Lake Mead Drought Effects

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Lake Mead National Recreation Area Drought Effects
The 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.
Lake Mead NRA
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.

While these 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
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 Vegas Marina.

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.
Lake Mead Drought Effects 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 skyline.
The former, opposite shore in the current photo is where the line of boulders just below the shoreline is.

Lake Mead Marina before drought 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.


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