a dry winter after two previous relatively wet winters,(470) Natural Resources Conservation Service SNOTEL (snowpack telemetry) measuring sites showed the Sierra Nevada Mountain snow water content at only 62 percent of average for the Truckee River Basin (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) and only 48 percent of average for the Lake Tahoe Basin (measurements taken from October 1, 1996). However, due to higher levels of rainfall (versus snowfall), total precipitation for this time of year stood at 95 percent of normal for the Truckee River Basin and 129 percent of normal for the Lake Tahoe Basin. It was noted that in a "normal" year, half of the Sierra snowpack accumulates during the month of December, and that it would not make for a good water year if the deficit in snowpack water content extended through January 1, 1997. It was also noted by the State Climatologist that in more than 100 years of record keeping, there has never been three back-to-back wet winters.(471) As would come to pass, the early December shortfall in Sierra Nevada Mountain snowpack would be covered several times over by early January 1997.

1996(December 9) The U.S. Department of the Interior issued a proposed rule adjusting the 1988 Newlands Project Operating Criteria and Procedures. The rule change was primarily intended to keep water in the Truckee River by lowering the December storage target volume for Lahontan Reservoir from 210,000 acre-feet to 101,000 acre-feet. In this way, diversions from the Truckee River would come later in the water year and thereby reduce unnecessary spills of Truckee River water from Lahontan Reservoir should they be required due to particularly strong flows in the Carson River. Under the present OCAP, if Lahontan Reservoir's storage is projected to be less than 210,000 acre-feet by the end of December, then Truckee River diversions may be made at Derby Dam. The new target level was to be set at 101,000 acre-feet. The proposed rule consisted of five major components: (1) reduced end-of-month Lahontan Reservoir storage targets; (2) reduced Project efficiency target to reflect the lack of Project growth that had been anticipated by the 1988 OCAP; (3) use of better and more timely runoff forecasting information; (4) an advance in the period for upstream credit storage in the Truckee River reservoirs to begin as early as January of each year; and (5) editorial changes to the text of the OCAP to reflect experience gained in administering the OCAP.(472)

1996(December 19) In presentations at the American Geophysical Union Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, it was proposed that solar cycles influence rainfall levels in North America. U.S. Geological Survey Research Hydrologist Charles Perry proposed that the irradiance of the sun, which varies in synch with the 11-year solar cycle, unusually warms tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean. These waters then circulate in a clockwise motion around the Pacific Rim, reaching the U.S. West Coast some five years later, promoting the formation of moist, eastward flowing air masses and the Pacific storms affecting the Pacific Coast states. In another presentation, Pavlos Christoforou, a doctoral student in atmospheric sciences at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, proposed that maximum solar activity forces the Aleutian Low, a large, semi-stable low-pressure cell typically located south-west of Alaska, to move dramatically westward. The void created is then filled by the Pacific High, allowing Pacific rains to enter the newly created void and strike the Pacific Northwest, California, and other western states.(473)

1996(December) Having failed to settle through mediation the $26.7 million lawsuit originally filed in 1984, the Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency notified the U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, which had ordered mediation in October 1995, of their intention to resume litigation. The original lawsuit was based on the classic "taking" of property barred by the U.S. Constitution without just compensation. The Council, representing hundreds of Lake Tahoe Basin property owners, claimed damage through a series of TRPA regulations that they said reduced property values and restricted land use. Specifically, the case challenged TRPA's 1984 (and subsequent 1987) regional plans, a 1981 land-classification ordinance, and a 1983 building moratorium.(474) Should the TRPA lose the case, not only would it owe monetary damages and interest, but its existence as a planning body for future development in the Lake Tahoe Basin would be seriously jeopardized.

1997 (January 1--The Flood of 1997) Due to heavy, warm rains on above-normal accumulated snowpack, the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River Basin experienced severe and extensive flooding.(475) The flood event, which generally exceeded 100-year flood records above Truckee, California, and below the Truckee Meadows, resulted from the combined effects of extremely heavy rain-on-snow and rain on saturated soils (wet mantle effect).

The flood event may be considered to have begun on Friday, December 20, 1996, when heavy snowfall began in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and lasted through Monday, December 23, 1996. Additional snowfall was recorded over Friday and Saturday, December 27-28, 1996. Both these snowfall events significantly boosted the accumulated snowpack water content and were the result of more typical colder storm systems which affect this region and originate in the Gulf of Alaska.

Beginning on Monday, December 30, 1996, an extensive storm system moved in from the central Pacific region (the "Pineapple Express," or "Hawaiian Hoser"), resulting in extremely warm and heavy rains throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations even above 10,000 feet MSL. The rains melted virtually the entire accumulated snowpack at elevations below approximately 7,000 feet MSL, and tended to largely "flow through" the snowpack at higher elevations. This combination of heavy rainfall and snowpack meltdown sent torrents of water down unregulated streams along the Truckee River's upper reach between Tahoe City and Truckee, California.

Between December 30, 1996, and January 5, 1997, the effects of the storm caused Lake Tahoe to rise by 1.11 feet from 6,228.26 feet MSL to 6,229.39 feet MSL, equating to a lake inflow of nearly 136,000 acre-feet (over 166,000 acre-feet including concurrent Lake Tahoe outflows). In a "normal" water year, the Lake Tahoe Basin produces approximately 530,000 acre-feet of runoff. Within the basin, the Echo Peak Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) SNOTEL (snowpack telemetry) site located at 7,800 feet MSL recorded 15.8 inches of rainfall while the Fallen Leaf site at 6,300 feet MSL recorded 11.8 inches of rainfall. However, the Fallen Leaf site also experienced 5.2 inches of snowpack water content "depletion," boosting total available runoff to 17.0 inches.(476) This inflow required the Federal Water Master to keep open all 17 gates of the Lake Tahoe Dam (which had been open since December 11, 1996), producing a lake outflow of 2,500 to 2,600 cfs (peak flow of 2,690 cfs on January 5, 1997).

Due to the runoff from a number of tributary creeks entering the upper Truckee River between Tahoe City and Truckee, California, flows recorded at Truckee just below the entry of Donner Creek (which contributed approximately 2,600 cfs) were nearly 12,000 cfs, an increase in the rate of flow of over 9,000 cfs in only 15 miles of river reach. The extensive water releases from the accumulated snowpack combined with extremely heavy precipitation increased total available runoff by up to 50 percent at some locations, particularly at elevations between 6,000 and 7,000 feet. Truckee River flows at Reno, Nevada, reached 18,200 cfs, below the record flow of 20,800 cfs recorded in 1955. However, without the strict dam regulation and detention of flood waters in several upstream reservoirs, i.e., Martis Creek Reservoir (constructed in 1971), Prosser Creek Reservoir (constructed in 1962), and Stampede Reservoir (constructed in 1970), which were not present during the 1950 (peak flow of 19,900 cfs) or 1955 flood events, river flows at Reno would certainly have set new record levels. [Boca Dam and Reservoir was completed in 1939.]

Extensive flooding occurred in Downtown Reno, the Sparks industrial area north of the river, and at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. On January 2, 1997, the airport was flooded with up to three feet of water and flight operations were terminated for 36 hours until the early afternoon of January 3, 1997. The Truckee River peaked at approximately 8:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, January 2, 1997. Primarily due to unregulated flows entering from Steamboat Creek and flooding within its extensive drainage area (of about 240 square miles), Truckee River flows below Reno attained new record flow and flood levels. Flows recorded at the USGS Wadsworth gaging station located above Pyramid Lake recorded a peak flow of 19,200 cfs.(477) The Nevada counties of Washoe, Storey, Douglas, and Lyon, and the Independent City of Carson City, were declared federal disaster areas by the President on January 3, 1997. On January 15, 1997, this declaration was amended to include the Nevada counties of Churchill and Mineral.(478)

1997(January 1--Flood Related) Truckee River flood waters washed out Sierra Pacific Power Company's timber and rock diversion dam located at Floriston, California. The Floriston diversion dam was used to divert Truckee River waters into a flume for the company's Farad hydroelectric power plant located nearly two miles further downstream. The flume had been damaged in June 1996, and the power plant has been closed since that time. Repairs from the current flood damage were expected to be completed by late summer 1997.(479)

1997(January 1--Flood Related) Sierra Pacific Power Company's Glendale water treatment plant suffered extensive flooding which caused nearly $1.5 million in damages and required the plant to be taken off line through at least April 1, 1997. The plant's filter monitoring equipment, automated valves, solids pumps, and a pilot plant were all damaged. Part of the Highland Ditch near the Truckee River and upstream of SPPCo's Chalk Bluff water treatment plant was also damaged. The Highland Ditch, with a capacity of up to 40 million gallons per day (mgd), represents a seasonal source of water for the 70 mgd capacity Chalk Bluff treatment plant. This plant's primary source of water, which comes from the 40 mgd capacity Orr Ditch pump station located at the Orr Ditch diversion, was not damaged during this flood event. Even so, the Highland Ditch will need to be repaired before the summer water season.(480)

1997(January 1--Flood Related) Flooding effects on the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility were severe and extensive. The sewage treatment plant's capacity is currently rated at 40 million gallons per day (mgd) for sewage treatment and 60 mgd for stormflow treatment.(481) Under normal operations, this facility handles approximately 28-29 mgd of sewage. After treatment the effluent is discharged into Steamboat Creek just upstream from the Truckee River near Vista. The "best guess" estimate of sewage and stormwater treated during the flood approached 90 mgd. In addition, the extremely high stage levels in the Truckee River near the plant, actually backed up Steamboat Creek effectively blocking effluent discharge into the Truckee River.(482) Due to infiltration from the high surrounding waters, the plant was forced to re-circulate river water for nearly two and one-half days. The sewage treatment plant also suffered extensive silt deposition throughout its piping and holding tanks.(483)

1997(January 2--Flood Related) Due to extensive flooding of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, airport authorities announced that it would require approximately $33 million to rebuild and upgrade Runway 7/25 (70 degrees east/250 degrees west), the only east-west runway at the airport. While this 7,600-foot runway is used primarily by smaller aircraft, commercial jets are sometimes forced to use it when severe crosswinds prevent landing on the two north-south runways. Floodwaters, which spilled over from the Truckee River and into the Hilton pond, and then crossed Greg and Mill streets, severely undermined the east-west runway forcing its closure to heavy aircraft. Primary Taxiways A and B, which cross this runway, were also closed due to the flood.(484) In addition, the airport sustained another several million dollars in flood damage to its passenger terminal, baggage handling equipment, and telephone systems.(485)

1997(January 4) Maintenance crews attempting to repair a damaged portion of the South Tahoe Public Utility District's wastewater export pipeline, which takes treated effluent out of the Lake Tahoe Basin, accidently breached the line near Luther Pass, spilling an estimated 50,000 gallons of treated effluent. By Tuesday, January 7th, South Lake Tahoe residents were asked to restrict their water use as the wastewater retention basin, located at the spill site, was nearing its 58 million gallon capacity due to heavy runoff from the rainfall and melting snow.(486)

1997(January 5) Due to the extremely heavy runoff from the recent rain-on-snow event, and despite having all 17 gates wide open at the Lake Tahoe Dam at Tahoe City since December 11, 1996, Lake Tahoe exceeded its maximum upper legal limit surface elevation (6,229.10 feet MSL), rising to 6,229.39 feet MSL.(487) This represented the lake's highest level since 1907 (when it attained 6,231.26 feet MSL), and its highest level since the signing of the 1935 Truckee River Agreement, which implemented the regulation of Lake Tahoe's surface elevation between 6,223.0 feet MSL (its natural rim) and 6,229.1 feet MSL.

