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Lahontan trout can finally swim upstream in the Truckee River

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau
Truckee River water flows through the Derby Dam in Wadsworth on in September 2019.
Scott Sonner/AP, file

A project that will allow the Lahontan cutthroat trout access to its traditional spawning grounds for the first time in over 100 years has been completed.

The Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and Farmers Conservation Alliance have finished installing what is described as a “horizontal fish screen” that will give the threatened trout a way around Derby Dam so they can swim upstream from that dam all the way to Reno in the Truckee River.

Brenda Burman of the Bureau of Reclamation said the fish screen also provides new efficiencies for dam operations. She said the fish will be able to reach their native spawning grounds for the first time in 115 years.

Paul Souza of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this is a significant step forward in the recovery of a fish once thought to be extinct. He said it will also establish unique recreational fishing opportunities in the Reno area.

Julie O’Shea of the Farmer’s Conservation Alliance said projects like this are the reason they invented the fish screen in the first place.

In addition, the bureau has announced plans to make structural repairs to the Truckee Canal that runs from the Derby Dam about 20 miles east of Reno to the Lahontan Reservoir. Those repairs include work on the embankment, replacing check structures and lining additional segments of the canal to reduce water loss.

Because of structural problems along the 100-year-old canal, it is currently being operated at a lower level.

As spokesman said the upgrades will restore long-term operations for the Newlands Project water rights holders.