May 19, 2023

Schurz, NV - The Sierra-Nevada Mountains along the California/Nevada border received very high snowpacks this winter and is now expecting record-breaking runoff and resulting flood events that only occurs once in five hundred years in the Walker River basin from mid-May to mid-July.

The magnitude of the situation was tested in early April when an isolated rainstorm and snowpack melt created an emergency flood situation at BIA's Weber Dam on the Walker River Indian Reservation. During this event BIA released 1,980 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water from the Dam to prevent structural damage. This caused out-of-bank flood flows downstream with minimal damage.

The California Nevada River Forecast Center is forecasting the Walker River in Mason Valley and Yerington to rise near moderate flood stage by this Sunday, May 21, 2023. This means the river has reached action stage at over 9 feet. To maintain stability at the dam, BIA needs to increase water discharge from Weber Dam, at rates expected to be 3,500-4,200 cfs. This is approximately two times the water flow experienced in early April.

On May 17th, the BIA Superintendent, Western Nevada Agency in Carson City declared a Level 1 Response at Weber Dam. This means there is a slowly developing, unusual situation at the Dam is occurring that has the potential for adverse impacts but is not yet serious. The Level 1 also indicates that it is possible the situation could progress into a potentially life-threatening event if the emergency continues or intensifies, which would increase response levels.

The BIA is closely monitoring the Walker River stream flows and conducting daily visible inspections of Weber Dam. A BIA engineering team will arrive next week that will also monitor the structural integrity of the dam 24/7. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey also measures and publishes river flow data in real time on its USGS website, which is also closely monitored.

BIA Western Nevada Agency office, the Yerington Paiute and Walker River Tribes, the State of Nevada, and all the affected towns and governments are preparing for flood activities by prepositioning and placing sandbags, water, rock gabions, and other material necessary for redirecting water flows.

Specific information about community preparedness activities can be found online at:

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