The Nature Conservancy would to hear from us about recreation use, restoration priorities and the protection of the Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Independence Lake’s beauty and rustic nature are matched only by the biodiversity it supports.  Independence Lake is home to one of only two wild, self-sustaining populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout – a fish that has been lost from 99% of its historic range. In the headwaters of the Truckee River watershed, Independence Lake also plays an important role in providing clean drinking water.

In addition to the Lahontan cutthroat trout, Independence Lake hosts populations of six other native fishes that have been here since glaciers disappeared some 10,000 years ago.  Because of its pristine nature and intact ecosystem, Independence Lake has become a unique refuge for rare fish.

The surrounding pine forest is home to black bear, mountain lion, and mule deer.  Bald eagles and osprey can be spotted from the shorelines, hunting fish.  The region is also home to rare species like the willow flycatcher, mountain yellow-legged frog, and Sierra Nevada mountain beaver.

Independence Lake plays an important role in supporting human communities.  As a part of the Truckee River watershed, the lake is a crucial part of the system that supplies clean drinking water to northern Nevada, including Reno and Sparks.

Independence Lake still faces threats.  If aquatic invasive species such as mussels, snails, and plants find their way to Independence Lake, they could severely disrupt recreation, the lake’s healthy ecosystem, and the delivery of clean drinking water.  These invasives could affect the lake’s unique assemblage of native fish.  Aquatic invasive species can clog water pipes and valves; they can cover beaches with sharp shells; and they can fill calm waters with thick mats of smelly aquatic plants.  The forest surrounding Independence Lake is at risk of catastrophic wildfire which would destroy habitat and cause severe erosion.

The Nature Conservancy acquired property around Independence Lake and are working to: 

Preserve critical habitat for native fish and wildlife
Reduce the risk of introduction of aquatic invasive plants and animals
Implement forest management strategies to decrease the risk of wildfire
Allow visitors to enjoy the lake in ways that are compatible with the conservation of this precious resource

Provide input to the Nature Conservancy about recreation use, restoration priorities and the protection of the Lahontan cutthroat trout at

The survey closes April 30, 2011.