Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date


Publication Title

Lake Mead Report Series


National Park Service


Project report NO.1


In 1935 construction was completed on the Bureau of Reclamation's Hoover Dam, located near the bend of the historic Colorado River. Rising 726 feet within the rugged walls of Black Canyon, the structure is still recognized today as the highest concrete dam in the western hemisphere. Impoundment of water above Hoover Dam created Lake Mead, some 110 miles long, having a shoreline of 84 miles when the lake is at its maximum elevation of 1229 feet - this country's largest man-made reservoir. Below the dam, in Black Canyon and southward, the wild aspect of the Colorado River was altered by the control and regulation of water flow. Hydro-electric power, flood control and irrigation were the principal reasons for the construction of Hoover Dam. But in the arid southwest the presence of such a large body of water provided an unusual and welcome potential for recreation. In 1964 the United States Congress recognized this potential and established the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, under the administration of the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. The boundaries of Lake Mead National Recreation Area encompass some 2,500 square miles of both aquatic and terrestrial habitats (frontispiece). Included are the waters and shorelines of Lake Mead in their northward and eastward extension to the lower end of Grand Canyon; and below Hoover Dam, the area of Lake Mohave, whose waters are formed by Davis Dam, 67 miles downstream. Lake Mohave has a shoreline of 254 miles when the lake is at its maximum elevation of 647 feet. Within this area the National Park Service administers to the combined recreational needs of more than five million yearly visitors. Boating, fishing, swimming and other aquatic-related activities involve a growing number of participants. The varied topography and land forms within the Recreation Area are largely accessible on a 12-month basis and attract an uncounted but sizeable number of hikers, campers and explorers. Much of this National Recreation Area is subjected to a high degree of human impact. The majority of visitors come from the nearby Las Vegas metropolitan area of Southern Nevada; but other contiguous or nearby states, Utah, Arizona and particularly southern California contribute to the number of users. In 1974, Superintendent William J. Briggle had the foresight to initiate an inventory of natural resources within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It was anticipated that such an inventory would provide baseline information for more effective management and use of the area. This study is still in progress and is being coordinated through the Cooperative National Park Service Resources Studies Unit located at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Personnel from the Unit and from the Department of Biological Sciences are participating. In its initial phase the study was concerned with a survey of the biota of the Recreation Area. Results of the study are being reported in a series of publications. This, the first of these reports, is a bibliography pertaining to the biota of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, viz. the plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Future publications will separately treat each of these categories and will discuss the occurrence, abundance and distribution of each species, and will provide distribution maps for each recorded taxon. This, and the publications to follow, should provide a data base from which reasoned, long-term management policies can be formulated. The present report lists only those literature sources having direct applicability to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The location of unpublished reports is given where appropriate; in most instances, these reports are available at the UNLV library, or in the files at Lake Mead NRA. The species accounts and locality data are compiled exclusively from the literature, and do not contain the extensive and detailed collections we have made since 1974. Our rationale for compiling the species accounts in this manner was so that other researchers can better tell which sources are worthy of their attention. The large size of the manuscript when utilizing only bibliographic sources, and the changing nature of the present data base led to our decision to restrict this report to literature only. Other workers may not agree with our choices, and there remains the nagging expectation that we have inadvertently missed some bibliographic materials. We would greatly appreciate any omissions being called to our attention in order that they can be included in later reports.


Aquatic biology; Terrestrial biology; Environmental monitoring; Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Ariz.-Nev.); Natural resource management


Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy