Officials with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe started construction Tuesday for a $23.5 million fish-passage project to aid Lahontan cutthroat trout move past the Truckee River’s Derby Dam, which has been in place since 1905. The construction of the dam, located 20 miles from Reno, Nevada has been blocking the passage of the Lahontan’s upstream to their traditional spawning grounds near Lake Tahoe.
The Lahontan Trout were thought to be extinct from the 1940s-1970s until a rancher found a small population that had been previously stocked, and subsequently forgotten. In 2006, broodstock from that population was used to restock Pyramid Lake, and in 2014 the first Lahontans successfully spawned in the short stretch of river between the lake and Derby Dam.
The fish passage project is expected to be functional for fish traffic as early as next Fall and will open up miles of river above Derby Dam to spawning access for the recovering Lahontan Trout.