Cloud-seeding project aims to aid Walker Lake recovery |

Cloud-seeding project aims to aid Walker Lake recovery

Staff Reports

Written comments are being sought for a plan to spend $1.358 million to seed clouds in the upper Walker River basin in order to provide more fresh water to Walker Lake.

The Bureau of Reclamation is proposing funding the Desert Research Institute’s cloud seeding efforts.

The institute, based out of Reno, has been seeding clouds in the upper Walker since 1992, but reduced funding is threatening to end their efforts.

The money would allow the institute to continue seeding clouds, with a few modifications, including an additional ground-based station.

The project would continue through the spring of 2015 and would include installing and operating six ground-based cloud seeding stations from November through April and a contract for 50 hours of airborne cloud seeding from December through March.

The effectiveness of the effort would be determined by measuring stream flows on the Walker.

Each of the ground sites includes a device mounted on a trailer and a 16-foot antenna. The trailers would be moved into place at the beginning of the season and then moved away in spring.

The cloud-seeding generators burn silver iodide, sodium iodide, salt and acetone to release microscopic silver iodide particles which can help form ice crystals, thus making snow.

Some of the sites are in sage grouse habitat, so the antennas will have to be lowered in the spring to keep birds of prey from perching there to hunt the grouse.

Comments are due by Aug. 27.

Mail comments to Jane Schmidt, Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Area Office, 705 N. Plaza, Room 320, Carson City, NV 89701. They may also be e-mailed to or faxed to 882-7592.

The comments become part of the public record, as do the name of the commenter and any included information.