Walker Lake recovery takes a 320-acre step

The West Walker River crosses the Compston Ranch in Smith Valley.

The West Walker River crosses the Compston Ranch in Smith Valley.
Walker Basin Conservancy

The Walker Basin Conservancy has acquired a 320-acre parcel on the West Walker River in Smith Valley.

Along with the property, the Conservancy has acquired 3.6 cubic feet per second of decreed surface water rights and 635 acre-feet of storage water rights on the West Walker River.

The parcel, part of the historic Compston Ranch, spans 2 miles of the West Walker River. With this acquisition, both sides of the river for this 2-mile stretch are protected in perpetuity by the Conservancy.

“We are excited to build on the momentum of a record year with more water for Walker Lake. This acquisition benefits Walker Lake, critical wildlife habitat and preserves open space in Smith Valley. Working with local farmers and ranchers, the Conservancy is committed to maintaining and restoring this property and showcasing it to the public in due time. This partnership demonstrates the belief in the Walker Basin Conservancy, our mission, and our accomplishments by community members in the Walker Basin,” says Peter Stanton, Walker Basin Conservancy Executive Director.

Funding for the transaction was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Walker Basin Restoration Program. With this acquisition, the conservancy now administers 55.5 percent of the water required for the long-term restoration of Walker Lake to a salinity level that sustains trout and other fish species.

The Walker Basin Conservancy works to protect and restore Walker Lake and the Walker River watershed. The Conservancy has worked with 156 farmers and ranchers to increase flows of the Walker River, created more than 29 miles of public access to the river, and restored habitat on more than 5,000 acres.


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