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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
 NEVADA FWO: States, Feds, Tribe Gather for Truckee River Operating Agreement Ceremony 
Region 8, September 6, 2008

by Jeannie Stafford, Nevada FWO
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne joined U.S. Senator Harry Reid; Chairman of  the Pyramid  Lake Paiute Tribe of Indians Mervin Wright, Jr.,  and other federal, state and local dignitaries at  a signing ceremony for the Truckee River Operating Agreement, at Wingfield Park along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada on September 9, 2008.


In addition to the Department of the Interior and  the tribe, those signing the agreement before an audience of more than 400  included the Department of Justice, the States of California and  Nevada, and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.  Those participating included Assistant Attorney General  Ronald Tenpas of the Justice Department; Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman of  the State of California; Director  Allen Biaggi of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and  Chairman Mike Carrigan, Board of Directors, Truckee Meadows Water  Authority.


The agreement is the fulfillment of the requirements of the  1990 Settlement Act for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, sponsored by Sen. Reid,  which directed the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate an operating  agreement for the major federal and private reservoirs on the  Truckee River upstream of  Reno.


The Truckee River Operating Agreement removes no water  rights and benefits all users by ensuring efficient coordination of the  operation of the reservoirs for the purposes of storage, release, and exchange  of water. All unappropriated water goes to the tribe—hundreds of thousands of acre feet per year, depending on snow pack.  The agreement also provides storage space in the reservoirs to increase municipal drought supplies for  Reno and Sparks, benefits instream flows for  fishery and water quality purposes, and enhances reservoir levels for recreation  use.


Major benefits of TROA include:

-        Permanent interstate allocation of Truckee and Carson Rivers, and Lake Tahoe waters between California and Nevada would take effect - same effect as an interstate compact.

-        The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe would receive economic development funds of $40 million (already appropriated).

-        More flexible use of Truckee River water for protection and enhancement of listed fishes throughout the Truckee River Basin and to improve water quality downstream from Sparks.

-        Substantial drought protection for the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.

-        Resolution of numerous lawsuits and decreased prospects for future litigation.




Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov