Nevada and Eastern California
PO Box 8096
Reno, NV 89507
Pages updated monthly
Petroglyphs show people have
long lived in the desert near springs and along the White River
and Meadow Valley Wash. (D. Ghiglieri)
3-DAY ROAD TOUR MAY 21-23 TO
NEVADA A SUCCESS!
Information Shared, New Acquaintenaces Made,
Old Friendships Renewed.
The tour started in Las Vegas on
pleasantly cool Friday morning. Over the 3 days of the tour
there were around 3 dozen people travelling with the group.
Along the way we all met many dozens of local residents from Lund to
Baker to Panaca dependent on the springs supported by the underground
Rake wrote an
article that appeared in the following Monday's
LV Sun Newspaper.
Walters wrote an article in Las Vegas City Life Newspaper entitled
"Dear Las Vegas".
We proceeded to Pahranagat
National Wildlife Refuge, where we met with Desert National Wildlife
Refuge Complex Manager Dick Birger and Pahranagat NWR Refuge Manager
Eddie Pusch, who each provided an overview of complex and refuge
history and the issues related to the proposed export of water from the
Desert National Wildlife Refuge to Las Vegas.
Tom and Janet provided our
overviews of the hydrological and biological
resources -- discussions that continued over the course of the
tour. The discussions about the ecological significance of
the Pahranagat Valley and the White River system as a whole focused
on the unique characteristics of the systems and species, its endemic
fishes, the extinction of the Pahranagat spinedace, and the dire
circumstances of the Pahranagat roundtail chub.
We discussed the
various other unique species and ecological communities of the White
River flow system, including the White River spinedace and other
endemic fishes, invertebrates, and plants; the Pahranagat vole,
southwest toad, northern leopard frog; wetland, riparian, and
aquatic habitats, the juxtaposition of the White River system in
relation to the Pacific Flyway, the various wildlife refuges and
management areas that occur within the system, and the dependence of
wintering bald eagles, waterfowl, and other water birds upon these
Following the stop at the refuge, we
moved on to Crystal Spring for lunch and to peer over the fence at
the springs ("No Trespassing" signs were conspicuously
posted so). After lunch we proceeded north to the town of Lund,
where we were greeted by Rod McKenzie from one of the local
irrigation districts. Over the course of the remainder of the
afternoon, Rod toured us around to several springs in the Lund and
Preston areas. He gave the history of farming in
that area and described the various
agricultural uses that had
occurred since the area was settled by his ancestors and others
around the turn of the century. Rod was clear in expressing his
doubts that valleys surrounding these springs could sustain pumping to
Vegas's growth, but also acknowledged that the locals really didn't
know how much water they had beneath their lands. Our final
stop with Rod was to the ditch channeling a steady flow water of
irrigation water into Preston. A lot of water in that ditch,
too. The springs we visited still support various species
of acquatic animals before entering the irrigation systems.
The next day we drove from Ward
Mountain to Pioche (with a brief stop on Highway 93 to look at a mass
display of wildflowers in a burn north of town), where we met Farrel
Much of the informal discussion centered around the
earlier decision by the Lincoln County Commission to enter into the
agreement with Vidler Water Company. The large group of local ranchers
and community leaders didn't support that decision and were quite
concerned with the long-term
future of agriculture in southeastern Nevada.
In the afternoon, we toured Spring
State Park. Spring Valley, a beautiful canyon with a lush wetland
situated throughout much of the valley of the canyon, was packed with
Las Vegas campers enjoying the fishing opportunities. Ken
Lytle, who owns and grazes private land in the park related his
family's experience from several decades previous, when the State
threatened eminent domain of their lands. From there, we followed
the Meadow Valley Wash to Echo Canyon State Park and then proceeded
south to Panaca. From Panaca, we zipped back up Highway 93 to Highway
50, and north to Great Basin National Park to set up camp.
That evening's dinner was a potluck with the
Baker. There was a room-full of people for this event.
Bob Fulkerson gave the residents an overview of where we had been and
what we saw, and then introduced Assemblywomen Pierce and Leslie, who
each provided their heartfelt perspectives on the need to sustain
rural lifestyles, customs and cultures. They both expressed
interest in seeking alternative solutions to the long-term water
supply needs of Las Vegas Valley, while also addressing the
problem of uncontained population growth.
Our leisurely departure from the
Great Basin National Park was followed by a meeting with White
Pine County residents and community leaders in Ely later that
morning. The group
dispersed and headed for home. Overall, it was a 3 days
well spent by the participants.
water plan take trip to make point
A caravan of
conservationists set off Friday from
Las Vegas on a cross-state tour to take a firsthand look at the
proposed use of rural ground water to slake thirsts in urban Southern