1997(February 4) Due to high flood flows and continued discharges from upstream reservoirs, over the two-month period of December 4, 1996, to February 4, 1997, Pyramid Lake rose 5.28 feet in surface elevation from 3,800.00 feet MSL to 3,805.28 feet MSL.(488) This increase corresponded to a new lake volume of approximately 22,310,000 acre-feet, an increase of 590,000 acre-feet since December 4, 1996. The lake's surface area increased by some 1,784 acres (2.8 square miles) to 113,084 acres (176.7 square miles).

1997(March 1) Based on reports from cross-country skiers, a crack was found in an 8-inch pipeline at Donner Summit above Donner Lake. The pipeline, owned by Sante Fe Pacific Pipeline, is used to carry 2.1 million gallons of gas, diesel and jet fuel a day from San Francisco Bay area refineries to the Sparks Tank Farm. The break, which was repaired by Thursday, March 6, 1997, was located near the headwaters of Summit Creek. Summit Creek flows some 2.5 miles into Donner Lake, which then flows into the Truckee River and provides drinking water for the Truckee Meadows.(489)


Notes to Part III:

1. Francis G. Newlands served first as a U.S. Representative to Congress from Nevada from 1892-1902 and then as a U.S. Senator from 1903-1917.

2. Townley, John M., Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, Nevada Historical Society, Reno, Nevada, 1977, page 25.

3. McQuivey, Robert, "Nevada Habitat and Fisheries Historical Media File," Habitat Bureau, Nevada Division of Wildlife, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, 1996.

4. Subsequently, San Francisco would launch its campaign to acquire water from the Tuolumne River, a plan that led eventually to the infamous Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park. [See Douglas H. Strong, Tahoe: An Environmental History, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1984, page 98..

5. Closely associated with the work of Dr. Church and long in charge of the Nevada Cooperative snow Surveys and the University of Nevada, Reno, was Dr. H.P. Boardman. Both men retired in 1939 and continued to study and publish in this area of research for almost 20 years. [See Houghton, Samuel G., A Trace of Desert Waters: The Great Basin Story, University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada, 1994, page 58..

6. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 25.

7. There had been some question as to whether the Salt River Project in Arizona, or the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project in Nevada, was the first federally-approved and federally-funded reclamation project. Actually, the Truckee-Carson Project was one of five projects to be recommended by the Director of the U.S. Reclamation Service. The Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project was authorized on March 14, 1903 and the first water became available on April 1, 1905. The Salt River Project was also authorized on March 14, 1903, construction began August 24, 1903 and the first water became available May 15, 1907, two years after the Truckee-Carson Project. [See Hugh A. Shamberger, Evolution of Nevada's Water Laws, as Related to the Development and Evaluation of the State's Water Resources, From 1866 to About 1960, Water Resources Bulletin 46, U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Nevada Division of Water Resources, 1991, page 19..

8. See June-July 1889 entry.

9. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Regional Office, Sacramento, California, December 1987, page S-4.

10. See Initial Bench & Bottom Land, Map and Criteria, Newlands Project, Nevada, Division of Water and Power Resources Management, Water Operation and Maintenance Branch, Irrigation Section, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior, Sacramento, California, September 1990, Revised January 1992, page 11..

11. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 47.

12. President Roosevelt went on to write in this same letter: "Mr. Newlands had absolutely nothing to do with getting the bill through, but he has since industriously worked a newspaper bureau to give him the credit. This bureau has gone so far as to publish fake interviews with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture. The chief work that has been done was not by the eastern people at all. I had to devote myself to the easterners, and all that I had to do with Newlands was to make it evident that I would not back the extreme scheme with which he had been identified, the backing of which meant that nothing whatever would be accomplished. As soon as we got the westerners to agree upon a moderate bill, and could show that we were not going to do anything like what Mr. Newlands had originally proposed, then it only remained to bring the easterners in line, and that caused hard work, but we finally did it. I write you thus at length because I have been convinced that Mr. Newlands had sought to exploit this bill for his own political purposes." [See Smith, Frank E. [editor], Land and Water, 1492-1900, Chelsea House Publishers in association with Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, N.Y., 1971, Volume 2, "On Newlands and Roosevelt," pages 40-41..

13. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, Department of Water Resources, The Resources Agency, State of California, June 1991, page 44.

14. Water Treatment Master Plan, Gas/Water Engineering & Planning Department, Sierra Pacific Power Company, March 1987, page A-3.

15. Townley, John M., The Orr Ditch Case, 1913-1944, Water Resources Center Publication 43007, Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada System, October 1980, pages 3-4.

16. Biennial Report of the State Engineer, 1909-1910, State of Nevada, State Printing Office, Carson City, Nevada, 1911, page 3.

17. Shamberger, Hugh A., Evolution of Nevada's Water Laws, as Related to the Development and Evolution of the State's Water Resources, From 1866 to About 1960, Water Resources Bulletin 46, U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Nevada Division of Water Resources, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State of Nevada, Carson City, Nevada, 1991, pages 17-20 and 31.

18. Townley, John M., Reclamation in Nevada, 1850-1904, (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, University of Nevada-Reno, 1976), pages 310-312. In fact, Section 3 of this act set forth the qualifications for the State Engineer and gave the Secretary of the Interior or the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey 30 days to approve a name submitted to become State Engineer. If no action were taken by the federal government officials, the Governor could proceed to make the appointment. [Also see Shamberger, op. cit., page 18..

19. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, 1913-1944, op. cit., page 18. [U.S. Congress, Senate, Federal Reclamation by Irrigation: Report of Committee of Special Advisors on Reclamation, 68th Congress, 1st Session, 1924, S. Doc. 92, page 183..

20. Strong, Douglas H., Tahoe: An Environmental History, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1984, page 44. Also see Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 49.

21. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 47.

22. ToolWorks electronic encyclopedia, Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1992.

23. Janik, C. Anne, and Ronald M. Anglin, "Nevada's Unique Wildlife Oasis," Dividing Desert Waters, Nevada Public Affairs Review, Number 1, 1992, Senator Alan Bible Center for Applied Research, University of Nevada, Reno, page 54.

24. Nevada Historical Marker 43, "Derby Diversion Dam.

25. Nevada Historical Marker 88, "Sparks.

26. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 81.

27. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 49.

28. Water Treatment Master Plan, op. cit., pages A-3 through A-5.

29. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 33.

30. Shamberger, op. cit., page 20.

31. Water Resource Plan 1988-2008, Water Resources Department, Westpac Utilities, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Reno, Nevada, January 1989, page IV-4.

32. The Washoe hydroelectric plant is not currently operational. Its capacity has been estimated based on its possible rehabilitation. [See TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 81..

33. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 33.

34. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 27.

35. Nevada Historical Marker 230, "Mount Rose Weather Observatory.

36. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 49.

37. Ibid., page 5.

38. Nevada Historical Marker 234, "Moana Springs.

39. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 6.

40. Shamberger, op. cit., page 21.

41. Boardman, H.P., Professor Emeritus, "Truckee River Floods and High Water Years," June 1952, page 2.

42. Water Resources Data, Nevada, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report, Nevada District Office, Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior, Carson City, Nevada.

43. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 7.

44. Strong, op. cit., page 101.

45. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 49.

46. Indian Water Rights: Negotiating the Future, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, College of Agriculture, Tucson, Arizona, June 1993, pages 8-10.

47. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, Prepared by Water Rights Study Group, Pyramid Lake Task Force, [for the] U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Sacramento Region, Sacramento, California, August 1971, page 157.

48. Truckee River System Briefing Data, Westpac Utilities, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Reno, Nevada, April 1988, page 3-10.

49. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 7.

50. Ibid., page 9.

51. Ibid.

52. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 49.

53. Strong, op. cit., page 101. Also see Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., pages 49-50.

54. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 81.

55. Ibid., page 44.

56. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 11.

57. Ibid.

58. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 32 and 41.

59. From Pyramid Lake surface elevation information provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada.

60. Wheeler, Sessions S., The Desert Lake--The Story of Nevada's Pyramid Lake, The Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho, 1967, pages 94-96.

61. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., pages 11-12.

62. Townley, John M., The Truckee Basin Fishery, 1844-1944, Water Resources Center Publication 43008, Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada System, November 1980, page 70.

63. Houghton, op. cit., page 84.

64. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 44.

65. Strong, op. cit., page 103.

66. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 47.

