The Churchill County Museum presents the 2021 Fall Lecture Series, “Water Mark: The Newlands Project and the Mark it Left Behind.”
The Newlands Project was one of the first Reclamation projects in the country, with construction beginning in the Lahontan Valley in 1903. The idea behind it was to irrigate land in Churchill County and Lyon County using the waters of the Truckee and Carson Rivers combined, which led to the establishment of the towns of Fallon and Fernley.
To control the release of water into the Truckee River, a small dam was constructed at Lake Tahoe's only outlet. Downstream, another dam on the Truckee River diverted the water into a canal to carry it to the Carson River. There, the combined flows would irrigate almost half a million acres of desert land.
More than a century later, conflict and controversy continue, with many legal and legislative battles still unresolved.
Several key lecturers will present the many facets surrounding the Newlands Project.
The lectures will be held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. The schedule is:
• Sept. 21: Ernie Schank, former president of the TCID Board of Directors and a longtime Lahontan Valley farmer, will give a slide presentation on the project’s history beginning from 1903 to 1905.
• Sept. 28: Rusty Jardine, TCID’s general manager and legal counsel, will present “Water Law in the West: Is water more precious than gold?”, focused on water rights and how they affect users.
• Oct. 5: Scott Schoenfeld of the Bureau of Reclamation and Daniel Kaler of Farmers Conservation Alliance discuss “Derby Dam: New and Improved Fish Screens.”
They will give an overview of the construction of the screens and how they will restore the watershed and support the endangered fish movement along the Truckee River.
• Oct 12: Darcy Phillips, executive director of the River Wranglers, will present information on the watershed, pollution, water quality and water conservation, and Brenda Hunt, manager of the Watershed Program for the Carson Water Subconservancy District will discuss “Watershed Literacy in Action: I am Carson Watershed.”
Her information centers on the integrated planning for the watershed and the watershed literacy campaign process.
• Oct. 19: The final presenter is Carl Lunderstadt, project leader of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Water for Stillwater: An Oasis in the Desert” examines how the Newlands Project affects the refuge, which is northeast of Fallon.
The Churchill County Museum is an approved provider of Professional Development by the Nevada Department of Education. Teachers attending will be able to receive instructional hours simply by registering and attending the lectures. Contact Gretchen Felte at [email protected]