Walker Basin Water Transfer Program

Walker Lake

Walker Lake is a salty terminal lake in Mineral County, Nevada, at the terminus of the Walker River which begins in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and runs through Antelope Valley and Bridgeport Valley (for a map, see https://webapps.usgs.gov/walkerbasinhydromapper/#home). Due to water diversions for various reasons, water levels in the lake have declined and the salinity of Walker Lake increased dramatically to the point that the general health of the ecosystem is at risk.

In 2012, Mono County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), which was initially charged with restoration efforts, that funding for water transactions in Mono County to restore Walker Lake would not be appropriated unless and until the Mono County Board of Supervisors reviewed, commented on, and considered a proposal for such transactions. Outside of the MOU, Mono County has no approval authority over water transactions. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has exclusive authority to issue and administer water right permits and licenses for surface water appropriations.

Mono County has developed a set of General Plan policies that serve as water transaction critieria for the restoration of Walker Lake, based on a preliminary environmental analysis of potential impacts. The guidelines and any analysis are provided for informational purposes only and intended for consideration by the SWRCB when conducting environmental review on any subsequent water transaction in the County. A description of the Mono County Water Transaction Criteria for the Restoration of Walker Lake is available for download at the bottom of this page, along with the MOU and preliminary environmental analysis. 

Tribal consultation letters pursuant to SB 18 were sent on February 6, 2024, and public outreach will be conducted as follows:

  • Antelope Valley Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC): March 7 at 6:00 pm at the Walker Community Center
  • Bridgeport Valley RPAC: March 14 at 5:00 pm at the Mono County Offices, 74 N. School Street, Bridgeport
  • Mono County Planning Commission: March 21 at 9:00 am the the Mono County Civic Center in Mammoth (1290 Tavern Road) or the Mono County offices/Courthouse in Bridgeport

The Planning Commission may consider a recommendation on the policies at their April 18 meeting, followed by consideration of adoption by the Board of Supervisors on May 7, 2024.

Please visit this page frequently during the outreach and adoption process. New drafts of the water transaction criteria resulting from public input and refinements will be posted as they are available.

For more information, please contact:
Wendy Sugimura
(760) 924-1814