The Lower Walker River Conveyance Protocol Tool

The Walker Basin Conservancy (Conservancy) is leading the effort to restore and maintain Walker Lake while protecting agricultural, environmental, and recreational interests throughout the Walker Basin. The Conservancy works to restore Walker Lake through the voluntary sale and lease of water rights in the Walker Basin. When restoration goals are reached, Lahontan cutthroat trout and other key species may thrive in Walker Lake once again. Along with acquiring and protecting water instream, the Conservancy manages restoration activities, including native plant re-vegetation on over 15,000 acres of retired agricultural land where associated water rights are being left instream to benefit Walker Lake.

The Conservancy is responsible for the implementation of the Walker Basin Restoration Program (Program), previously administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Program was established by Public Law 111-85 (2009) for the primary purpose of restoring and maintaining Walker Lake, and to protect agricultural, environmental and habitat interests in the Walker Basin consistent with that primary purpose. To restore Walker Lake, the Conservancy works with willing sellers in the basin to acquire water rights and convey this water to Walker Lake. The water acquired under the Program is referred to as Program Water and is tracked from the locations where water was acquired through the system to Walker Lake. Program Water is tracked through two accounting systems. Program Water is tracked from the historic points of diversion through the Walker River at the Wabuska streamgage (Wabuska Gage) using the Walker River Accounting Tool (WRAT). The WRAT is managed by the Walker River Irrigation District and daily snapshots of current flow conditions are available here. Program Water delivered to the Wabuska Gage is then tracked through the lower Walker River to Walker Lake using the Lower Walker River Conveyance Protocol (LWRCP) tool.

The LWRCP tool was jointly developed by the Walker River Paiute Tribe, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with technical support from USGS in January 2014. The LWRCP was developed to ensure that Program Water would flow through the Walker River Paiute Reservation on the lower reach of the Walker River to Walker Lake without effect to the Tribe’s existing water rights. The LWRCP tool tracks daily flows and Program Water along the lower Walker River and determines how much Program Water reaches Walker Lake.

Data from the LWRCP tool is available for all interested parties through these links:

Summary of Program Water Daily Accounting Calculations