67. In additional to crucial operating criteria for Truckee River operations, the 1935 Truckee River Agreement contained language intended to settle the long-standing disputes over pumping Lake Tahoe by: (1) Establishing the natural conditions in the bed and banks of Lake Tahoe and of the Truckee River near Tahoe City, Placer County, California, and prohibiting any alteration of such natural conditions without the approval of the Attorney General of the State of California, and, in fact, allowing parties to the agreement the right to restore these areas to their natural condition, as necessary; (2) Prohibiting the creation of any other outlet of Lake Tahoe in addition to the present and natural outlet at the head of the Truckee River; (3) Prohibiting the removal of water from Lake Tahoe for irrigation or power uses by any means other than gravity except upon the declaration of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior; and (4) Prohibiting the removal of water from Lake Tahoe for sanitary or domestic uses by any means other than gravity, except upon the condition that the Departments of Health of the States of Nevada and California, or other officers exercising similar authority, shall first have made and filed with the Attorney General of the State of Nevada and the Attorney General of the State of California certificates showing that a necessity for such pumping of Lake Tahoe exists. [See TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 54..

68. California-Nevada Interstate Compact Between the State of California and Nevada, Ratified by [the] State of California, September 19, 1970 (Chapter 1480, California Statutes 1970), Ratified by [the] State of Nevada, March 5, 1971 (Nevada Revised Statutes 538.600), Congressional Consent Pending, April 25, 1971.

69. Shamberger, op. cit., pages 23-28.

70. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 15.

71. Nevada State Journal, March 4, 1913, page 1.

72. Townley, The Truckee Basin Fishery, op. cit., page 72.

73. This figure does not include water below the presumed "normal" level of Lake Tahoe, or 6,228 feet MSL, which totals approximately 122 million acre-feet. [See TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 15.] In a U.S. Geological Survey Reconnaissance Report (Rush, F. Eugene, "Water Resources-Information Series Report 17: Bathymetric Reconnaissance of Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California," Prepared cooperatively by the Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Division of Water Resources, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State of Nevada, Carson City, Nevada, 1973) a Lake Tahoe surface elevation of 6,229 feet MSL was used in which case the lake's total volume was estimated to be 125 million acre-feet.

74. Janik, C. Anne, and Ronald M. Anglin, "Nevada's Unique Wildlife Oasis," Dividing Desert Waters, Nevada Public Affairs Review, Number 1, 1992, Senator Alan Bible Center for Applied Research, University of Nevada, Reno, page 54.

75. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., page 163.

76. Water Treatment Master Plan, op. cit., page A-5.

77. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, Department of Water Resources, The Resources Agency, State of California, Sacramento, California, December 1991, page 26.

78. Ibid., page 97.

79. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., pages 49-50.

80. Houghton, op. cit., pages 65-66.

81. Wheeler, The Desert Lake, page 100.

82. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

83. Strong, op. cit., page 104.

84. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., pages 28-29.

85. Nevada Historical Marker 62, "Truckee River-West," and Historical Marker 63, "Truckee River-East.

86. Strong, op. cit., page 104.

87. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 30.

88. La Rivers, Ira, Ph.D., F.A.Z., F.O.M.S., Fishes and Fisheries of Nevada, Nevada State Fish and Game Commission, State Printing Office, Carson City, Nevada, 1962, page 263.

89. While it was recognized that this amount of water, even when combined with that obtained from the Carson River, would not irrigate the entire 232,800 acres, it was also recognized that no more than 65,000 acres of land had ever been irrigated in the project.

90. Supreme Court of the United States, Syllabus, Nevada v. United States et al., Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Argued April 27, 1983, Decided June 24, 1983, page 5-6.

91. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 51.

92. Ibid., page 27, and Nevada Historical Marker 18, "Pyramid Lake.

93. Houghton, op. cit., page 81.

94. Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., page 36.

95. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 116-119.

96. Of this total amount, for the period of record of 1910-1966, approximately 240,000 acre-feet per year were diverted from the Truckee River at Derby Dam and for the period of record 1967-1994, this diversion amounted to 183,160 acre-feet per year.

97. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit. page 103.

98. U.S. v. Alpine Land and Reservoir Company, et al., "Orders on Appeals from Decisions of State Engineer on Transfer Applications," Civil No. D-184, BRT [Bruce R. Thompson], Entered October 1, 1986, U.S. District Court for Nevada, pages 5-6. For a more recent summary of the events associated with this event, see "ORDER," United States District Court, District of Nevada, A-3-LDG [Lloyd D. George], U.S. (Plaintiff) and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians (Petitioner) v. Orr Water Ditch Company, et al., (Defendants), April 8, 1996.

99. "Perfection" deals with the water right process whereby the uses anticipated by an applicant, and made under the water right permit, were made for "beneficial use." Usually a perfected water right is irrevocable unless voluntarily canceled or forfeited due to several consecutive years of nonuse. "Abandonment" represents the failure of a water right holder to put a water right to beneficial use for generally five or more years, whereby the owner of the water right states that the water right will not be used, or takes such actions that would prevent the water from being beneficially used. "Forfeiture" represents the invalidation of a water right because of five or more consecutive years of nonuse.

100. For the complete chronology relating to this incident, see Horton, Gary A., Carson River Chronology--A Chronological History of the Carson River and Related Water Issues, Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, August 1996.

101. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 34.

102. Ibid., page 11.

103. Ibid., page 51.

104. Truckee River System Briefing Data, op. cit., page 1.

105. ToolWorks electronic encyclopedia, Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1992.

106. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 51.

107. Ibid., page 50.

108. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

109. Corrected application was filed on March 6, 1931.

110. Application file, Office of the State Engineer, Nevada Division of Water Resources, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada.

111. Corrected application was filed on March 9, 1931.

112. Based on testimony provided by TCID Project Manager to the Nevada State Engineer.

113. Horton, Gary A., Nevada: A Historical Perspective of the State's Socioeconomic, Resource, Environmental, and Casino Gaming Development, Business & Economic Research Associates, Reno, Nevada, pages 20-21.

114. Ibid., page 33.

115. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

116. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nevada State Office, Reno, Nevada.

117. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 52.

118. Ibid., page 51.

119. Supreme Court of the United States, Syllabus, Nevada v. United States et al., op. cit.

120. La Rivers, Ira, Ph.D., F.A.Z., F.O.M.S., Fishes and Fisheries of Nevada, Nevada State Fish and Game Commission, State Printing Office, Carson City, Nevada, 1962, page 125.

121. Such provisions included: (1) Establishing the natural conditions in the bed and banks of Lake Tahoe and of the Truckee River near Tahoe City, Placer County, California, and prohibiting any alteration of such natural conditions without the approval of the Attorney General of the State of California, and, in fact, allowing parties to the agreement the right to restore these areas to their natural condition, as necessary; (2) Prohibiting the creation of any other outlet of Lake Tahoe in addition to the present and natural outlet at the head of the Truckee River; (3) Prohibiting the removal of water from Lake Tahoe for irrigation or power uses by any means other than gravity except upon the declaration of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior; and (4) Prohibiting the removal of water from Lake Tahoe for sanitary or domestic uses by any means other than gravity, except upon the condition that the Departments of Health of the States of Nevada and California, or other officers exercising similar authority, shall first have made and filed with the Attorney General of the State of Nevada and the Attorney General of the State of California certificates showing that a necessity for such pumping of Lake Tahoe exists. [See TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 54..

122. Rusco, Elmer, "The Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act and Pyramid Lake," Dividing Desert Waters, Nevada Public Affairs Review, Number 1, 1992, Senator Alan Bible Center for Applied Research, University of Nevada, Reno, page 11.

123. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 23.

124. Strickland, Rose, "Stillwater: Its Friends and Neighbors," Dividing Desert Waters, Nevada Public Affairs Review, Number 1, 1992, Senator Alan Bible Center for Applied Research, University of Nevada, Reno, page 77.

125. Boardman, op. cit., pages 3-4 and 7.

126. Ibid.

127. Rusco, op. cit., page 11.

128. Strickland, op. cit., page 77.

129. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 23. Mud Lake was also the name given by La Rivers, perhaps erroneously, to a natural depression to the west and slightly south of Marble Bluff, located to the south of Pyramid Lake, which was more commonly referred to as Duck Lake. [See La Rivers, op. cit., page 140..

130. Shamberger, op. cit., page 31.

131. "Nevada Water Supply and Use," U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2350, Water Resources Division, USGS, Carson City, Nevada, 1987, page 359.

132. Nevada Hydrographic Basin Statistical Summary, Office of the State Engineer, Nevada Division of Water Resources, and Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, 1988.

133. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 11. Another source lists this storage capacity at 40,800 acre-feet.

134. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

135. Townley, The Truckee Basin Fishery, op. cit., page 80. According to the pamphlet "Bring Back the Lahontan Cutthroat," a publication sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, Nevada Division of Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited, Sagebrush Chapter and Northeastern Nevada Chapter, the Lahontan cutthroat trout was extirpated from Lake Tahoe by 1939 and from Pyramid Lake five years later (1944).

136. Ibid., page 26.

137. La Rivers, op. cit., page 139.

138. Truckee River System Briefing Data, op. cit., page 3-3.

139. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 116-119.

140. Of possible interest here is that while less than 6,000 acres were determined to be irrigable on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation, the U.S. Reclamation Service in 1912 had documented that over 32,678 acres of irrigable land had been surveyed on the reservation. In reducing this allowable irrigable acreage to less than 6,000 acres from over 32,000 previously documented, the Department of Justice felt a compromise was needed as so little acreage was then under cultivation and because the Indians "had not proven to be particular agricultural successes." As a result, the Indians received only 20 percent of that due by precedent (Winters Doctrine based on Winters v. United States). [See Townley, The Orr Ditch Case, op. cit., pages 55-56..

141. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 53.

142. Correspondence, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., November 29, 1983.

143. Houghton, op. cit., page 56.

144. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

145. From information supplied by the Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Reno, Nevada, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nevada State Office, Reno, Nevada.

146. Strong, op. cit., page 113.

147. Ibid.

148. Ibid., page 114.

149. Boardman, op. cit., pages 4-5.

150. La Rivers, op. cit., page 125.

151. Boardman, op. cit., page 5.

152. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 76-77.

153. Washoe Project Sheet Map and Fact Sheet, United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Nevada-California, Mid-Pacific Region, Map number 320-208-35, January 1956 and April 1991.

