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Dropping Lake Mead water levels cause problems for users

2004 Creative Commons photo of Lake Mead (Kjkolb, Copyright 2004 Kjkolb, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
2004 Creative Commons photo of Lake Mead (Kjkolb, Copyright 2004 Kjkolb, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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Updated: 7/03 8:38 pm
BOULDER CITY -- People using Lake Mead this holiday weekend should be aware that quickly dropping water levels are causing problems for boaters and swimmers.

Park rangers are anticipating more than 100,000 visitors at Lake Mead National Recreation Area this weekend. Here are the latest launch ramp conditions, safety tips and weekend events.

At Lake Mohave, all launch ramps are operating as normal.

At Lake Mead, the water elevation is about 1,082 feet. Boaters are reminded to be cautious of shallow areas and new hazards that may have surfaced. Those who notice hazards that haven’t been marked should report the hazard location by calling (702) 293-8778.

Because of lower lake levels, all launch ramps except for Boulder Harbor, are launching on pipe mat or concrete planks. There are some uneven surfaces and cracks. Shoes are advised.

•Hemenway Harbor: 2 lanes, launching on pipe mat.

•Boulder Harbor: 6 lanes, good launching on concrete ramp. Wakeless zone until exit of harbor.

•Callville Bay: 4 lanes (2 on pipe mat, 2 on concrete planks). Parking is now available at the main ramp.

•Echo Bay: 4 lanes, launching on concrete planks.

•Temple Bar: 2 lanes, launching on pipe mat.

•South Cove, 1 lane launching on pipe mat. Parking is now available closer to the water.

Because water levels have dropped so quickly, beaches are muddier than usual. Clumps of quagga mussels are also present at beaches and on rocks. Their shells can be sharp, so shoes are advised for people and pets.

SAFETY TIPS

Fireworks and campfires: No fireworks are allowed within Lake Mead National Recreation, not even sparklers. Wood and charcoal fires are allowed in grills at developed picnic areas or campgrounds and at shorelines 100 feet from vegetation.

Alcohol: The consumption or direct possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person operating a vehicle or vessel is prohibited.

Weather: Temperatures are forecast to be above 100 degrees throughout the weekend with a chance of showers. If a monsoon develops, which can happen rapidly, those on the water should find a sheltered cove or shore. Launch ramps become crowded after storms arrive. It’s also wise to write down current GPS coordinates, so rescue crews can locate you more quickly. If flash flooding occurs on land, visitors should seek high ground.

Life jackets: The devices save lives. Because lake conditions can change in an instant, rangers recommend always wearing a life jacket while swimming.

WEEKEND EVENTS

4th of July Parade: National Park Service rangers and Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees are teaming up to parade through Boulder City at 9 a.m. Friday during the annual Damboree Celebration “Wings of Freedom.” Come out to view law enforcement vehicles and vessels, fire vehicles, the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership mobile exhibit and a fish tank.

A Star Spangled Sky: Join Ranger Ben 8 p.m. July 5 for an overview of the night sky at the Boulder Beach Picnic Area at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Learn about the phases of the moon and the motions of planets and constellations as they change throughout the seasons.


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