Pyramid Lake existed for thousands of years before explorer John Fremont discovered it in 1844; it served as a spiritual and survival resource for the native Paiute, who depended upon the cui-ui
fish (which is unique to the lake and now an endangered species).
For eons it was atop the food chain, wreaking havoc on fish like the cui-ui
(Chasmistes cujus) and tui chub (Gila bicolor), and most likely cannibalizing its own.
A prehistoric sucker fish, the cui-ui
, still swims here, and the lands are still populated by the Paiutes.
The tribe demonstrated tremendous leadership in initiating and organizing a multi-government memorandum of agreement to manage the Truckee River to protect the cui-ui
and Lahontan cutthroat trout of Pyramid Lake.
Pyramid Lake, the terminus of the Truckee River, has also been drying up, its level dropping 100 feet this century and threatening the survival of the cui-ui
, a prehistoric fish that lives nowhere else.
or the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) to American Indians, but the cultural significance of other listed species, such as the cui-ui
(Chasmistes cujus), Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache), black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), and gray wolf (Canis lupus), is lesser known.