Drought Explainer Water Shortage

A sign warns of low water levels at a boat ramp on Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, near Boulder City, Nev.

(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen,D-Nev., sent a letter to the National Park Service opposing its proposed plan to close boat launches at Lake Mead.

Last November, the NPS released its Lake Mead National Recreation Area Sustainable Low Water Access Plan to address dropping water levels. One possibility outlined in the plan, Concept 3, would close facilities, remove the infrastructure, and end future ramp extensions or relocations. 

Shutting down boat ramps and marinas is “not a viable option,” according to Rosen.  

“Closures at Lake Mead have been detrimental to the small businesses and local economies in the surrounding cities and towns that depend on tourism and visitation,” Rosen wrote in the letter. “Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the fifth most-visited park in the National Park System, with about 7.6 million visitors.”

In the letter, Rosen said she would look for opportunities to secure funding to “find a viable path forward for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.”

In December, about 30 boaters rallied on the strip in protest of the NPS plan, parading their boats and jet skis down the street behind their cars, according to 8 News Now.

Rosen also sent a letter in August requesting information on actions NPS would be taking to reopen five closed boat launch ramps.

A Bureau of Reclamation study released Wednesday projects Lake Mead’s water levels will hit an all-time low this year, even after rising slightly since December due to heavy rain in Nevada, Newsweek reported.