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Toiyabe Chapter
Nevada and Eastern California
PO Box 8096
Reno, NV 89507

(775) 323-3162

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Petroglyphs  show people have long lived in the desert near  springs and along the White River and Meadow Valley Wash. (D. Ghiglieri)
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge Upper Lake


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 thtour at pahranagate springs supported by the underground aquifer.

Launce Rake wrote an article that appeared in the following Monday's LV Sun Newspaper.

Heidi 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 ofBio Explained 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 areas.

Following tDiscussionshe 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 tLund Springhat 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 fuel Las 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.Globe Mallow Fields in recent burn

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 Lytle.

Much of the iSpring Valley State Parknformal 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 Valley 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.

TBaker Potluckhat evening's dinner was a potluck with the town of 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.flower

Opponents of 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 Nevada ...