Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pyramid Lake/Truckee-Carson Water Rights Settlement
Pyramid Lake/Truckee-Carson Water Rights Settlement -- (Title II of P.L. 101-618, the
Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribal Settlement Act, signed into law on November 9, 1990; 104 Stat.
3289) This Act includes a multitude of provisions impacting the Service that may be
summarized in three general categories -- endangered species, wetlands and wildlife, and studies.
- Required the Secretary to negotiate an Operating Agreement for management of the
Truckee River reservoirs, to provide for (among other provisions): the enhancement of spawning
flows in the lower Truckee River for the Pyramid Lake fishery, in a manner consistent with
the Secretary's responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); the operation of
Federal facilities for the purpose of meeting the Secretary's ESA responsibilities; and if
necessary, the development and implementation of a plan to mitigate for significant adverse
environmental impacts of the Agreement.
- Required the Secretary to comply with National Environmental Policy Act in negotiating
the Agreement, and prohibits him from signing it if it would result in an ESA section 7
- Required an expeditious updating and implementing of the recovery plans for the cui-ui and
the Lahontan cutthroat trout.
- Authorized the acquisition of water and water rights for the benefit of the Pyramid Lake
fishery, and required the use of the United States' right to store water in Stampede and
Prosser Reservoirs to be for the benefit of the Pyramid Lake fishery, with certain conditions.
- Established a "Pyramid Lake Paiute Fisheries Fund" in the Treasury, with the interest
available to the Tribe to implement plans, as approved by the Service and the Secretary, to
benefit of the Pyramid Lake fishery.
- Insulated the Newlands Project OCAP as adopted April 15, 1988, from any court challenge,
and any changes unless the Secretary, at his sole discretion, determines changes are
necessary to meet ESA or other responsibilities.
- Required the closure of the TJ, TJ-1, A and related drains which deliver contaminated
agricultural drainwater into Stillwater WMA.
- Directed the acquisition of water and water rights sufficient to maintain a long-term average
of 25,000 acres of wetlands in the Lahontan Valley, and required consultation with Nevada
and other affected parties for management of these rights.
- Transfers 77,520 acres of Bureau of Reclamation land at Stillwater WMA to the Service for
expansion of Stillwater NWR, and establishes purposes for the refuge.
- Authorizes transfer of Carson Lake and Pasture, and Indian Lakes areas to the State of
Nevada, subject to certain conditions.
- Established a "Lahontan Valley and Pyramid Lake Fish and Wildlife Fund" in the Treasury,
to receive donations and certain designated receipts, with Fund balances available for
appropriation for the benefit of Lahontan Valley fish and wildlife programs and restoration of
the Pyramid Lake fishery.
- Established fish and wildlife, including listed species, and recreation as a project purpose of
the Newlands Project, and required the Secretary, consistent with Project irrigation
purposes and the OCAP, to manage existing pre-regulatory reservoirs for fish and wildlife
- Established that Anahoe Island NWR as part of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, but
placed it under the primary jurisdiction of the Service, to be managed in accordance with
the Refuge System Administration Act, and authorized the Director to enter into cooperative
agreements with the Pyramid Lake Tribe regarding the refuge.
Studies and Reports
- Required the Secretary to study and report to Congress by November 9, 1993, on the
environmental, economic and social impacts of the water rights purchase program for
Lahontan Valley wetlands and the Pyramid Lake fishery; on the feasibility of improving the
efficiency of Newlands Project conveyance facilities; and in consultation with Nevada, on
administrative, operational and structural measures to benefit recreation on the Lahontan
Reservoir and the Truckee River downstream from Lahontan Dam.
- Required recommendations to Congress by November 26, 1997, on any revisions of the
boundaries of Stillwater NWR to include or exclude adjacent Service and BOR lands.
- Required the Secretary of the Navy, in consultation with the Secretary, to initiate a study by
November 9, 1991, of management actions at Fallon NAS that could reduce the need for
water delivery to the Station, with water so conserved to be utilized for fish and wildlife.
- Required the Secretary, in consultation with EPA, Nevada, and other parties, to study and
report to Congress (without a deadline) on the feasibility of using municipal wastewater to
improve or create wetlands.
- Directed the Secretary of the Army, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and
other parties, to
undertake a study of the rehabilitation of the lower Truckee River for the benefit of the
Pyramid Lake fishery.
The relevant documents comprising the legislative history of this title of the law are: Senate
Report 101-555; Senate floor statements as recorded on pages S17039-60 in the Congressional
Record of October 26, 1990; and House floor statements as recorded on pages H13366-78 in the
Congressional Record of October 27, 1990.
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