Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pyramid - Damn that Dam!

If you think you knew everything about Pyramid Lake, guess again.

Pyramid Lake is Dying from John Pilger on Vimeo.

I found this 30 minute special on Pyramid Lake filmed in 1976 very informative. It tells the sad story of Derby Dam's fatal impact on Winnemucca Lake and the Paiute people. I knew that Winnemucca Lake had water in it as late as the 1930's, but did you know that the water in Pyramid Lake used to flow into Winnemucca Lake via a short section of the Truckee River which has since dried up. In other words, the Truckee River didn't always end at Pyramid Lake. I drive by the remnants of Winnemucca Lake on the way to Gerlach frequently, its hard to believe that as of 1905 it used to be 100 feet deep and that Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) used to swim freely between the two lakes. I'll point out two untruths in the video: 1) Coincidentally, in April of 1977 (the year after this film) Kent Sumners of the Utah Department of Fish and Game re-discovered, what taxonomical analysis has proven to be, the original strain of Pyramid Lake Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, scroll to Pg 199. These trout are now being reared at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery (which I've visited) for eventual reintroductin into Pyramid Lake and other watersheds. 2) The current Summit Lake strain of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in Pyramid obviously didn't go extinct at the turn of the century, despite the prediction of the fisheries biologist. Hope you enjoy, more to come on resurecting the original (30-40lb) strain of LCT in a future post.


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