Stillwater is Nevada's largest wetland and a critical staging and nesting area on the Pacific Flyway. The Conservancy worked with partners to pioneer an innovative water-rights purchase program to save these crucial wetlands.
Why TNC Selected This Site
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and the nearby Carson Lake Wetlands had shrunk to less than 10,000 acres. Without human intervention, these wetlands could have disappeared, which would have been devastating to the migratory birds that rely on it as a key stopover point on the Pacific Flyway. Learn more about the Carson River watershed.
State of Nevada, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Waterfowl Association, and local parties in the Lahontan Valley including the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District and Lahontan Valley Environmental Alliance.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
Since 1989, when an innovative water rights purchase program was pioneered, the Conservancy, State of Nevada, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Waterfowl Association have purchased close to 30,000 acre-feet of water rights in close to fifty transactions. These purchases have put these internationally significant wetlands back on the map.
The Nature Conservancy has worked closely with local parties in the Lahontan Valley to address community concerns about the potential impacts of the water rights acquisition program. As a result, managers of the Great Basin's premier wetlands are now able to rely on water rights to protect the wetlands during dry years.