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Date: April 2, 2013

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior


For Immediate Release: April 2, 2013
Release No.: 2013-16
Contact: Leslie Gordon,, 650-329-4006


LAS VEGAS - A new video from the U.S. Geological Survey illustrates Lake Mead's healthy and robust ecosystem and the aquatic science research and monitoring that happens on the lake.

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 was documented in a recently published report 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.

Complementing the recent interagency report about the aquatic science research in Lake Mead NRA, the 13-minute video highlights the effective collaboration of local, state and federal agencies focused on water quality and ecosystem health. The video illustrates the crucial role of science in guiding management of this vital resource (now and into the future) for those who depend on the lake for drinking water, recreation and electric power.

"We pulled together some pretty spectacular imagery, cool graphics, smart scientists and a great narrator to tell, what I think is, a very strong story on the important role of science in managing the vital water resource that is Lake Mead," said USGS video producer Stephen M. Wessells.

"The earlier printed report provided an overview of the science done on lakes Mead and Mohave, but the video makes it into a compelling story showing how the science is used for the benefit of the ecosystem and people," said USGS hydrologist Dr. Michael R. Rosen.

Lake Mead provides significant benefits that have contributed to the modern development of the southwestern United States. The lake provides important aquatic habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including endangered species and a diversity of world-class water-based recreational opportunities for nearly 7 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 hydropower 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 4,000 square miles or more than twice the size of the state of Delaware) of croplands.

The new video, USGS GIP 148, "Lake Mead-Clear and Vital," is available on the USGS website and YouTube.

An earlier USGS news release about the original scientific report, USGS Circular 1381, "A synthesis of aquatic science for management of Lakes Mead and Mohave," is also available online.


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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