With the ability to store approximately 26 million acre-ft of water, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir by volume in the United States. Lake Mead supplies three western states (California, Arizona, and Nevada) and Mexico. Its uses, several of which are critical to life in the West, are diverse: drinking water for approximately 25 million people; agricultural irrigation; habitat for numerous fish and other wildlife species; world-class recreational opportunities; and hydropower generation. Lake Mead's downstream neighbor, Lake Mohave, re-regulates releases from the Hoover Dam to provide for required downstream deliveries; is the site of a national fish hatchery; serves as important habitat for fish and wildlife, including federally listed endangered species; and provides diverse recreational opportunities. As such, the health of Lakes Mead and Mohave are of interest to and the responsibility of multiple federal, state, and local agencies.
Between 2004 and 2011, the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act funded initiatives – collectively known as the "Water 2025" program – that supported water quality and associated monitoring and research on Lakes Mead and Mojave. In 2009, an interagency group completed the first edition of a "Long-Term Limnological and Aquatic Resource Monitoring and Research Plan for Lakes Mead and Mohave." This plan helps to coordinate interagency monitoring and research activities, and calls for joint data and information analysis. Through this effort, current management practices can be evaluated and emerging issues identified before they become widespread or difficult to solve.
The plan features six ecosystem categories. Click below for background information, objectives, and monitoring and research questions for each category.