LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Perspective is needed when thinking and talking about the future of the marinas and boat launches at Lake Mead. For that perspective, picture the Statue of Liberty on the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead has dropped more than its height. Over the last 38 years, Lake Mead’s water level has dropped around 170 feet, currently at 1,032′ above sea level. This is only 2.3′ higher than last summer’s lowest level. Another way to have perspective on the water loss is to watch time-lapse animations showing the water receding at the affected marinas and boat launches.

Scroll down on this page for time-lapse animations.

Lake Mead July 6, 2000 – July 3, 2022 (NASA)

The current options are laid out in a Nov. 2022 NPS newsletter titled, “Sustainable Low Water Access Plan/Environmental Assessment.” In it, the NPS details alternative plans for the future of five marinas — also referred to as boat ramps and boat launches. The lake officially has six designated launches: Hemenway Harbor, Boulder Harbor, Callville Bay, Echo Bay, Temple Bar, and South Cove. NPS appears to have dropped considering a future for Boulder Harbor and is only focusing on the other five.

HEMENWAY HARBOR

Press the play button to view the changing Lake Mead water level from 1984 – 2022.

Hemenway Harbor is the largest of all the marinas at Lake Mead, so what happens here will have a major effect on the others. Current plans are to keep extending the launch ramp to a lake level of 950′. This includes moving the launch, roads, and utilities if the lake were to drop to 1,000′.

However, concept three from NPS would mean “no future concrete launch ramp extensions or relocations will be made.” This would include re-evaluating allowing motorized vessel access, removing all concessions, and removing facilities and infrastructure.

TEMPLE BAR

Press the play button to view the changing Lake Mead water level from 1984 - 2022.

Temple Bar Marina is located in the Temple Basin on the Arizona side of eastern Lake Mead. This is a full-service marina with facilities and utilities. The 2019 plan allows for operations and launch ramp extensions to an elevation of 950'. One of the concepts being considered does include closing this marina and launch ramp and not allowing any activity there until the lake were to rise to 1,070'.

CALLVILLE BAY

Press the play button to view the changing Lake Mead water level from 1984 - 2022.

Callville Bay, also along Northshore Road, remains an active marina with full services and utilities. The 2019 plan said the marina could be moved to nearby Swallow Bay if the lake fell below 1,065' which has already happened. Concepts moving forward include closing the existing ramp and having the concessioner maintain a ramp. Another concept allows for the lake to drop to 950' before closing the launch.

ECHO BAY

Press the play button to view the changing Lake Mead water level from 1984 - 2022.

Echo Bay along Northshore Road in the Overton Arm was once home to a vibrant party and boating scene. In 1962, a 54-room hotel was built which included a large conference room and restaurant called the Tail ‘o the Whale. At times around 300 boats were at the marina and there was even a landing strip for people to fly in or drop off people. The hotel closed in 2010 and has since fallen into severe neglect. Current access to Lake Mead is now more than a mile away.

The NPS concepts for Echo Bay are to either continue with the 2019 plan of extending the launch to an elevation of 1,000'. This, however, would include moving the launch ramp to nearby Pumphouse Bay.

SOUTH COVE

Press the play button to view the changing Lake Mead water level from 1984 - 2022.

South Cove on the Arizona side of the lake has a boat launch area that is being allowed with the approval of the National Park Service. One of the concepts being proposed would allow the launch ramp to remain until approximately 1,035'. Current predictions from the Bureau of Reclamation show this happening in May 2023.

Lake Mead July 6, 2000 (Left) - July 3, 2022 (Right)

The National Park Service will host three in-person public meetings and one virtual public meeting in December. The NPS says these meetings are being held to share information about the plan/EA and planning process, gather input, and answer questions from the public.

The first meeting is being held in Meadview, AZ close to South Cove. It will be at the Meadview Clinic Association Building on Dec. 6.

The second meeting is being held at the Bureau of Reclamation Conference and Training Center in Boulder City on Dec. 7.

The third meeting will be on Dec. 8 at the Kingman, AZ Office of Tourism.

The final meeting is scheduled for Dec. 14 and will be a virtual (online) meeting (link active during the meeting) beginning at 4 p.m. PDT.