Discover the Oldest Man-Made Lake in Nevada

Important Points:

In terms of capacity, Lake Mead is the biggest artificial lake in the United States.
The oldest artificial lake in Nevada is called Lake Mead.
Elwood Mead, a commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, is honored by the lake’s name.

There are more than 183 lakes in the state of Nevada. One lake, though, distinguishes itself from the others. The oldest artificial lake in Nevada is called Lake Mead. The lake was formed by the Hoover Dam. The lake is currently a reservoir with a maximum height of 1,230 feet and a maximum depth of 532 feet. Nowadays, a lot of people go to Lake Mead since it’s a huge body of water that’s great for boating and swimming. The lake is a fantastic place for camping, hiking, and waterskiing. A well-liked camping location is Boulder Beach, which is located on Lake Mead’s western shore. As of right now, the lake serves as a vital source of water for people living in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

How Old Is Lake Mead?

Lake Mead dates back over a century. 1936 saw the lake’s opening. But the process of creating Lake Mead dates back considerably further. The construction of the Hoover Dam is associated with the oldest artificial lake in Nevadan history. The states bordering the Colorado River basin disagreed over how much water should be distributed there before the dam was built. In order to sign the Colorado River Compact, the Colorado River Commission convened in Santa Fe in 1922. The states and the corresponding territories of each state decided how to divide the river basin into its upper and lower half.

It eventually drove the decision to build the dam. For six years, the initial proposals were turned down. It was approved in December 1928. The dam was approved by President Herbert Hoover in 1929, and work on it started in 1930. Hoover Dam is 1,244 feet long and 726 feet tall. Over 4.4 million cubic yards of concrete are contained therein. The Colorado River had to be redirected in order to build the Hoover Dam. Cofferdams and a tunnel network were used to do that.

Lake Mead’s Dark History

The water level in Lake Mead dropped by 170 feet this decade. In the last year, archaeologists have discovered some unusual artifacts and startling discoveries. Among their discoveries are unusual relics, communities that were submerged, and corpses.

Along the shoreline, there are signs posted by the National Park Service that display the water levels from prior years. There are indicators indicating the water level in 2002, 2008, and 2021. Lake Mead was just another piece of land long before it was formed into a body of water. In the land region now occupied by the lake, there were formerly at least eighteen tribes. The lake started to fill in the 1930s, forcing many people to abruptly leave their communities.

Submerged Towns

Among the settlements drowned by the lake was Saint Thomas. 2002 saw the town’s reappearance. Where the main streets should have been, archaeologists discovered the stumps of trees and the foundations of homes and businesses. Everything discovered in the lake belongs to the federal government. In an interview with Fox, Chris Nycz, the chief of the archeological department, talked about the results.

According to him, the percentage of the park that has had its cultural resources examined is probably less than 5%. Thousands of sites, both on dry ground and submerged, are known to exist among our more than a million acres. As the water levels drop, there are certainly a number of locations that we are unaware of as well that will become exposed.

Bodies In The Water?

I have some regretful news to share. There were dead bodies in the water. Retired police officer David Kohlmeier expressed interest in a particular instance in which a body was discovered within a barrel during that same Fox interview. The clothes brands the body was wearing allowed us to determine that the apparel on it was from the 1970s and 1980s. Kohlmeier offered a five-grand incentive to any licensed diver who discovered a body in a barrel, and he turned his podcast, “The Problem Solver,” into a television program.

Kohlmeier believes that the search for these new discoveries may only be getting started. “There are more than a hundred barrels within Lake Mead, which defies logic,” he remarked. It’s likely that supplies and barrels were left inside Lake Mead during the construction of Hoover Dam rather than being moved during the day. Probably, flooding it was easier. Conspiracy theories abound over that. What’s included in each of these barrels? Is there another body inside the barrel if you find one? Is a third present?

Lake Mead’s Wildlife

The wildlife of Lake Mead is abundant. A few of them feature bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, and jackrabbits. The lake is home to a wide variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, catfish, and striped bass, in addition to animal species. Additionally, the region is home to a variety of reptile species, including rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and desert tortoises.

The Mojave Desert is home to its flora. In the Lake Mead region, a few of the most prevalent plants are:

Cacti: Examples of these include the barrel cactus (Echinocactus and Ferocactus), the cholla cactus (Cactaceae), and the hedgehog cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii).
Wildflowers: A good number of wildflowers, including lupine (Lupinus), desert marigolds (Baileya multiradiata), and poppies (Papaveraceae), can be found in Lake Mead. These wildflowers create a beautiful landscape by adding brilliant colors to the otherwise arid desert.
Creosote Bush: This plant thrives in the hot, dry climate and yields yellow flowers.

Red Rock Canyon also includes the Lake Mead region. It’s a fascinating day trip idea. Numerous wild burros, or donkeys, that were brought here by settlers in the late 1800s now call it home. The burros persisted and adapted to the desert-like environment. They are visible from the main routes and the visitor center.