Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date


Publication Title

Lake Mead Limnological Research Center: Technical Report Series


Department of Biological Sciences: University of Nevada, Las Vegas




The ever-increasing demand for energy in the southwest has led to a search for additional sources of power generation. Coal-fired powerplants currently provide most of the baseline energy in the southwest, but this must be supplemented with hydroelectric power during periods of peak demand. In order to provide additional peaking power, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is considering a number of projects to modify existing hydroelectric facilities, or add new facilities in the Lake Mead Recreation Area.

The Hoover Powerplant Modification Feasibility Investigation was authorized by Congress on December 16, 1975 to determine the feasibility of: (i) adding one or more hydroelectric generating units to Hoover Dam, (ii) adding one or more reverse turbine pump-storage units to Hoover Dam, and (iii) upgrading the existing generating units for greater capacity (USDI 1978). In addition, offline pump-storage systems are currently being considered for installation in three locations in Lake Mead and one location in Lake Mohave (USDI 1977).

The feasibility of these projects, in part, depends upon the impact to recreational and other beneficial uses of the reservoirs and the river. A primary concern is that these projects could significantly alter the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the reservoirs. Therefore, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation initiated this study to determine: (i) the current limnological status of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, (ii) the relationship between the physical, chemical and biological factors in Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, and (iii) the effect of the hydroelectric projects on the future limnological status of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.


Ammonia; Chlorophyll; Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico); Hoover Dam (Ariz. And Nev.); Hydrodynamics; Lake Mead (Ariz. And Nev.); Nitrates; Phosphates; Phytoplankton; Water temperature; Zooplankton


Environmental Chemistry | Environmental Engineering | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Fresh Water Studies | Natural Resources and Conservation | Water Resource Management




From the Lake Mead Limnological Research Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.