A bit of water relief for Nevada in 2016. Winter snow and spring rains provided near normal water levels in the Carson River watershed this year, which is more promising than the past few years. However, we are still in a drought and a hot dry summer with no measurable precipitation since May has changed our water outlook.
The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District 2016 water delivery season ended in September. The refuge receives residual flows during the Fall from water remaining in delivery canals. Refuge water flows South to North as elevation drops.
For the most part, Stillwater NWR has seen a positive impact on wildlife, migratory birds and public use with the additional water this year. Sanctuary wetlands south of Division Rd. hold water for migrating shorebirds, waders and waterfowl during Fall and Winter.
In the hunt area, Goose Lake and South Nutgrass are open for waterfowl hunting season.These units are most easily reached by Division Road, north on Nutgrass Rd. to Navy Cabin Road then west to the signed units on either side of the road. Parking is in designated pullouts, boat launch areas or along the road as long as two wheels remain on the road and a clear lane of travel is open for others to pass.
All boat types are allowed in Goose and S. Nutgrass lakes during waterfowl season. Airboat use requires a special use permit, available at no cost from the refuge office in Fallon. Check conditions prior to launch and use caution when operating in the dark. For more information on boating, water and other conditions in the hunt area, call 775/423-5128 ext. 228 Mon - Sat.
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, sound alarms or change their behavior, then you are creating a disturbance and should move away or modify your actions. Wildlife harassment is harmful and illegal.
Click this link for the Great Basin drought monitoring website, which has lots of other links for water and drought information. Another good site with information is the Great Basin water network Nevada drought forum. Finally, the NRCS in Nevada posts historical records of water and snowpack across the state.
The link below (Learn More) shows the most current map of refuge wetlands. Water will flow north of Division Road into the Goose Lake unit, within the refuge hunt area. Click here for the latest updates on water levels and flows within Stillwater NWR.