Pyramid Lake’s Truckee River Delta

American White Pelicans hang out at the Truckee River delta at Pyramid Lake April 2017.

After a long drought for Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River, the Lake and river flows are finally up. The delta of the Truckee River at Pyramid Lake is a magnet for all kinds of birds and wildlife, and this year shows what can happen when flows approach more natural, unregulated conditions. Dams still control the flows of the Truckee River, but because of the large amount of precipitation and snowpack still to melt, this year resembles what likely occurred in the Truckee River most years before large-scale diversions and dam building. [The diversions and dams  dropped Pyramid Lake 80 feet and reduced the Truckee River to a trickle at the Lake’s delta by sending most of the water to Lahontan Valley Farms.] For the last hundred years, Pyramid Lake receives most of its water from the Truckee River in exceptional water years – like this one. We can only hope that this winter isn’t another “one and done” event and next year brings plenty of precipitation and snow. Wildlife at Pyramid Lake would probably agree.

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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.