Carson Lake and Pasture to become Nevada’s newest Wildlife Management Area

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife

(CHURCHILL COUNTY, NV) The State of Nevada, on behalf of the Division of State Lands and Department of Wildlife, is excited to announce the transfer of more than 23,000 acres of wetlands and pasture from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The transfer of the area referred to as Carson Lake and Pasture in Churchill County will ensure the long-term management and protection of crucial wetlands that provide habitat to shorebirds and waterfowl, while expanding both wildlife viewing and recreation opportunities.

This newly acquired parcel was officially transferred from Reclamation and the BLM on behalf of the Secretary of Interior to the State of Nevada and is now open to the public. The property will be managed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and will soon be designated as NDOW’s 12th Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

“Carson Lake and Pasture is one of the most important wetlands in Nevada, supporting thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds during their spring and fall migrations,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “We thank the many state and federal partners who made this historic land transfer possible to ensure the protection of critical habitat to these species, in addition to providing Nevadans, families, and visitors with opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy myriad outdoor adventures, including wildlife viewing, bird-watching, hunting, and more.”

“The Nevada Division of State Lands, together with our many state and federal partners, is excited to establish Carson Lake and Pasture as the State of Nevada’s newest wildlife conservation area,” said Charlie Donohue, Administrator of the Nevada Division of State Lands. “Through this landmark land transfer, we look forward to seeing this spectacular natural treasure protected and preserved. I thank our partners for their collective efforts and support to advance this undertaking and elevate the Silver State’s celebrated outdoor heritage.”

Carson Lake and Pasture is located about eight miles southeast of Fallon and features numerous ponds and abundant wet-meadow habitat when water supplies are available. The protection of seasonal wetland habitat in this area will considerably aid the North American Waterfowl Management Plan goals of increasing foraging habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl. Surveys on Carson Lake over the past 65 years show that annually up to 150,000 geese, ducks, swans, and other waterfowl can use the area, with approximately 1,200 using the area for breeding.

The wetland area is also recognized as having global importance to migrating shorebirds as part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, an international conservation initiative dedicated to protecting critical habitats for shorebirds. Annual counts of migrating shorebirds exceed 250,000 birds some years, with more than 10% of the total United States’ populations of both American avocets and long-billed dowitchers.

The official land transfer from Reclamation and BLM to the State of Nevada was made possible through collaboration with the Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, and other conservation partners that include the Nevada Waterfowl Association, Audubon and Ducks Unlimited. A special thank you goes to the century-old Greenhead Duck Club that has successfully managed and operated the area since 1912.

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