Walker Basin

Desert Terminus Lakes Symposium - Nov. 9-10, 2016 Conference Proceedings

a comprehensive, research-based project to sustain the basin’s economy, ecosystem and lake.

RESEARCH IN THE WALKER BASIN has been remarkably productive for two key reasons: the contributions of the research findings to the Walker Basin communities, our state, nation and agriculturally dominated watersheds in similar environments throughout the world; and the exceptional collaborative effort of two of Nevada’s major research institutions, DRI and the University of Nevada, Reno.

In an effort to restore Walker Lake, Congress enacted a law in 2005 that created a program to acquire water rights from willing sellers in the Walker Basin. In order to enact an
ecologically and economically sustainable program of water acquisitions, a large-scale integrated research program was established. The primary objective of this research program
was to provide the hydrologic, ecologic, economic, and agricultural data needed to inform decisions related to water acquisitions. The first phase of this research concluded in 2009, the second phase in 2012 and the third and final phase in 2016 [Read the final reports].

Walker Basin Project Field Day and Barbecue

Research Highlights

  • Research shows Walker River and Lake are at an ecological crossroads
  • Fish at Walker Lake get their diet from the bottom of the lake to a greater degree than other comparable lakes
  • Alternative, low-water-use grains with profit potential were successfully grown for the first time in Mason Valley
  • Warm and cool season grasses were grown and studied for their potential as biofuels
  • Native grasses and shrubs are being grown to study revegetation on land with little or no irrigation
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Downloads Library:
Reports and Presentations

Walker Basin Project 2016 Final Report

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Walker Basin Project 2013 Final Report

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Meet the Researchers

DRI has conducted research in every state in the nation and on every continent in the world.

Sudeep Chandra, Ph.D., University assistant professor of aquatic ecology, is part of a worldwide National Geographic-sponsored effort to save the world’s largest fishes.

Wally Miller, Ph.D., University professor of soils and hydrology, has studied soils, runoff and the impact on fresh water and the watershed for 25 years. His 2002 Gondola Wildfire study led to new soils management strategies in the Tahoe Basin.

Douglas Boyle, Ph.D., University associate professor, researches water resource issues in arid and semi-arid environments and has developed hydrologic models with research groups throughout the United States and Europe.