Pyramid Lake and Truckee River: home for wildlife

The lower Truckee River on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation is home to many species of wildlife. In the mountains both west and east of Pyramid Lake live Bighorn sheep and mule deer, as well as thousands of migrating and nesting birds.

Caspian Tern at the lower Truckee River at Pyramid Lake

Caspian Tern at the lower Truckee River at Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake and the lower Truckee River are the only places in the world where you can find Cui-ui fish and the largest cutthroat trout – the Pyramid Lake strain. Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge fully contained within the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, is home to an American white pelican nesting colony along with nesting California gulls, double crested cormorants, snowy egrets, and others.

Pyramid Lake itself is also a home for birds nesting and raising their young. This year’s substantial flows on the Truckee River have created additional places for birds to nest. Western grebes and Clark’s grebes have built floating nests on shallow areas recently covered by Pyramid’s rising water level.  The nests require considerable attention of the nesting pairs to prevent the nests from being swamped by waves or raided by over-flying common ravens. The grebes make repeated trips to pick up floating vegetation and sticks to continually improve the nest and allow the eggs to hatch. Once hatched, the young birds can immediately take to a parents back or swim on their own. Bank swallows nest in holes in a steep slope such as those created by high flows along a river bank. High flow conditions this year opened up many new places for bank swallows along the Truckee River.

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About Dennis Ghiglieri

My concern for the Truckee River grew over the years. It started with picking up trash and supporting better water quality. I helped create the "living river"plan with other citizens on the Community Flood Coalition; a plan to reduce flood impacts to infrastructure through river restoration and protection of the floodplain. I understand how critical the Truckee River is to the environment – and economy – of our entire region. I'm hoping that through these pages we can all understand our connection to the Truckee River and why we need to protect it.