Lake Mead aquatic-science research documents substantial improvements in ecosystem

January 30th, 2013 in Earth / Environment
Credit: USGS


Credit: USGS

Lake Mead National Recreation Area's water quality is good, the sport fish populations are sufficient, and the lakes provide important habitat for an increasing number of birds. This positive trend is documented in a new report published today that leads to a better understanding of the natural resources of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, and the issues that may affect natural resource management of Lake Mead NRA.

"While the Lake Mead ecosystem is generally healthy and robust, the minor problems documented in the report are all being addressed by the appropriate agencies, and are showing substantial improvement since the mid 1990's," said U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, Michael Rosen, the lead scientist for the report. "This is thanks to proactive enhancements to wastewater treatment facilities for the Las Vegas Metropolitan area, the installation of wetlands in Las Vegas Wash, and the treatment of legacy pollutants from industrial areas near Las Vegas Wash."

Lake Mead provides significant benefits that have contributed to the modern development of the southwestern United States. The lake provides important for a wide variety of wildlife including endangered species, and a diversity of world-class water-based recreational opportunities for more than 8 million visitors annually. It supplies critical storage of water supplies for more than 25 million people in three western states (California, Arizona, and Nevada). Storage within Lake Mead supplies drinking water and provides for the generation of to deliver electricity for major cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Tucson, and San Diego. It also provides water for irrigation of more than 2.5 million acres (almost 4000 square miles or more than twice the size of the state of Delaware) of croplands.

Major findings detailed in the report include the following:

More information: The full report, USGS Circular 1381, "A synthesis of aquatic science for management of Lakes Mead and Mohave," is available online.

Provided by U.S. Department of the Interior

"Lake Mead aquatic-science research documents substantial improvements in ecosystem." January 30th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-01-lake-mead-aquatic-science-documents-substantial.html