Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
NEVADA FWO: New Interpretive and Visitor Area At Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facility
California-Nevada Offices , January 9, 2009
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Interpretive displays At Marble Bluff . (photo: USFWS)
Interpretive displays At Marble Bluff . (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Interpretive displays and new visitor area At Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facilty. (photo: USFWS) 
Interpretive displays and new visitor area At Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facilty. (photo: USFWS)  - Photo Credit: n/a

by Jeannie Stafford, Nevada FWO
A new interpretive visitor area has just been completed at Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facility.  The facility includes five new interpretive panels featuring Lahontan cutthroat trout, cui-ui, American white pelicans and the history of the area.  Visitors will be able to learn about on-going research and monitoring activities that take place during spawning season, as well as how fish make their way up and over Marble Bluff dam to spawn.  In addition to a much needed parking area, visitors can now make use of a new picnic area while enjoying the view of Truckee River delta and local wildlife.


Marble Bluff Dam and Fish Passage Facility are located near the terminus of the Truckee River, approximately three miles upstream of Pyramid Lake.  It was constructed in 1976 to provide grade control for the lower Truckee River and to move the endangered cui-ui and threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout upriver to spawn.  


The facility consists of four major components: Marble Bluff Dam, fish lock, fishway and fish handling building. The fish lock is a 40 foot deep chamber that fills with water and allows fish to migrate over the dam without being lifted out of the water.  In 2005, biologists were able to move approximately 2,500 cui-ui every five minutes above the dam.  The fish lock is a fully automated system but requires round the clock staffing during spawning season. Biologists sample a small portion the fish as they move though the lock. This sampling helps biologists and fishery managers determine the overall health, size, and sex of the species as they make their way up the river to spawn 


Lahontan cutthroat trout are reared from eggs incubated in the fish handling building so they will “imprint” on the Truckee River.  Since trout generally return to spawn where they were reared, managers and biologists hope this will help reestablish Lahontan cutthroat trout in its historic habitat in the Truckee River.  In 2007 (the first year of operation) the incubation system produced approximately 28,400 Lahontan cutthroat trout fry, which were stocked into upstream tributaries of the Truckee River.


The Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility is operated and maintained by the Service in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. The facility is open to the public during the spawning season (March through early June) and when staff is on-site throughout the remainder of the year.


Contact Info: Jeannie Stafford, 775-861-6300, jeannie_stafford@fws.gov
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