HOME
The Info List - Lake Mead


--- Advertisement ---



Lake
Lake
Mead is a lake on the Colorado
Colorado
River, about 24 mi (39 km) from the Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Strip, southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada
Nevada
and Arizona. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity. Formed by the Hoover Dam, the reservoir serves water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada, providing sustenance to nearly 20 million people and large areas of farmland.[1] At maximum capacity, Lake
Lake
Mead is 112 miles (180 km) long, 532 feet (162 m) at its greatest depth, has a surface elevation of 1,221.4 feet (372.3 m) above sea level and 247 square miles (640 km2) of surface area, and contains 26.12 million acre feet (32.22 km3) of water. The lake has not reached full capacity, however, since 1983 due to a combination of drought and increased water demand.[2][3][4] As of August 2017, Lake
Lake
Mead was at approximately 40% of full capacity with 10 million acre-feet of held water.[5][6] It has been smaller than Lake
Lake
Powell (the second largest US reservoir when both are full) since 2013.[7][8][9]

Contents

1 History 2 Geography 3 Drought and water usage issues 4 Recreation and marinas 5 B-29 crash 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

History[edit]

Elwood Mead

The lake was named after Elwood Mead, who was the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1924 to 1936, during the planning and construction of the Boulder Canyon Project
Boulder Canyon Project
that created the dam and lake. Lake
Lake
Mead was established as the Boulder Dam
Dam
Recreation Area in 1936 administrated by the National Park Service. The name was changed to the Lake
Lake
Mead National Recreation Area in 1964, and Lake
Lake
Mohave and the Shivwits Plateau
Shivwits Plateau
were added to its jurisdiction. Both lakes and the surrounding area offer year-round recreation options. The accumulated water from Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
forced the evacuation of several communities, most notably St. Thomas, Nevada, whose last resident left the town in 1938.[10] The ruins of St. Thomas are sometimes visible when the water level in Lake
Lake
Mead drops below normal.[10] Lake
Lake
Mead also covered the sites of the Colorado River
Colorado River
landings of Callville and Rioville, Nevada, and the river crossing of Bonelli's Ferry, between Arizona
Arizona
and Nevada. At lower water levels, a high-water mark or "bathtub ring" is visible in photos that show the shoreline of Lake
Lake
Mead. The bathtub ring is white because of the deposition of minerals on previously submerged surfaces.[11] Geography[edit]

Lake
Lake
Mead, May 2, 2006

Lake
Lake
Mead from space, November 1985: North is facing downward to the right. The Colorado River
Colorado River
can be seen leading southward away from the lake on the top left. The Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
is located where the river meets the lake.

Sediment-laden water from the Colorado River
Colorado River
flowing into Lake
Lake
Mead

Nine main access points to the lake are available. On the west are three roads from the Las Vegas
Las Vegas
metropolitan area. Access from the northwest from Interstate 15 is through the Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
State Park and the Moapa River Indian Reservation
Moapa River Indian Reservation
to the Overton Arm
Overton Arm
of the lake. The lake is divided into several bodies. The large body closest to the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
is Boulder Basin. The narrow channel, which was once known as Boulder Canyon and is now known as The Narrows, connects Boulder Basin to Virgin Basin to the east. The Virgin River
Virgin River
and Muddy River empty into the Overton Arm, which is connected to the northern part of the Virgin Basin. The next basin to the east is Temple Basin, and following that is Gregg Basin, which is connected to the Temple Basin by the Virgin Canyon. When the lake levels are high enough, a section of the lake farther upstream from the Gregg Basin is flooded, which includes Grand Wash Bay, the Pearce Ferry Bay and launch ramp, and about 55 miles (89 km) of the Colorado River
Colorado River
within the lower Grand Canyon, extending to the foot of 240 Mile Rapids (north of Peach Springs, Arizona). In addition, two small basins, the Muddy River Inlet and the Virgin River
Virgin River
Basin, are flooded when the lake is high enough where these two rivers flow into the lake. As of February 2015, these basins remain dry. Jagged mountain ranges surround the lake, offering a scenic backdrop, especially at sunset. Two mountain ranges are within view of the Boulder Basin, the River Mountains, oriented northwest to southeast and the Muddy Mountains, oriented west to northeast. Bonelli Peak lies to the east of the Virgin Basin. Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Bay is the terminus for the Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Wash which is the sole outflow from the Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Valley. Drought and water usage issues[edit] Lake
Lake
Mead receives the majority of its water from snow melt in the Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah
Utah
Rocky Mountains. Inflows to the lake are largely moderated by the upstream Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
Dam, which is required to release 8.23 million acre feet (10.15 km3) of water each year to Lake
Lake
Mead. Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
is required to release 9 million acre feet (11 km3) of water each year, with the difference made up by tributaries that join the Colorado
Colorado
below Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
or flow into Lake
Lake
Mead. Outflow, which includes evaporation and delivery to Arizona, California, Nevada, and Mexico[12] from Lake
Lake
Mead are generally in the range of 9.5 to 9.7 million acre feet (11.7 to 12.0 km3), resulting in a net annual deficit of about 1.2 million acre feet (1.5 km3).[13] Before the filling of Lake
Lake
Powell (a reservoir of similar size to Lake Mead) behind Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
Dam, the Colorado River
Colorado River
flowed largely unregulated into Lake
Lake
Mead, making Mead more vulnerable to drought. From 1953 to 1956, the water level fell from 1,200 to 1,085 feet (366 to 331 m). During the filling of Lake
Lake
Powell from 1963 to 1965, the water level fell from 1,205 to 1,090 feet (367 to 332 m).[14] Multiple wet years from the 1970s to the 1990s filled both lakes to capacity,[15][16] reaching a record high of 1225 feet in the summer of 1983.[16] In these decades prior to 2000, Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
Dam
Dam
frequently released more than the required 8.23 million acre feet (10.15 km3) to Lake
Lake
Mead each year. This allowed Lake
Lake
Mead to maintain a high water level despite releasing significantly more water than for which it is contracted. However, since 2000, the Colorado River has experienced persistent drought, with average or above-average conditions occurring in only five years (2005, 2008–2009, 2011 and 2014) in the first 16 years of the 21st century. Although Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
was able to meet its required minimum release until 2014, the water level in Lake
Lake
Mead has steadily declined. The decreasing water level is due to the loss of the surplus water that once made up for the annual overdraft.