154. The word "Watasheamu" (pronounced watt-ah-SHE-mu, or wah-TASH-ah-mu) descends from Washoe vernacular and means "the river" or "main stream." [See Murphy, Shane, The Lore and Legend of the East Fork--A Historical Guide for Floating the East Carson River, The Carson River Conservation Fund, Zephyr Cove, Nevada, 1982, page 65..

155. Public Law 780, 3 September 1954, Eighty-Third Congress, Second Session.

156. Operation and Maintenance Manual for Truckee River and Tributaries, California and Nevada, U.S. Army Engineer District, Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California, July 1964, pages 1-2. Also see Lower Truckee River, Nevada, Reconnaissance Report, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Sacramento District, July 1995, page 2-1.

157. Lower Truckee River, Nevada, Reconnaissance Report, Appendix C--Flood Damage Reduction, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Sacramento District, January 1992.

158. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., page 64.

159. A major issue of contention was a phrase in the final version of the compact which stated that the use of waters by the federal government, its agencies, instrumentalities, or wards was to be against the use by the state in which it is made. This limitation, combined with new court interpretations of the federal reserved water rights (Winters Doctrine), waters required for Pyramid Lake fish species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and public trust doctrine issues combined to derail eventual Congressional approval. [See WALKER RIVER ATLAS, Department of Water Resources, The Resources Agency, State of California, Sacramento, California, June 1992, pages 69-70..

160. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 59.

161. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

162. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 34.

163. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 78.

164. ToolWorks electronic encyclopedia, Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1992.

165. Cross defendants in this action included Washoe County Water Conservation District and Sierra Pacific Power Company. [Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit..

166. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 60.

167. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 123-125.

168. Personal communication with Richard Moser, P.E., Senior Water Resource Engineer, Glendale Water Treatment Plant, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Reno, Nevada, 1995.

169. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 92-95.

170. Truckee River System Briefing Data, op. cit., page 3-13.

171. Eutrophication is the process of enrichment of water bodies by nutrients. Degrees of eutrophication typically range from Oligotrophic water (maximum transparency, minimum chlorophyll-a, minimum phosphorus) through Mesotrophic, Eutrophic, to Hypereutrophic water (minimum transparency, maximum chlorophyll-a, maximum phosphorus). The eutrophication of a lake normally contributes to its slow evolution into a bog or marsh and ultimately to dry land. Eutrophication may be accelerated by human activities and thereby speed up the aging process. States of eutrophication are typically measured by the Carlson's Trophic State Index (TSI) or the (mean) Trophic State Index (TSI). Eutrophic lakes are rich in nutrients and organic materials, therefore, highly productive for plant growth. These lakes are often shallow and seasonally deficient in oxygen in the hypolimnion (bottom layer of a stratified lake). [See Horton, Gary A., WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada..

172. Strong, op. cit., pages 114-115.

173. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

174. Report of the Lake Tahoe Joint Study Committee, March 1967, and Houghton, op. cit., page 59.

175. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 12.

176. Ibid., page 11.

177. Lower Truckee River, Nevada, Reconnaissance Report, Appendix C--Flood Damage Reduction, January 1992, op. cit.

178. Ibid., page 15.

179. Ibid., Appendix C--Flood Damage Reduction.

180. Between August 1959 and September 1963, under authorization of the Flood Control Act of 1954, a number of channel modifications were performed along the Truckee River. [See Operation and Maintenance Manual for Truckee River and Tributaries, California and Nevada, op. cit., pages 2-3..

181. Plan of Study--Truckee Meadows Investigation, Nevada, Department of the Army, Sacramento District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Sacramento, California, July 1977, page 6.

182. This plant would undergo several name changes over the years. First, in 1978 its name was changed from the Reno-Sparks Joint Sewage Treatment Plant to the Reno-Sparks Joint Water Pollution Control Plant. Next, in 1985 its name was changed to the Reno-Sparks Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility, and finally, in 1991 its name was changed to the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility. [Personal communication, Duane Baker, Operations Superintendent, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, Reno, Nevada, August 12, 1996..

183. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page S-1.

184. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 150-154.

185. Plan of Study--Truckee Meadows Investigation, Nevada, op. cit., page 1.

186. Houghton, op. cit., page 59.

187. Ibid., page 83.

188. Joplin, Maureen (Geologist), and Hal Fiore (Hydrologist), Gray Creek Watershed Monitoring Project, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, April 4, 1995, page 5.

189. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nevada State Office, U.S. Department of the Interior, Reno, Nevada, February 1995.

190. Water Resources Data, Nevada, op. cit.

191. From Pyramid Lake gaging station records provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada.

192. Plan of Study--Truckee Meadows Investigation, Nevada, op. cit., page 7.

193. Houghton, op. cit., page 84.

194. Water Resources Data, op. cit., pages 522-523.

195. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., page 154.

196. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page S-1.

197. "Operating Criteria and Procedures; Truckee and Carson Rivers," Newlands Reclamation Project, Nevada, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, September 27, 1967. [As presented in the Federal Register, Volume 32, No. 190, page 13733..

198. Data provided by Sierra Hydrotech, the consultant who tabulated Truckee Canal diversions from the Federal Watermaster's gage for water years 1910-1966 from TCID files. The average annual diversion for this period of record was 239,700 acre-feet. [From information provided by USBR, Carson City, Nevada..

199. Water Resources Data, Nevada, op. cit.

200. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

201. A major issue of contention was a phrase in the compact which stated that the use of waters by the federal government, its agencies, instrumentalities, or wards was to be against the use by the state in which it is made. This limitation, combined with new court interpretations of the federal reserved water rights (Winters Doctrine), waters required for Pyramid Lake fish species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and public trust doctrine issues combined to derail Congressional approval. [See WALKER RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 69-70..

202. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 75-76.

203. Pyramid Lake Task Force Final Report, December 1971, page I.

204. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," op. cit.

205. Truckee River System Briefing Data, op. cit., pages 1-2.

206. Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit.

207. Plan of Study--Truckee Meadows Investigation, Nevada, op. cit., page 1.

208. Houghton, op. cit., page 59.

209. A Study of Water Rights and Their Enforcement [in the] Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Carson River Basins, op. cit., pages 158-160.

210. California-Nevada Interstate Compact Between the State of California and Nevada, Ratified by [the] State of California, September 19, 1970 (Chapter 1480, California Statutes 1970), Ratified by [the] State of Nevada, March 5, 1971 (Nevada Revised Statutes 538.600), Congressional Consent Pending, April 25, 1971.

211. Federal Register, Volume 35, page 13520.

212. California-Nevada Interstate Compact Between the State of California and Nevada, op. cit.

213. Ibid., page 18.

214. To show how "typical" this 1971 Truckee River diversion amount actually was, over a subsequent period of record encompassing 22 years from 1973 through 1994, the average annual diversion from the Truckee River (measured at the Wadsworth gage on the Truckee Canal) was 172,380 acre-feet.

215. Houghton, op. cit., page 98.

216. Pyramid Lake Task Force Final Report, op. cit., page vi.

217. Ibid., page viii.

218. Ibid., page 35.

219. Mahannah, C.N., J.C. Guitjens, and C.R. York, Western Nevada Water Controversy, Cooperative Extension Service, Max C. Fleischmann College of Agriculture, University of Nevada, Reno, January 1975, page 4.

220. Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit.

221. The 42 bird species that were abundant (A), common (C), or rare (R) in 1868 along the lower Truckee River and completely gone by 1976 included (listed alphabetically): American Avocet (C); American Bittern (C); American Goldfinch (R); American Widgeon (A); Ash-throated Flycatcher (R); Bank Swallow (A); Black-chinned Hummingbird (A); Black-crowned Night Heron (R); Black-headed Grosbeak (C); Black-necked Stilt (C); Black-throated Sparrow (C); Cliff Swallow (A); Dunlin (R); Gadwall (A); Golden Eagle (R); Hooded Merganser (R); Least Bittern (R); Loggerhead Shrike (C); Long-billed Curlew (C); Long-billed Marsh Wren (A); Long-eared Owl (C); Marsh Hawk (A); Osprey (R); Peregrine Falcon (One Pair); Purple Martin (R); Rufous-sided Towhee (C); Sandhill Crane (R); Savannah Sparrow (C); Shoveler (C); Solitary Sandpiper (R); Song Sparrow (A); Sora (C); Turkey Vulture (A); Vaux's Swift (C); Virginia Rail (R); Western Tanager (C); White-throated Swift (R); Willet (C); Willow Flycatcher (A); Yellow-billed Cuckoo (R); Yellow-breasted Chat (C); Yellowthroat (C). [See Reno Gazette-Journal, June 3, 1996, page 4A..

222. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 3, 1996, pages 1A and 4A. Also see Ammon, Elizabeth, "Historical Changes in Biodiversity Along the Lower Truckee," The Truckee River Times, Volume 6, Number 2, May 1996, page 2.

223. Mahannah, op. cit., page 19. Aerial survey was conducted by Cornell, Howland, Hayes and Merryfield Clair A. Hill & Associates (CH2M/Hill).

224. Sill, R., T. Mudd, S. Francis and T. Swedberg, "Progress Report," Sierra Club Pyramid Lake Task Force, August 1972.

225. Mahannah, op. cit., pages 4-5.

226. De Bruyn, David, Potential Water Conservation Measures--Newlands Project, Prepared under the Request of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior on Matters Dealing with Public Law 101-618 [Negotiated Settlement], April 1992, page 23.

227. It is generally recognized that water management on the Newlands Project is inefficient by modern standards, a reflection of the project's age and its lack of modernization and major maintenance since its construction in the early 1900s. [See CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 82.] By one estimate [De Bruyn, op. cit.] it was calculated that with upgraded facilities, canal lining, and more precise diversion measuring capabilities, total potential water conservation within the Newlands Project could total as much as 212,000 acre-feet per year out of a total annual water diversion of 375,000 acre-feet. It was estimated that total farm consumptive use was 155,000 acre-feet per year and the agriculture leaching requirement was approximately 8,000 acre-feet per year. Admittedly, however, this optimum level of water savings would come at an extremely high price. For example, lining the central 20 miles of the Truckee Canal's 32.5 mile length, where losses were estimated at 30,000 acre-feet per year, was estimated to cost $40 million with an additional on-going $3.55 million annual operations and maintenance cost.

228. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 81.

229. Ibid., pages 90-91.

230. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," op. cit.

231. Houghton, op. cit., page 82.

232. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 92, and TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 73.

233. Townley, Turn this Water into Gold: The Story of the Newlands Project, op. cit., page 149.

234. Ibid.

235. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page S-1.

236. The Nevada parties included the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID), the State of Nevada, the cities of Reno and Sparks, and some 13,000 other Nevada Truckee River water users holding water rights per the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree. This case is better known as United States v. TCID; however, several joint law suits were consolidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, hence the new, if somewhat confusing (i.e., reversed) name (i.e., Nevada v. U.S.). [Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit..

237. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 63.

238. By the Winters Rights Decision, national parks, national forests, national monuments, national recreation areas, national grasslands, national wildlife refuges, etc., are also considered "reservations" and entitled to their own federal reserved water rights.

239. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

240. Ibid.

241. Plan of Study--Truckee Meadows Investigation, Nevada, op. cit., page 1.

242. Personal correspondence, Lynne L. Hartung, Secretary-Treasurer, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, June 3, 1996.

243. Phosphorus frequently enters waterways through the use of home laundry detergents. Another important source of phosphorus is from phosphoric acid, an important ingredient in fertilizers. Phosphoric acid is a term applied to any of three oxygen acids of phosphorus known respectively as ordinary or orthophosphoric, pyrophosphoric, and metaphosphoric acids. The most common form, orthophosphoric acid, or simply phosphoric acid, H3PO4, is a syrup-like compound and an important ingredient in fertilizers. However, to be available for use by plants, the phosphates must be soluble in water or plant juices. Insoluble normal phosphates, as mineral phosphates, are therefore often converted into soluble acid salts by treatment with sulfuric acid. Phosphoric acid, when used as a fertilizer ingredient, is often blamed for excessive algae growth and oxygen losses in rivers and is frequently a leading toxin to aquatic life. [See Horton, Water Words Dictionary, op. cit..

244. PhoStrip is a proprietary process that removes phosphorus through the biological phenomena lf "luxury uptake" and "anaerobiosis" and by chemical treatment of a phosphorus-rich sidestream. The activated sludge microorganisms take up phosphorus in the aeration tank and then are induced to release phosphorus while detained under anaerobic conditions in a holding tank (stripping tank). A clear, phosphorus-rich supernatant liquor (PRS) is then separated from the return activated sludge (RAS) which enters the stripping tank, settles to the bottom, becomes anaerobic, and releases phosphorus. The compacted sludge, anaerobic RAS (ARAS), then contains a mixture of phosphorus-deficient microorganisms and phosphorus-rich liquor. The ARAS is returned to the aeration tank where the phosphorus-deficient microorganisms take up phosphorus to repeat the cycle. [See Peirano, Lawrence, E., and Larry G. Parlin, "Biological-Chemical Phosphorus Removal at Reno-Sparks, Nevada: Update Ten Years after Plant-Scale Test," for presentation at Water Pollution Control Federation 59th Annual Conference, October 5-9, Los Angeles, California, pages 2-3..

245. Ibid., page 1.

246. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 27.

247. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 13, 1996, page 4C.

248. Federal Register, Volume 40, page 29864.

249. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

250. Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit.

251. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

252. Ibid.

253. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

254. Water Treatment Master Plan, op. cit., page A-5.

255. Water Production Reliability Study, Sierra Pacific Power Company, October 1994, page 2-3.

256. WALKER RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 53.

257. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," op. cit.

258. Information supplied by Terry Retterer, Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Reno, Nevada.

259. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

260. Ibid.

261. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 26.

262. In 1996, several years after the death of U.S. District Court Justice Bruce R. Thompson, the newly-constructed federal courthouse and office building in downtown Reno was named in his honor.

263. For lands above Lahontan Reservoir, served only by the Carson River, the net consumptive use was established at 2.5 acre-feet based on 4.5 acre-feet per acre diverted to the canal for the bottom lands, 6.0 acre-feet per acre diverted to the canal for alluvial fan lands, and 9.0 acre-feet per acre diverted to the canal for bench lands. [See Alpine Decree, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Tabulation and Administrative Provisions, United States of America v. Alpine Land & Reservoir Company, a Corporation, et al., Civil No. D-183 BRT, Final Decree, United States Federal District Court for the District of Nevada, October 28, 1980, page 3..

264. Ibid., page 11.

265. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), Resolution No. 82-11, "Resolution of the Governing Body of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Adopting Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities for the Lake Tahoe Region," Adopted by the Governing Body of the TRPA, August 26, 1982.

266. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

267. Ibid.

268. The Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe had filed a similar lawsuit against Truckee River water rights holders in Nevada in 1973 when it attempted to reopen the Orr Ditch Decree. In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Tribe and refused to open this decree to obtain additional water rights under the federal reservation doctrine.

269. The hydrologic water year runs from October 1st through September 30th.

270. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Reno, Nevada, May 1996.

271. Ibid.

272. Peirano, op. cit., pages 8-9.

273. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," op. cit.

274. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

275. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), Resolution No. 82-11, op. cit.

276. Phase 1 (Whether the provisions of the Washoe Project Act required a cost reimbursement contract with the Carson-Truckee Water Conservancy District) was decided on February 16, 1982; phase 2 (If part 1 is so, whether the provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 somehow alter that obligation) was decided on October 4, 1982; judgement was entered on October 22, 1982. After various motions were filed, the court's final order was issued on December 22, 1982. [Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit..

277. Rusco, op. cit., page 12.

278. Reno Gazette-Journal, May 31, 1983, page 1, and March 20, 1997, pages 1A and 9A..

279. A Nevada Bureau of Mines study revealed that the oldest known slide in this area occurred some 50,000 years ago. The instability of the region was also well known to early Washoe and Paiute Indians, which referred to Slide Mountain as "Mountain Which Fell Upon Itself..

280. The original lawsuit was actually based on U.S. v. TCID; however, the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated several law suits and gave it this new, if not somewhat confusing, name. Main parties in the lawsuits were the United States (USDI), TCID, State of Nevada, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. [Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit..

281. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 63.

282. Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit.

283. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 33.

284. The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) consists of five members whose responsibility it is to "protect water quality and allocate water rights" within the State of California. To assist in these functions, the SWRCB is served by a staff and nine (9) Regional Board Executive Officers serving the regions of: (1) North Coast Region; (2) San Francisco Bay Region; (3) Central Coast Region; (4) Los Angeles Region; (5) Central Valley Region; (6) Lahontan Region; (7) Colorado River Basin Region; (8) Santa Ana Region; and (9) San Diego Region. [These regions generally correspond, with some combinations and renaming, to the ten (10) California Hydrologic Regions or Hydrologic Study Areas (HSAs). [See 1995 Conservation Directory, 40th Edition, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C., page 169..

285. Ibid., page 95.

286. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 19, 1997, page 5C.

287. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page S-1.

288. Ibid., page S-4.

289. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

290. "Resolution of Differences, Newlands Project Water Rights, Report on Milestone 2," Prepared for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by Chilton Engineering, Chartered, Reno, Nevada, August 20, 1985, page 8.

291. Milne, Wendy, A Comparison of Reconstructed Lake-Level Records Since the Mid-1800s of Some Great Basin Lakes, Department of Geology and Geologic Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, December 1987, page 78.

292. Highstand figure obtained for U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada.

293. Janik, op. cit., page 57.

294. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page 1-1.

295. Lower Truckee River, Nevada Reconnaissance Report, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Sacramento District, July 1995, page 2-25.

296. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 30, 1996, page 3B.

297. WALKER RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 69-70.

298. Ibid., page 70.

299. Natural Resources Conservation Service, op. cit.

300. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 82.

301. Natural Resources Conservation Service, op. cit.

302. Although approximately 406,000 acre-feet of water deliveries have been contracted for the Newlands Project on a maximum irrigated acreage of 74,500 acres, typically considerably less water is actually used. For example, in 1989, the last year that Newlands Project farmers were eligible to receive their full water entitlements due to the lingering drought which began in 1987, total project diversions amounted to 344,311 acre-feet while project headgate deliveries totaled 213,688 acre-feet (per TCID depletion records) resulting in a project efficiency of 62.1 percent. [See Newlands Project Efficiency Study, Draft Copy, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, Carson City District Office, Carson City, Nevada, September 1993, page 19..

303. Conversation with Alan Biaggi, Chief, Corrective Actions, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, September 1995.

304. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project Proposed Operating Criteria and Procedures (OCAP), op. cit., page 1-2.

305. Ibid., page 1-7.

306. Fact Sheet: "Endangered Species Act History and Overview," op. cit.

307. Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit.

308. The 1988 "Final OCAP" had no expiration date. The date of December 31, 1997 was from Section 209(j) of Public Law 101-618. For the purpose of evaluating environmental impacts, the project irrigated acreage was assumed to increase from 60,300 acres in 1987 to 64,850 acres in 1992 and remain at that level thereafter. This projected increase included 2,600 acres of additional irrigation on the Fallon Indian Reservation and an additional 1,950 acres due to future water right transfers. However, the 1988 OCAP does not set the project irrigated acreage at any particular level. [Personal communication, Al Olson, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Projects Office, Carson City, Nevada..

309. Olson, op. cit.

310. TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., page 95.

311. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 8A.

312. Ibid.

313. Biaggi, op. cit.

314. Personal communication, Duane Baker, Operations Superintendent, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, Reno, Nevada, August 12, 1996.

315. Water Resources in the Walker River Basin: A Search for Water to Save Walker Lake, Public Resource Associates, Reno, Nevada, November 1994, page 28.

316. Rieke, Elizabeth Ann, Assistant Secretary, Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior, Statements before the Subcommittee on Water and Power, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, Oversight Hearing on Public Law 101-618, The Fallon Paiute Shoshone Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990 and The Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act, April 1994.

317. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

318. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 8A.

319. Ibid.

320. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

321. Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit.

