Updated May 6, 2021 - 7:18 pm
Declining Lake Mead water levels are affecting boat launch ramps in the national recreation area.
The National Park Service announced last week that Echo Bay, Temple Bar and South Cove launch ramps have transitioned to pipe mats. On May 1, the park service announced that Hemenway Harbor had transitioned to the temporary ramp extenders.
Each location has two lanes for launching. The mats are repurposed steel pipes from decommissioned coal-fired power plants, according to the park service.
Boulder Harbor and Callville Bay ramps remain unaffected. However, the park service has said Boulder Harbor could become inaccessible in early July, when the water is expected to drop to a level that would prevent boats from going through a passage from the harbor to the lake.
The park service announced last month that launch ramps could be affected as early as late May.
Extended launch ramps are the latest visible sign of the toll a two-decade drought has taken on the Colorado River.
Over the past 20 years, water levels at Lake Mead have dropped by about 145 feet, according to the park service.
Water level projections show Lake Mead is on track to experience its first federally declared water shortage next year. That determination will be made when water level projections for the lake are released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in August.
For current launch ramp conditions, visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s website.