current drought effecting the Colorado Drainage Basin is
continuing to reduce the shore line of Lake Mead. Islands emerged
or have grown. There have also been economic effects as a
result of Lake Mead's dramatic decline in water level.
Currently the 'elevation' of Lake Mead is 1,142 feet above sea
level. The maximum elevation can be as high as 1,229. This is 87
feet below the high water mark. According to estimates, Lake Mead
has about 57% of its 'full' volume.
The Lake Mead Marina formerly situated in Las Vegas Bay has been
moved to Hemenway Harbor. Other marinas have had to move
docks and slips.
circumstances have been costly for the operators of the marinas,
Lake Mead is still as accessible as before. The only difference
for boaters are the obvious ones, some of the channels will be
narrower and the new underwater terrain will be unfamiliar and
must be approached with caution.
Other than that Lake Mead is still the same place it was before,
just more interesting.
Drought And It's Effects In
Different Parts Of The Lake Mead NRA
In these first two photos taken from the Scenic Overlook near
Hoover Dam, the effects of the drought can be seen.
In the most recent photo, taken on June 18, 2003, how far the
shoreline at the lake has receded when compared to the photo taken
on April 4, 1999 is highlighted by the green areas below the Las
In the current photo, we see the addition Lake Mead Marina. The
best place to compare the differences in shorelines, is the upper
left corners of the photos. The Lakeshore Trailer Village appears
as a few small light colored dots to the far left just below the
base of the mountains.
When Lake Mead recedes, the intrusive Tamarisk often tries to take
over the freshly exposed shoreline.
The effects of the drought is most evident along the shoreline.
Some places are barely recognizable from their former selves. If
you have not been here for a while, you will have a difficult time
recognizing familiar places. Nothing looks the same. In the above
photo from June 2003, at Las Vegas Bay, the only thing that is
recognizable in the 1999 photo of the same area is part of
The former, opposite shore in the current photo is where the line
of boulders just below the shoreline is.
In each of these examples, the photos are not of the exact same
area or at the same angle. It was not the intention to document
the 'before' and 'after' instances of a major drought. It just
happened. We tried to put together some familiar examples as Las
Vegas Bay and Lake Shore Drive are closest the cities.