Lake
Lake
Mead as seen from the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
with the white band clearly showing the high water level

In June 2010, the lake was at 39% of its capacity,[17] and on November 30, 2010, it reached 1,081.94 ft (329.78 m), setting a new record monthly low.[18] From mid-May 2011 to January 22, 2012, Lake Mead's water elevation increased from 1,095.5 to 1,134.52 feet (333.91 to 345.80 m) after a heavy snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains prompted the release of an extra 3.3 million acre feet (4.1 km3) from Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
into Lake
Lake
Mead.[19] In 2012 and 2013, the Colorado River
Colorado River
basin experienced its worst consecutive water years on record, prompting a low Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
release in 2014 – the lowest since 1963, during the initial filling of Lake Powell – in the interest of recovering the level of the upstream reservoir, which had fallen to less than 40% capacity as a result of the drought.[20] Consequently, Lake
Lake
Mead has fallen significantly, reaching a new record low in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2014, its record low was 1,081.82 feet (329.74 m) on July 10, 2014.[21] On June 23, 2015, Lake
Lake
Mead reached another new record low when it briefly fell below 1,075.0 feet (327.7 m), the first official "drought trigger" elevation, for the first time since the lake was filled. If the lake is below this elevation at the beginning of the water year (October 1), an official shortage declaration by the Bureau of Reclamation will enforce water rationing in Arizona
Arizona
and Nevada.[22] Lake
Lake
Mead's water level rebounded a few feet by October 2015 and avoided triggering the drought restrictions. However, the water level starting falling in Spring 2016 and fell below the drought trigger level of 1,075 feet again in May 2016. It fell to a new record low of 1,071.61 feet (326.63 m) on July 1, 2016 before beginning to rebound slowly.[23] Drought restrictions were narrowly avoided again when the lake level rose above 1,075 feet on September 28, 2016, three days before the deadline. A reprieve from the steady annual decline occurred in 2017 when lake levels rose throughout the year due to heavier than normal snowfall in the Rocky Mountains.[24] As a result of the large snowmelt, the lake regained the water levels it had in 2015 with a seasonal high of 1,089.77 feet (332.16 m). The seasonal low of 1,078.96 feet (328.87 m) in 2017 is close to that experienced in 2014, safely above the drought trigger for now.[25] However, that level is still 36 feet below the seasonal low experienced in 2012 and the lake is projected to begin falling again in 2018.[26] As a result of the decreasing water level, marinas and boat launch ramps have either had to be relocated to another area of the lake or have closed down permanently. The Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Bay Marina was relocated in 2002[27] and the Lake
Lake
Mead Marina was relocated in 2008[28] to Hemenway Harbor. Overton Marina and Echo Bay Marina have been closed due to low levels in the northern part of the Overton Arm. Government Wash, Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Bay, and Pearce Ferry boat launch ramps have also been closed. Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Boat Harbor and Lake
Lake
Mead Marina in Hemenway Harbor/Horsepower Cove remain open, along with Callville Bay Marina, Temple Bar Marina, Boulder Launch Area (former location of the Lake Mead Marina) and the South Cove launch ramp.[29] Changing rainfall patterns, climate variability, high levels of evaporation, reduced snow melt runoff, and current water use patterns are putting pressure on water management resources at Lake
Lake
Mead as the population relying on it for water, and the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
for electricity, continues to increase. To lower the minimum lake level necessary to generate electricity from 1,050 feet (320 m) to 950 feet (290 m), Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
was retrofitted with wide-head turbines designed to work efficiently with less flow in 2015 and 2016.[30] If water levels continue to drop, Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
would cease generating electricity when the water level falls below 950 feet and the lake would stabilize at a level of 895 feet (273 m) when the water reaches the lowest water outlet of the dam.[31] In order to ensure that the city of Las Vegas
Las Vegas
will continue to be able to draw its drinking water from Lake
Lake
Mead, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on building a new water intake tunnel in the middle of the lake at the elevation of 860 feet.[32][33] The 3-mile tunnel took seven years to build under the lake and was put into operation in late 2015. Recreation and marinas[edit]

