Walker Lake issue no longer part of Lyon lands bill

The Lyon County Lands Bill no longer has the Walker Lake problem holding it back.

Earlier this year U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, suggested including Walker Lake negotiations on water rights in the lands bill, which was designed to speed up land exchanges between the Bureau of Land Management and private owners, and allow for the sale of some public lands as well as maintain wilderness areas.

According to Tessa Hafen, spokeswoman for Sen. Harry Reid, the Walker Lake issue is no longer a part of that legislation.

The bill is still being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, Hafen said.

"It's still in the beginning phase, but Sen. Reid is hopeful he and Sen. (John) Ensign will have something available later in the year," she said.

Hafen added the bill would probably be similar to Clark County and White Pine lands bills, both of which have passed. Those bills allow for a percentage of proceeds from sale of public lands to go back to the county. The amount is being negotiated with county officials.

"It's a way to take a comprehensive approach to land management in Nevada," Hafen said.

The Walker Lake mediation resulted from a lawsuit filed by the federal government and the Walker River Paiute tribe against all parties who own Walker River/Lake water rights, including the Walker River Irrigation District. The case is currently in mediation.

The lands bill allows for proceeds from BLM land sales to be used for schools, fire stations, recreational facilities, animal shelters as well as funding construction and operation of the planned National Wild Horse and Burro Center in Mound House.

n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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