GREAT BASIN WATER NETWORK NEWS RELEASE
The Nevada Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a resolution on Dec. 2 in Reno asking the State Water Engineer to deny Southern Nevada Water Authority’s applications for water in Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys in White Pine and Lincoln Counties.
The resolution, proposed by Great Basin Water Network), asked for the denial based on “damages to Nevada’s wildlife, habitats, and hunting and fishing.” The resolution was also supported by representatives of county wildlife advisory boards from across the state.
“Entering into an agreement with SNWA is like shooting yourself so you can pick out what color coffin you want to be buried in,” said Wildlife Commissioner Scott Raine from Eureka. “When we are talking about mitigation, it will be impossible to reverse the effects of the groundwater mining,” said Raine.
Representatives of Great Basin Water Network testified in support of the resolution, expressing concerns about the move by the Nevada Department of Wildlife to give up their water protests and enter into an agreement with SNWA for monitoring and mitigation of wildlife in the pumping target area, which is the size of the state of Vermont.
“SNWA’s promises of wildlife mitigation remind me of a comment made by a Lincoln County farmer to the State Engineer last month,” Rose Strickland of GBWN said. “The farmer said, ‘You can throw lots of money at a dead horse but it won’t get up again.’ I can add in response to monitoring pumping impacts, you can monitor the vital signs of a dead horse but it will never get up again.”
“It’s not a mitigation plan,” GBWN board member Abby Johnson said. “At best it is an evacuation plan for wildlife; at its worst, an extinction plan.”
Susan Lynn, GBWN coordinator, said that the amount of water being demanded by SNWA from the four valleys (123,000 acre-feet, or more than 40 billion gallons, per year) is equivalent to two-thirds of the Reno/Sparks annual allocation from the Truckee River.
The Wildlife Commission resolution was approved and transmitted just hours before the State Engineer’s deadline for written comments. The State Engineer is expected to issue a decision in March.