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Lake
Lake
Mead provides many types of recreation to locals and visitors. Boating is the most popular. Additional activities include fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and water skiing. Four marinas are located on Lake
Lake
Mead: Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Boat Harbor and Lake
Lake
Mead Marina (in Hemenway Harbor, NV) operated by the Gripentogs, and Callville Bay (in Callville Bay, NV) and Temple Bar (in Arizona), both operated by Forever Resorts. The area also has many coves with rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Several small to medium-sized islands occur in the lake area depending on the water level. In addition, the Alan Bible Visitor Center hosts the Alan Bible Botanical Garden, a small garden of cactus and other plants native to the Mojave Desert. The Grand Wash is a recreational area located in the north side of the lake. B-29 crash[edit] Main article: 1948 Lake
Lake
Mead Boeing B-29 crash At the bottom of the lake is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
that crashed in 1948 while testing a prototype missile guidance system known as "suntracker".[34] The wreckages of at least two smaller airplanes are also submerged in Lake
Lake
Mead.[35] See also[edit]

Colorado
Colorado
portal Water portal

Future of Colorado
Colorado
River List of drying lakes List of reservoirs and dams in the United States

References[edit]

^ "Drought: Lake
Lake
Mead is at an Historic Low". Ecowatch. April 28, 2015.  ^ USGS Circular 1381: A Synthesis of Aquatic Science for Management of Lakes Mead and Mohave. 2012. p. 11.  ^ Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado
Colorado
Region, Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
Web Designer. "Bureau of Reclamation: Lower Colorado
Colorado
Region – Hoover Dam: Lake
Lake
Mead FAQs". Usbr.gov. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2014. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Ferrari, Ronald L. (February 2008). "2001 Lake
Lake
Mead Sedimentation Survey" (PDF). U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved February 26, 2012.  ^ " Lake
Lake
Mead Water Database". lakemead.water-data.com. Retrieved 2017-08-29.  ^ " Lake
Lake
Mead Water Level". August 29, 2017. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ^ " Lake
Lake
Mead Water Database". lakemead.water-data.com. Retrieved 2017-08-29.  ^ "Water Database". lakepowell.water-data.com. Retrieved 2017-08-29.  ^ Reclamation, Bureau of. "Historic Data Water Operations UC Region Bureau of Reclamation". www.usbr.gov. Retrieved 2017-08-29.  ^ a b Scott Gold (October 16, 2004). "It's a Historic Drought". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2009.  ^ Bryan Walsh (December 4, 2008). "Dying for a Drink". TIME. Time Inc. Retrieved August 26, 2009.  ^ "Utilization of Waters of the Colorado
Colorado
and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande: Treaty Between the United States of America and Mexico" (PDF). International Boundary and Water Commission. February 3, 1944. p. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2014.  ^ " Colorado River
Colorado River
Update" (PDF). Cap-az.com. Retrieved December 13, 2014.  ^ Paul Lutus. "* Lake
Lake
Mead Water Levels". Arachnoid.com. Retrieved December 13, 2014.  ^ http://www.usbr.gov/rsvrWater/faces/rvrOSMP.xhtml;jsessionid=cuHtyyivpEg7yoEEffDhwzGJ.wf81:rsvrwater ^ a b http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/hourly/mead-elv.html ^ Arizona
Arizona
Game and Fish Department (2010). " Lake
Lake
Levels/River Flow". Arizona
Arizona
Game and Fish Department. Retrieved June 26, 2010.  ^ U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. " Lake
Lake
Mead at Hoover Dam, Elevation". Retrieved February 17, 2011.  ^ "Additional Water to be Released from Lake
Lake
Powell to Lake
Lake
Mead, Avoiding Shortages in Lower Basin in 2012". Home.doi.gov. Archived from the original on December 14, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.  ^ "Reclamation Forecasts Low Lake
Lake
Powell Water Release for 2014". Wrrc.arizona.edu. Retrieved December 13, 2014.  ^ HENRY BREAN LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. " Lake
Lake
Mead sinks to a record low". Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Review-Journal. Retrieved December 13, 2014.  ^ McGlade, Caitlin (June 24, 2015). " Lake
Lake
Mead sinks to record low, risking water shortage". USA Today. Retrieved October 25, 2015.  ^ http://knau.org/post/lake-mead-drops-its-lowest-ever-level ^ http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/full-snowpack-cause-small-increase-for-lake-mead-water-levels-but-nevada-still-in-drought/665004538 ^ http://mead.uslakes.info/Level.asp ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/local-las-vegas/latest-forecast-shifts-lake-mead-from-big-gain-to-small-loss ^ http://lasvegassun.com/news/2002/oct/01/weather-delaying-move-by-marina/ ^ http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/lake-mead-marina-moved ^ National Park Service ^ Capehart, Mary Ann (Winter 2015). "Drought Diminishes Hydropower Capacity in Western U.S." Water Resources Research Center. Retrieved August 26, 2017.  ^ https://www.nps.gov/lake/learn/nature/storage-capacity-of-lake-mead.htm ^ Jenkins, Matt (March 3, 2015). "The water czar who reshaped Colorado River politics" (41). High Country News. Retrieved May 15, 2015.  ^ http://www.popsci.com/article/science/last-straw-how-fortunes-las-vegas-will-rise-or-fall-lake-mead ^ " Lake
Lake
Mead: Exploring the B-29". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2007.  ^ "The Mystery of Lake
Lake
Mead". lasvegasnow.com. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lake
Lake
Mead and Lake
Lake
Mead National Recreation Area.

