LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Just over a month ago, the National Park Service (NPS) asked for the public’s opinion on several concepts it has regarding the future of marinas and boat launches at Lake Mead. One of the concepts would shut down all concessions and facilities. This is what triggered Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen to send another letter to the NPS asking that the ramps and marinas remain.
“Whether you’re a boat repairer, a Jet Ski repairer, a convenience store, a restaurant, a gas station, whatever that is, those small businesses are impacted,” Sen. Rosen told 8 News Now Tuesday morning. “Our tourism sector is impacted. And so it matters that those boat ramps stay open.”
The NPS is supposed to be making a decision on its Sustainable Low Water Access Plan/Environmental Assessment this spring or summer.
The NPS said this new plan is needed to:
• fill an urgent and high-priority need to make critical decisions to inform boating needs;
• provide updated direction for natural and cultural resource programs;
• identify opportunities for nonmotorized, waterbased access; and
• evaluate potential site closures and consolidation of concession operations.
Sen. Rosen said she is doing what she can in Washington, D.C. “to work to find funding streams to help the National Park Service continue to find creative ways to keep the boat ramps open.”
8 News Now has reached out to the NPS for comment on Sen. Rosen’s second letter regarding boat launches. This story will be updated if one is received.
“The lake has been going down and down,” Sen. Rosen said. “(The NPS) is trying to find creative ways. It isn’t easy, but we have to continue to find those ways because livelihoods are in the balance.”
Currently, Lake Mead is 182 feet lower than its full pool with a lake level of 1,046.91 feet above sea level. This is the way the Bureau of Reclamation measures lake and river levels.
However, thanks in part to recent rain Lake Mead has risen almost two feet since the new year. Over the last five years, it has been the second half of February and into March when the lake begins to drop substantially.
The latest prediction from the Bureau of Reclamation says Lake Mead will drop to 1,025.71 feet by October of this year and 1,010.38 feet by Sept. 2024.
Six-state water agreement – California not included
Sen. Rosen also talked about the agreement between six Western states that rely on water from the Colorado River. In it, the states outline a model to cut water use in the basin, months after the federal government called for action and an initial deadline passed.
California — with the largest allocation of water from the river — is the lone holdout. Officials said the state would release its own plan.
“Nevada always does more than their fair share in conserving water,” Sen. Rosen told 8 News Now. “We’ve been a great partner along the Colorado River Basin, but what I do wanna say, not just to California, but to all of us, we are in this together, the West Coast of the United States, many of the states have had a persistent or extreme drought for many years. We are in this together. Water is a source of life, not just for drinking, but for our farming, for our irrigation, and all of those things.”
“We have to come together and find those smart solutions. People are depending on us to do this. Water is a source of life. We’re all in it together. We have to keep moving forward to find positive solutions,” Sen. Rosen added.