322. Public Law 101-618, U.S. Congress, November 1990.

323. Parties to the suit included Santa Fe Pacific Pipeline, Inc., Southern Pacific Transportation Company, Shell Oil, Time Oil Company, Berry-Hinckley Terminal, Inc., Chevron USA, Inc., Texaco Refining and Marketing, Inc., Golden Gate Petroleum, Inc., and UNOCAL. One original participant, British Petroleum Air, was dropped from the suit. [Biaggi, op. cit..

324. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nevada State Office, Reno, Nevada.

325. See Rowe, op. cit.

326. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

327. The full quote from Professor Luthin: "One of the most startling things is the rapidity with which drainage problems can develop over large areas after irrigation water is applied. At first glance it would seem that pervious surface soils underlain with sandy layers at shallow depths, having been dry and idle for the centuries, would be safe from water logging. Experience has shown the fallacy of this reasoning. The Newlands Project at Fallon, Nevada, was one of the first projects constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1902. A dam was built and irrigation started in 1906 on about 70,000 acres. Water logging of the lands began soon after the start of irrigation, and by the end of 1918 more than 35,000 acres of land had the water table less than 6 feet below the ground surface. The construction of deep open drains started in 1921, and by the end of 1923 there were over 150 miles of open drains to carry away both surface waste water from irrigation as well as subsurface waters. Although additional drainage ditches have been provided since then, the area continues to be plagued by the high water table." [See James N. Luthin, Drainage Engineering, 1978..

328. Of this total acreage of 73,789 acres reported within the Newlands Project, 67,833 acres were found to be within the Carson Division (3,828 acres of bench lands and 64,005 acres of bottom lands) and 5,956 acres were reported within the Truckee Division (5,728 acres of bench lands and 228 acres of bottom lands). [See Initial Bench & Bottom Land, Map & Criteria, Newlands Project, Nevada, Division of Water and Power Resources Management, Water Operation and Maintenance Branch, Irrigation Section, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior, Sacramento, California, September 1990, Revised January 1992, page 7..

329. De Bruyn, op. cit., pages 22-25. The U.S. Department of the Interior, however, has officially established this amount at 1,058,000 acre-feet. [See chronology entries under April 1994 and December 1995..

330. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

331. Joplin, op. cit., page 5.

332. Personal conversation with Faith Bremner, reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal, August 7, 1995.

333. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

334. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

335. Water Resources Data, Nevada, op. cit.

336. Lahontan Valley News, September 5, 1995, page 1.

337. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

338. Hartung, op. cit.

339. The Reno Gazette-Journal, March 4, 1995, pages 4A-5A.

340. Ibid.

341. Reno-Gazette Journal, January 22, 1996, pages 1B and 4B.

342. Ibid.

343. The Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) pertains to water quality treatment standards as prescribed under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and amendments thereto. The rule is a set of treatment technique requirements which apply to all water systems using surface water and those using ground water which is under the influence of surface water. Surface water systems are those using water exposed to the atmosphere, such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or streams. Ground water systems that are under the influence of surface water may include shallow wells, infiltration galleries, and springs which may contain the same disease-causing microorganisms of concern in surface water. The rule requires that these systems properly filter the water, unless they can meet certain strict criteria. The rule also requires that these systems disinfect the water. There are no exceptions from the disinfection requirement. [See Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit..

344. Water Production Reliability Study, op. cit., page 2-1.

345. Rieke, Statements to Congress, op. cit.

346. Water Production Reliability Study, op. cit., page 2-1.

347. Dickerson, Richard, "Pyramids, Fish Tails and Other Myths," The Truckee River Times, Vol. 6, No. 5, December 1996, pages 1-2.

348. Water right application file 9330, Office of the State Engineer, Nevada Division of Water Resources, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada.

349. This section states that "...the Preliminary Settlement Agreement as modified by the Ratification Agreement, and the [Truckee River] Operating Agreement, shall not take effect until the Pyramid Lake Tribe's claim to the remaining waters of the Truckee River which are not subject to vested or perfected rights has been finally resolved in a manner satisfactory to the State of Nevada and the Pyramid Lake Tribe..." [For a reprint of the Preliminary Settlement Agreement, see TRUCKEE RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., Appendix 2, pages 119-126..

350. Water right application file 9330, op. cit.

351. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

352. Ibid.

353. RESOLVE, Center for Environmental Dispute Resolution, 2828 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 402, Washington, D.C., 20007. Telephone: (202) 944-2300; Fax: (202) 338-1264.

354. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 28, 1996, page 10A.

355. Truckee-Carson Settlement Negotiations Meeting Notes, Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, April 1995.

356. Reno-Gazette Journal, January 22, 1996, pages 1B and 4B.

357. This amount was derived from the difference between the old rate that developers had to purchase, which was 1.72 acre-feet for every acre-foot of water demand, and the new rate, 1.1 acre-feet. The new lower rate requirement is based upon more efficient operation of the Truckee River under the implementation of the Negotiated Settlement and a new Truckee River Operating Agreement. The difference, 0.62 acre-foot, is equal to the $1,350 fee based on the approximate cost of this amount of water on the local water market (i.e., approximately $2,180 per acre-foot).

358. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1995, page 6A.

359. Sparks Tribune, June 25, 1996.

360. Gotta, Sandi, "Steamboat Creek Restoration Project News," The Truckee River Times, Vol. 6, No. 5, December 1996, page 2.

361. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 30, 1996, page 3B.

362. TCID has voluntarily left a 4,000 acre-feet minimum pool in Lake Lahontan for fish habitat purposes. The negotiations addressed an additional amount of water from the Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) water rights for the reservoir (up to 20,000 acre-feet). [Hartung. op. cit..

363. On July 20, the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe filed a suit (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians v. City of Reno, et al., and James G. Watt [Secretary of the Interior]) seeking enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior were also named as defendants. The suit sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as money damages because a Joint Water Pollution Control Project (JWPC), undertaken by Reno and Sparks pursuant to an EPA grant, was allegedly having numerous direct and indirect serious adverse effects on water quality in the Truckee River where the endangered cui-ui and the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout are located. Interestingly, the two cities cross-claimed against the EPA and the USDI claiming that the USDI had created the jeopardy situation in the Truckee River fishery by diverting water at Derby Dam for the Newlands Irrigation Project in Churchill County. If successful, this action by the cities would hold the USDI responsible for money damages, if awarded. [Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, op. cit..

364. Truckee-Carson Settlement Negotiations Meeting Notes, op. cit.

365. Natural Resources Conservation Service, op. cit.

366. "Algae Threatens Tahoe's Clarity, Plants and Animals," North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, June 21, 1996, page 5A.

367. Eutrophication is the process of enrichment of water bodies by nutrients. Eutrophication may be accelerated by human activities and thereby speed up the aging process. [See Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit..

368. Reno Gazette-Journal, pages 1A and 7A, July 22, 1995.

369. Joplin, op. cit.

370. Final Environmental Impact Statement, Water Rights Acquisition for Lahontan Valley Wetlands, Churchill County, Nevada, Executive Summary, Volume 1, and Volume 2 (Appendix), U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, Portland, Oregon, September 1996.

371. See NRS 540A.080.

372. Non-voting members to the Washoe County Regional WaterPlanning Commission included: (1) one member appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Nevada; (2) one member appointed by the advocate for customers of public utilities in the office of the Attorney General; (3) one member appointed by the administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR); (4) one member appointed by the State Engineer; (5) one member appointed by the administrator of the Nevada Division of WaterPlanning (NDWP) of the DCNR; (6) One member appointed by the board of directors of the water conservancy district which is largest in area which includes any part of the region; (7) one member appointed by the county District Board of Health; (8) one member of the public at large appointed by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting members; and (9) additional members with expertise in an area that the majority of the voting members determines is necessary and appointed by the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting members. [See NRS 540A.090..

373. Sun Valley General Improvement District.

374. Sierra Pacific Power Company (SPPCo).

375. Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe.

376. Washoe County Water Conservation District (WCWCD).

377. The regional water plan must consist of the following required major elements (along with sub-requirements): (1) quality of surface water; (2) quality of ground water; (3) supply of surface water; (4) supply of underground water; (5) control of floods and drainage of storm water, as it relates to surface water; (6) control of floods and drainage of storm water, as it relates to underground water; and (7) cost and financing of each major project. [See NRS 540A.140..

378. NRS 540A.250-NRS 540A.280.

379. NRS 540A.290 and NRS 540A.300.

380. By August 1996, five wells had been identified as having high levels of perchloroethylene (PCE): (1) High Street (High and Kuenzli streets), PCE level 18.3 parts per billion; (2) Morrill Street (at Commercial Row), PCE level 4.5 parts per billion; (3) Kietzke Lane (at Kuenzli Street), PCE level 4.9 parts per billion; (4) Mill Street (Market Street and Harvard Way), PCE level 5.45 parts per billion; and (5) Corbett Street (at Roger Corbett Elementary School), PCE level 4.9 parts per billion. At least 320 potential sources for the chemical had been found in the Truckee Meadows contaminating the groundwater and the above five (5) Sierra Pacific Power Company wells.

381. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 22, 1995, page 1C.

382. Lake Tahoe volume estimates have been verified by the U.S. Geological Survey as derived from surface elevation figures and Lake Tahoe bathymetric analysis (elevation-volume relationships).

383. From information provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada.

384. From information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Projects Office, Carson City, Nevada.

385. Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam into the Truckee Canal for Lahontan Reservoir were virtually suspended on March 25, 1995, except for Truckee Division water rights which rely solely on water from the Truckee River. Before that cutoff date, however, in the 1995 water year (October 1, 1994-September 30, 1995), 2,560 acre-feet had been diverted in October 1994, 6,230 acre-feet in November, 8,960 acre-feet in December, 23,220 acre-feet in January 1995, 23,200 acre-feet in February, and 23,290 acre-feet in March, for a total of 87,460 acre-feet of total diversions, equivalent to approximately 47 percent of an average water year's total diversions into the Truckee Canal (for years of record 1967-1993). [Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Projects Office, Carson City, Nevada.] All Truckee River diversions were made in accordance with the prevailing OCAP and were based on the most recent snow-pact water content forecasts by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Subsequent spills from Lahontan Reservoir were based on an unusually wet spring, which was not forecasted. [Hartung. op. cit..

386. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 3, 1995, page 1B, and personal conversation with Al Olson, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Projects Office, Carson City Office, August 29, 1995.

387. CARSON RIVER ATLAS, op. cit., pages 95-96.

388. Public Law 101-618, Section 209.(a)(1)(B).

389. Reno Gazette-Journal, September 14, 1995, page 3B, and conversation with Alan Biaggi, op. cit., September 1995.

390. Truckee River diversions at Derby Dam totaled 23,220 acre-feet in January 1995, 23,200 acre-feet in February, and 23,290 acre-feet in March before diversions to Lahontan Reservoir were terminated, for a total diversion of 69,710 acre-feet in calendar year 1995. This water was used solely to fill Lahontan Reservoir. Subsequently, due to the threat of flooding, TCID was forced to spill water from Lahontan Reservoir. [Figures provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Projects Office, Carson City, Nevada..

391. Reno-Gazette Journal, September 25, 1995, page 2B.

392. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 19, 1997, page 5C.

393. Reno-Gazette Journal, November 2, 1995, pages 1B and 4B.

394. The Churchill County lawsuit maintained that a "programmatic Environmental Impact Statement" had not been prepared by the federal government to assess the many federal actions in the Newlands Project and their cumulative impact on the physical and social environment within the project. The county's request for an injunction was to stop further federal government actions until such a cumulative EIS was completed under NEPA guidelines. At that time, it was reported that there were at least nine separate federal actions in process under the Public Law 101-618 umbrella in the Newlands Project without a programmatic EIS having been completed. [Hartung, op. cit..

395. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 3, 1995, pages 1C and 4C.

396. In April 1994, Elizabeth Ann Rieke, Assistant Secretary of Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior, reported to Congress that the Bureau of Reclamation had calculated the amount of Truckee River excess water diversions by TCID from 1983 to 1987 to be 1,058,000 acre-feet and that in accordance with the Negotiated Settlement (Public Law 101-618, Section 209(h)(1)) the Secretary of the Interior was required to pursue through a negotiated settlement or litigation the recoupment of such waters. [See Rieke, Statements to Congress, op. cit..

397. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 12, 1995, page 2B.

398. Lahontan Valley News, Fallon, Nevada, December 12, 1995.

399. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 24, 1995, pages 1C-2C.

400. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 26, 1995, page 2B.

401. Since October 1994 these daily average discharges were reported to have been: October 1994--804 pounds; November 1994--765 pounds; December 1994--623 pounds; January 1995-- 683 pounds; February 1995--813 pounds; March 1995--1,414 pounds; April 1995--901 pounds; May 1995--1,858 pounds; June 1995--1,327 pounds; July--1,092 pounds; August 1995--1,121 pounds; September 1995--1,923 pounds; October 1995--1,160 pounds; November 1995--1,034 pounds; December 1995--2,084 pounds. [See Reno-Gazette Journal, January 22, 1996, pages 1B and 4B..

402. Reno-Gazette Journal, January 25, 1996, page 2B.

403. Snow telemetry [Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture].

404. Reno-Gazette Journal, February 21, 1996, page 1, and February 22, 1996, page 1B. SNOTEL information was provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture.

405. Young, Desna, "Noxious Weed Update," The Truckee River Times, Vol. 6, No. 5, December 1996, page 3.

406. The Nephelometric Turbidity Unit, or NTU, is a unit of measure for the turbidity of water resulting from the use of a Nephelometer and based on the amount of light that is reflected off the water. This unit is not identical to the Jackson Turbidity Unit (JTU). [See Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit..

407. Personal communication, Randy Alstadt, Senior Water Treatment Engineer, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Reno, Nevada, January 29, 1997.

408. Director's Office, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State of Nevada, Carson City, Nevada.

409. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 3, 1996, page 1B.

410. Interestingly, in the same paper in which the Reno City Council's resolution to oppose this merger was reported, an article appeared noting the accomplishments of economic diversification as exemplified by a Reno-Sparks firm called Quality Bearing Service, a subsidiary of Brenco, Inc. It was noted that the Southern Pacific Railroad will be buying more than half of the 20,000 reconditioned bearings from Quality Bearing Service's Sparks, Nevada, plant. [See Reno Gazette-Journal, March 29, 1996, pages 4C..

411. Reno-Gazette Journal, March 29, 1996, pages 1B and 4C.

412. Reno-Gazette Journal, March 17, 1996, page 8A.

413. Natural Resources Conservation Service, op. cit.

414. Reno Gazette-Journal, April 30, 1996, page 3B.

415. Reno Gazette-Journal, May 13, 1996, page 1A, and June 19, 1996, page 2B.

416. North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, May 10, 1996, pages 1 and 18A.

417. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 10, 1996, pages 1B and 4B.

418. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 8, 1996, pages 1A and 6A.

419. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 17, 1996, pages 1D and 5D.

420. The sequence of steps taken to purify SPPCo's water consists of eleven (11) steps including: (1) Begin with unpurified water; (2) Screening--removal of leaves, sticks and large foreign material; (3) Pre-Chlorination--removal of disease organisms, bad taste, and odors; (4) Pre-Settling--settling out large dirt particles; (5) Flash Mix--a process in which chemicals are added to cause fine dirt to clump together; (6) Coagulation/Flocculation--a process in which flash mix particles are gathered and made even larger; (7) Sedimentation--a process in which gravity is used to settle out the large particles formed in coagulation/flocculation; (8) Filtration--removal of any remaining particles; water is at least 99 percent particle-free at this point in the process; (9) Final Chlorination--removal of any remaining disease organisms and adds necessary chlorine to prevent microbe regrowth in the distribution system; (10) Corrosion Control--a step in which chemicals are added to neutralize the corrosive effects of "soft" water systems, thereby preventing damage to plumbing and fixtures; (11) Finally, effluent pumps send the purified water to residential, commercial, and industrial establishments.

421. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 7, 1996, page 2C, and personal communication, Sandra Canning, Manager, Water Treatment, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Reno, Nevada, August 7, 1996.

422. North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, June 19, 1996.

423. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 27, 1996, page 1D.

424. Sparks Tribune, June 25, 1996.

425. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 25, 1996, page 4D.

426. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 27, pages 1A and 4A.

427. Reno Gazette-Journal, June 20, 1996.

428. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 9, 1996, page 1B.

429. Prior to this time, the Wildcreek Gold Course relied on the Orr Ditch for its water. During the drought period of 1987-1994, this ditch was cut off in 1992 and 1994, severely damaging the golf course.

430. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 10, 1996, page 4C.

431. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 11, 1996, page 1B.

432. The reported noted that the likelihood of a toxic spill was once every 80.8 years along the Truckee River above the California-Nevada border and once ever 154.75 years below the border. With respect to interpreting the probability of occurrence, the author noted that "There are people who have lived on the Mississippi River for 30 years who have been through five 100-year floods." The most likely substances in a spill, listed in decreasing order included: (1) sulfuric acid; (2) phosphoric acid, diesel fuel, ammonium nitrate; (3) anhydrous ammonia; (4) sodium hydroxide; and (5) butyl ether. Other likely substances of equal but lesser likelihood included butane, calcium carbide, carbon disulfide, methyl alcohol, methyl ether, naphtha, potassium, hydroxide and propane. In a related incident, in July 1991, seven cars of a slow Southern Pacific Railroad train derailed near Dunsmuir, California, dumping 19,000 gallons of a fungicide and herbicide into the Upper Sacramento River. The river carried the chemicals into Lake Shasta, located nearly 40 miles downstream. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, that spill virtually killed all aquatic animals and thousands of plants along the river's 37-mile course. More than 1 million fish were killed, including 275,000 wild trout. Also killed along the river were as many as 250,000 willows and 300,000 cottonwoods, which would not regrow for 14-16 years.

433. For the Union Pacific estimate, this would decrease the most frequent probability of occurrence to just over once ever 35 years and for the City of Reno estimate to just under once ever 30 years.

434. Reno Gazette-Journal, July 28, 1996, pages 1C and 2C.

435. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 3, 1996, page 1B.

436. Apparently, Congress was anxious to shed its more recent anti-environment label, voting 392-30 in the House of Representatives and 98-0 in the Senate.

437. Cryptosporidium is a parasite often found in the intestines of livestock which contaminates water when the animal feces interact with a water source. In healthy individuals, infection may result in an acute diarrheal illness lasting for 2-3 weeks. In immuno-suppressed individuals (e.g., AIDs patients, children, elderly), cryptosporidiosis may be life-threatening. [See Horton, WATER WORDS DICTIONARY, op. cit..

438. Reno Gazette-Journal, August 3, 1996, page 3A.

439. Because Congress missed the August 1, 1996, deadline to renew the Safe Drinking Water Act, more than $725 million for a revolving loan fund to improve water systems disappeared. Congress will now have to enact separate legislation to restore this money. [Reno Gazette-Journal, August 7, 1996, page 12A..

440. It was noted that the following actions may be justified in obtaining this adequate water capacity: (1) Obtain additional water rights elsewhere within the basin; (2) undertake an aggressive program to limit leaks within its system, which is now estimated to lose up to 20 percent of the water pumped from the lake; and (3) limit outdoor water use. [See Reno-Gazette Journal, November 19, 1996, page 1B..

441. Final Environmental Impact Statement, Water Rights Acquisition for Lahontan Valley Wetlands, op. cit., Executive Summary, pages Summary-1 through Summary-7. Also see the NDWP's Carson River Chronology for a listing of the eight (8) indicators and a more complete description of the five (5) alternatives.

442. Section 209(h)(1) of P.L. 101-618 states that "The provisions of subsections 209(d) [Water Bank], (e) [Recreation Study], (f) [Effluent Reuse Study], and (g) [Repayment Cancellation] of this section shall not become effective unless and until the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District has entered into a settlement agreement with the Secretary [of the Interior] concerning claims for recoupment of water diverted in excess of the amounts permitted by applicable operating criteria and procedures..

