• Surface Area: 32,192 Acres
• Volume: 2,200,000 Acre Feet
• Drainage Area: 4,050 Square Miles
Walker Lake is a natural lake, 50.3 mile in area, in the Great Basin in western Nevada in the United States. It is 18 miles long and 7 miles wide, located in northwestern Mineral County along the eastern side of the Wassuk Range, approximately 75 miles southeast of Reno. The lake is fed from the north by the Walker River and has no natural outlet except absorption and evaporation. The community of Walker Lake, Nevada, is found along the southwest shore.
The area around the lake has long been inhabited by the Paiute. Beginning in the mid-19th century the introduction of agriculture upstream of Walker Lake has resulted in the water from the Walker River and its tributaries being diverted for irrigation. These diversions have resulted in a severe drop in the level of the lake. According the USGS, the level dropped approximately 140 ft between 1882 and 1994. By October 1, 2012, the lake level was 3,923.2 feet above sea level. This is the lowest lake elevation since measurement began in 1882.
The decline of the lake's fishery is having a dramatic impact on the species of birds using the lake. By 2009, the town of Hawthorne canceled its Loon Festival because the lake, once a major stopover point for migratory loons, could no longer provide enough chub and other small fish to attract many loons.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has been acquiring water rights to benefit the lake and has submitted applications to the Nevada State Engineer to transfer the water downstream to benefit the lake.