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During a recent meeting of the Sagebrush Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Nevada’s State Climatologist, Dr. Douglas P. Boyle presented an overview of Nevada’s drought status.



Dr. Boyle is a watershed hydrologist with over 20 years of experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of complex computer-based models of surface and groundwater hydrologic systems in arid and semi-arid environments. He is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Nevada-Reno.



Dr. Boyle provided information regarding the state’s current drought situation.  Dr. Boyle presented data from the US Drought Monitor for Nevada, showing clear indications of extreme, severe, and exceptional drought throughout the state.     



Additionally, Dr. Boyle has extensively studied cycles of past drought throughout the Great Basin. Based on the results of a number of research studies on tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, it is clear that, for the most part, the last 200 or more years have been mostly wet periods compared with the last 15 to 20 years. More importantly, there have been numerous “long-term” droughts of 10 to 20 years during the last 1,000 years and two “megadroughts” of 240 years and 180 years within the last 1,200 years. All of these long-term droughts occurred before the rapid human-caused increases in greenhouse gasses and, therefore, represent some aspect of the natural variability in drought conditions in our part of the world.



Based on initial results from several studies underway in Dr. Boyle’s research group at UNR, it appears that the climate conditions experienced throughout much of the state over the last three years are similar to those that occurred during the two megadroughts of 240 and 180 years during the last 1,000 years. 



Although basic water storage is reported to be sufficient to meet the demands of household water usage for the near future, many Nevada anglers have concerns regarding fish water needs.  Dr. Boyle indicated that Native American Tribes and the National Fish and Wildlife Service determine needs in regards to this season’s upcoming fish water supply.  



 Some interesting facts shared by Dr. Boyle:


-Lake Tahoe is predicted to hit rim level near late September


-Last year, Dr. Boyle observed a general increase in streamflow rates on Mondays (as compared to the rest of the week) on the Truckee River near Rock Park after July 1st.

To see the picture of drought in Nevada, access the US Drought Monitor at



Thanks very much to Dr. Boyle and Sagebrush TU for an extremely interesting presentation!