Wednesday, July 23, 2014

American Icon is Losing its Luster

The Hoover Dam: The first of its kind and once the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. Providing electricity to more than 8 million people throughout Arizona, Nevada, and California; a massive feat as such requires massive amounts of water. That water is running low.

Lake Mead is a man-made reservoir; the product of adding the Hoover Dam to the majestic Colorado River. Once an awe-inspiring feature along the Colorado River, it has definitely seen better days.

To view more images of Lake Mead follow this link.

The Hoover Dam was built to prevent potential floods from the mighty Colorado River, only one of which has occurred since the dam's construction, and to allocate water to the surrounding areas. This water allocation is intended to provide power for three states and irrigation for over 1,000,000 acres of crops. Tasked with providing electricity and irrigation on such a large scale, the dam became an American icon. Due to the ongoing drought that the southwestern US has been experiencing for nearly 14 years, water levels have reached historic lows since the dam's dedication in 1935.

The water level has dropped more than 130 feet! Not only has this meant extra work for the National Park system charged with running Lake Mead, it has brought extra hazards to those who recreate there, and it brings uncertainty for the future of the dam and the people who so desperately depend on it.

As with the preservation of any water way, efforts to save Lake Mead come in the form of water, electricity, and other natural resource conservation. The once luscious landscape, full of estuaries and life, is now cracked and arid. Once home to plants and animals that relied on floods for the nutrients they provided to the area, is now home to four endangered species and abandoned marinas and boats.

To learn more about how you can save Lake Mead and others like it, please visit

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