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Fish-friendly changes at Nevada dam to help threatened trout

WADSWORTH, Nev. — Federal officials are making fish-friendly modifications to a northern Nevada dam that for more than a century has blocked off spawning grounds for a threatened trout species that once migrated 120 miles (193 kilometers) upstream to the alpine waters of Lake Tahoe.

Officials for the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and Pyramid Lake Paiute (peye-EWT’) Tribe broke ground Tuesday for a $23.5 million fish-passage project to help Lahontan cutthroat trout navigate the Truckee River’s Derby Dam about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Reno.

It’s expected to be completed next year.

Fish screens in a bypass canal longer than a football field will allow the trout — once believed to have gone extinct — to get past the high-desert dam for the first time since it was built in 1905 to divert water to farmers and ranchers.

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