443. Lahontan Valley News, September 25, 1996.

444. The panel consisted of Carl Cahill (Washoe County District Health Department), Frank Luchetti (Sierra Pacific Power Company), Bill Owen (Nevada Office of Emergency Planning), Brad Shipley (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX), and the panel moderator, Allen Biaggi (Nevada Division of Environmental Protection). See Conference Program, Assessing the State of Nevada's Environment, Lawlor Events Center, University of Nevada, Reno, September 30-October 1, 1996.

445. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 1, 1996, page 1B.

446. Should it be determined that pumping of the pit must continue, then the responsible parties involved in the site cleanup would need to construct a pipeline along the railroad right-of-way and then over to the Glendale water treatment plant, located nearly three and one-half miles upstream and to the west of the pit. It has been estimated that this pipeline will cost as much as $3 million to construct. [Sources: Personal communication, Allen Biaggi, Deputy Administrator, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, October 18, 1996, and Reno Gazette-Journal, October 2, 1996, page 1C..

447. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 10, 1996, page 3B.

448. This level of retrofit is defined as the ratio of the retrofitted homes to those homes which needed to be retrofitted at the time of the passage of the law. Once this level is attained, all homes retrofitted become subject to metering billing and all homes subsequently retrofitted will also be subject to metered billing. Personal communication, John Erwin, Water Meter Project Manager, Sierra Pacific Power Company, October 9, 1996.

449. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 11, 1996, page 3B.

450. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 11, 1996, page 4A.

451. From data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada. Using the 1900-1995 (water year) period of record, 54.6 percent of the Truckee River's annual runoff was recorded during the March-June time frame and 45.8 percent was recorded during just the three month period of April-June. Monthly runoff by month as a percent of the annual average was as follows: October-4.4 percent; November-4. percent; December-5.6 percent; January-5.9 percent; February-6.3 percent; March-8.8 percent; April-13.8 percent; May-19.0 percent; June-13.6 percent; July-7.4 percent; August-5.7 percent; and September-5.0 percent.

452. Principal agencies and/or dignitaries represented at the signing ceremony included: Kathleen A. McGinty, Chairperson of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Senator Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada); Bureau of Indian Affairs; Attorney General's Office, Environment and Natural Resources, U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX; U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada; Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe; Mayor, City of Reno; Mayor, City of Sparks; Chairman, Washoe County Commission; and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Quality Planning.

453. Specifically, the agreement included the dismissal of two pending lawsuits both entitled Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (CV-R-85-025-DWH and CV-R-86-438-DWH). See "Western States Water", Western States Water Council, Midvale, Utah, January 10, 1997, Issue No. 1182.

454. Unlike California, which typically mandates a minimum instream flow for fishery and environmental purposes, Nevada has no such law to maintain minimum flows in its streams and rivers. Twice in recent history (August 1992 and 1994) the Truckee River completely dried up between Sierra Pacific Power Company's Glendale water treatment plant and Steamboat Creek, i.e., the outflow of the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, a distance of nearly four miles.

455. This may be the first time ever in the United States that a community committed money to purchase water rights to dilute the effects of its effluent discharges rather than spend even more money on expensive plant and equipment. In this regard, it was noted by the U.S. EPA representative, Mike Schulz, Associate Director of the EPA's Region IX Water Division, that this water rights purchase for pollution dilution was "extremely unusual" and something that he was not aware of anywhere else.

456. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 11, 1996, pages 1A and 8A.

457. Reno Gazette-Journal, October 12, 1996, pages 1A and 5A. The Bruce R. Thompson Federal Building contains six courtrooms and provides space for the U.S. Marshal Service, probation and pretrial services, as well as the Reno offices of Nevada's Congressional delegation. The front of the building has a gentle inward curve. The first floor exterior is made of polished Sierra white granite while the entrance consists of a two-story rotunda of glass and polished black and creme marble with a vaulted ceiling. In the front of the building is a replica of an object, probably a pendant, believed to have belonged to a prehistoric shaman, discovered in 1936 during the first excavation of Humboldt Cave in central Nevada. The original artifact measured 4.6 inches long, 1.7 inches wide and less than 1/8-inch thick. The exterior sculpture, a welded steel work designed by Michael Heizer and named "Perforated Object," measures 27 feet long, 9 feet 9 inches high and weighs nearly two tons, and is characterized by its Swiss cheese appearance. Michael Heizer is the son of anthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Robert Heizer, who discovered the original pendant.

458. While the treated effluent is practically pure enough to drink, the treated wastewater nonetheless is still rich in nitrogen and phosphorus which stimulate algae growth, and residual chlorine which can kill fish.

459. Reno-Gazette Journal, October 24, 1996, pages 1B and 2B.

460. The smaller assessment district would cover property owners in the immediate area of the contamination. The larger district would include virtually the entire Truckee Meadows water service area of Sierra Pacific Power Company and other locations where the quality of drinking water would improve.

461. Reno-Gazette Journal, October 23, 1996, page 5C.

462. South Pass (7,550 feet above mean sea level) was discovered in 1812 and provided early pioneers and emigrant parties a relatively easy route through the Rocky Mountains and across the Continental Divide. It is situated some 110 miles northeast of Fort Bridger, which is located in southwestern Wyoming along the present-day route of U.S. Interstate Highway 80. It was at Fort Bridger where the Oregon-Mormon Trail separated into the Oregon Trail (which ended near The Dallas along the Columbia River in Oregon) and the Mormon Trail (which went on to Salt Lake City, then across the Great Salt Lake Desert, into Nevada and then down the Humboldt Valley where it met the California, or Humboldt Trail at Wells, Nevada).

463. Pugsley traveled the Donner Party's original route with his dog Samantha ("Sam") and, for a while, with a donated horse named Patches. The horse had to be left in Carlin, Nevada, when it went lame. While losing 70 pounds in body fat and 7 inches from his waistline, Bill Pugsley claimed he will never lose the memory of those persons who helped him along his arduous route through the Great Basin.

464. Reno-Gazette Journal, November 1, 1996, page 1D.

465. Reno-Gazette Journal, November 7, 1996, page 8A.

466. Reno-Gazette Journal, November 9, 1996, page 1A.

467. Nevada hydrographic area 84 (Truckee River Basin).

468. Warm Springs Valley, also locally referred to as Palomino Valley, is located in the Truckee River Basin, Nevada Hydrographic Region Number 6, Hydrographic Area 84. In 1970, Rocketdyne closed down its facility and sold the property to developers who began selling 40-acre parcels to the public. Early water analyses found high levels of nitrates and beryllium in the soil and groundwater, but none of the tests at that time were designed for TCE, which was not listed as hazardous until 1989.

469. Reno Gazette-Journal, November 12, 1996, pages 1A and 4A.

470. As of April 1, snowpack water content in the Lake Tahoe Basin was reported at 168 percent (of normal) in 1995 and 116 percent in 1996, while in the Truckee River Basin (excluding the Lake Tahoe Basin) the snowpack water content was reported at 184 percent in 1995 and 121 percent in 1996. [Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service, op. cit..

471. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 3, 1996.

472. Chisholm, Graham, "Interior Issues Revised Newlands Project Diversion Rules," The Truckee River Times, Vol. 6, No. 5, December 1996, page 3; Personal communication, Al Olson, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Area Office, Carson City, Nevada, January 8, 1997.

473. Reno Gazette-Journal, December 22, 1996, page 18C.

474. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 19, 1997, page 5C.

475. For an extensive analysis of this flood event, see Horton, Gary A., The Flood of 1997--Preliminary Report: An Analysis of Snowpack Water Content and Precipitation Changes in the Waterbasins of Western Nevada and the Effects on Runoff and Stream Flows, December 16, 1996--January 6, 1997, Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, January 1997.

476. Available runoff is not the same as effective or actual runoff. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has estimated that on saturated soils and saturated snowpack up to 80 percent of available runoff becomes effective runoff and enters the stream system. [See Horton, Gary A., The Flood of 1997--Preliminary Report: An Analysis of Snowpack Water Content and Precipitation Changes in the Waterbasins of Western Nevada and the Effects on Runoff and Stream Flows, December 16, 1996--January 6, 1997, Nevada Division of WaterPlanning, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Carson City, Nevada, January 1997..

477. For a more extensive analysis of the causes and effects of "The Flood of 1997," see Horton, The Flood of 1997, Preliminary Report: An Analysis of Snowpack Water Content and Precipitation Changes in the Waterbasins of Western Nevada and the Effect on Runoff and Stream Flows, December 16, 1996-January 6, 1997, op. cit.

478. The disaster declaration number (contract number) assigned to this disaster declaration was FEMA-1153-DR-NV. The amended incident period was December 20, 1996 through January 17, 1997.

479. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 9, 1997, page 10A.

480. Alstadt, op. cit.

481. Sewage enters the plant through the South Sewer Interceptor, serving only Reno, and the North Sewer Interceptor, serving both Reno and Sparks. It is believed that stormwater inflows enter the sewer system from older neighborhoods where some storm water sewers may still be tied into the sewer system. Personal communication, Greg Ritland, Operations Superintendent, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, Reno, Nevada, February 3, 1997.

482. Initial, provisional readings by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, Carson City, Nevada, indicated a flow at the Steamboat Creek gaging station, located just upstream from the sewage treatment plant's outflow, of -300 cubic feet per second (i.e., water movement upstream). Personal communication, Larry Bohman, Supervisory Hydrologist, USGS, Carson City, Nevada, January 30, 1997.

483. Personal communication, Greg Ritland, Operations Superintendent, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, Reno, Nevada, January 29, 1997.

484. Taxiway A was repaired on January 29, 1997 through the efforts of the Nevada Air National Guard, 152nd Airlift Wing, which sent two C-130 cargo aircraft to acquire 64,000 pounds of metal runway mats from a military stockpile in Charlotte, North Carolina. The mats were installed by Granite Construction and Air National Guard personnel. Taxiway B was to be repaired in a similar manner.

485. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 30, 1997, page 7D.

486. Reno Gazette-Journal, January 7, 1997, page 4B.

487. Personal communication, Chad Blanchard, U.S. District Court, Office of the Federal Water Master, Reno, Nevada, January 7, 1996.

488. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Area Office, Carson City, Nevada.

489. Reno Gazette-Journal, March 7, 1997, page 1A.