" Arizona
Arizona
lakes water level report". azgfd.gov.  National Park Service. " Lake
Lake
Mead National Recreation Area". NPS.gov.  "Natural Resources: "Historical and current water levels in Lake Mead". Arachnoid.com.  US Department of the Interior. " Lake
Lake
Mead elevation at Hoover Dam: monthly from Feb. 1935 to present". usbr.gov.  US Department of the Interior. "Lower Colorado
Colorado
Region: Daily data of level and flow". usbr.gov. 

v t e

Colorado River
Colorado River
system

Jurisdictions

United States

Arizona California Colorado Nevada New Mexico Utah Wyoming

Mexico

Baja California Sonora

Canyons

Byers Canyon Gore Canyon Red Gorge Glenwood Canyon De Beque Canyon Horsethief Canyon Ruby Canyon Westwater Canyon Cataract Canyon Narrow Canyon Glen Canyon Grand Canyon

Marble Canyon Granite Gorge Middle Granite Gorge Lower Granite Gorge

Grand Wash Canyon Iceberg Canyon Virgin Canyon Boulder Canyon Black Canyon Pyramid Canyon Mohave Canyon

Natural features

River course Rocky Mountains Colorado River
Colorado River
Basin Colorado
Colorado
Plateau Grand Lake Horseshoe Bend Sonoran Desert Mojave Desert Lower Colorado River
Colorado River
Valley Mohave Valley Parker Valley Palo Verde Valley Colorado
Colorado
Desert Alamo River New River Salton Sea Imperial Valley Delta Montague Island Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez

Tributaries

Blue River Dirty Devil River Dolores River Escalante River Eagle River Fraser River Gila River Green River Gunnison River Kanab Creek Little Colorado
Colorado
River Paria River Roaring Fork River San Juan River Thunder River/Tapeats Creek Virgin River Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Wash Williams Fork Río Hardy

Engineering

Mainstem dams

Shadow Mountain Granby Windy Gap Grand Valley Price-Stubb Glen Canyon Hoover Davis Parker Headgate Rock Palo Verde Imperial Laguna Morelos

Major reservoirs

Fontenelle Reservoir Flaming Gorge Reservoir Blue Mesa Reservoir Navajo Lake Lake
Lake
Powell Lake
Lake
Mead Lake
Lake
Mohave Lake
Lake
Havasu Imperial Reservoir Theodore Roosevelt Lake San Carlos Lake

Aqueducts and canals

Grand Ditch Colorado River
Colorado River
Aqueduct San Diego Aqueduct Central Arizona
Arizona
Project All-American Canal Coachella Canal

Water projects

Boulder Canyon Project Colorado-Big Thompson Project Colorado River
Colorado River
Storage Project Grand Valley AVA Yuma Project

Designated areas

Arches National Park Canyonlands National Park Colorado
Colorado
National Monument Dead Horse Point State Park Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon
National Recreation Area Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
National Park Lake
Lake
Mead National Recreation Area Rocky Mountain National Park

Related topics

Arizona
Arizona
v. California Colorado River
Colorado River
Board of California Colorado River
Colorado River
Compact Floyd Dominy Lee's Ferry International Boundary and Water Commission Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Rapids and features U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Willia

.