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Wildlife & Habitat

Birds landing in a marsh

The Stillwater wetlands are well-known to birders because of the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, such as Long-billed dowitcher, Black-necked stilt, and American avocet (above) passing through during migration (in a normal to above average water year). The refuge is an area of International Importance within the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (external link) 

  • Average Water forecast this year

    SPR drying500

     Could there be a sign (and sigh!) of relief for Nevada this spring? Winter storms have dumped a normal amount of snow in the Sierra range, which is more promising for the Carson River watershed this spring.

    As of March, 2016 the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District announced a 70% allotment to water users in the Lahontan Valley, a 50% increase from last year.  This will have a positive impact on wildlife, migratory birds and public use on the refuge, and we may actually see water flowing to the open or hunt zone this fall. Water deliveries begin in late March, and we expect sanctuary wetlands to hold water in time for spring nesting season.

    Wildlife-dependent recreation permitted at Stillwater NWR includes: wildlife observation, hunting (in season), environmental education, interpretation and photography. Please remember that Wildlife Comes First on a refuge, so if your actions cause animals to move or change their behavior, then you are creating a disturbance and should move away or modify your actions. Wildlife harassment is harmful and illegal. 

    The link below shows the most current map of refuge wetlands. Updates will be posted during the season as conditions change.

    Click this link for the current NV water supply outlook report, updated monthly . Here you will find snowpack and water flow measurements from the USDA/Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Reno NV. 

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  • Stillwater Sights and Sounds

    yellow headed bb

    Yellow-headed blackbirds are common migrants through the Stillwater marsh in spring and summer. Males stake out territories among the cattails to attract a female and build their nest. Red-wing and Brewers blackbirds also are common, along with thousands of songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and waterfowl in normal water years.

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  • Water is Life for Wetlands

    resouce mgmt page

    Stillwater NWR is irrigated from the Carson River through a series of canals and delivery ditches, operated by the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District in Fallon NV. The refuge is the largest water rights owner in the Lahontan Valley, and has an active Realty division which has Federal authority to purchase water rights from area landowners, through a 'willing seller/buyer' program. This helps to provide water critical to maintaining these unique desert wetlands. 

    In low water years, priority maintenance projects can be completed on water control structures, delivery canals, bridges and access roads. Watch for heavy equipment on the refuge during the week, especially in summer when dry conditions exist.  

    The link below connects to an outside website managed by a third party, WQ DataLive, and provides water flow readings from meters placed throughout the Lahontan Valley, including Stillwater NWR and the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribal wetlands. Depending on water delivery, there may be no or very low readings for the water gauges operated by this system.  Stillwater NWR has staff gauges in most wetlands units that are checked more frequently. Results from staff gauge measurements are posted in the Drought section above. The USFWS is not responsible for the accuracy of data posted on the WQDataLive website.

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Last Updated: Mar 17, 2016
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