High good, low bad: Mead in August

Posted on | September 1, 2009 | 3 Comments

Hoover Dam Bypass BridgeTHE HOOVER DAM BYPASS bridge joining Nevada and Arizona neared completion over the Colorado River last month. Scheduled to open in 2010, it was recently dedicated as the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge in honor of the former Nevadan Governor and Arizona serviceman. Only the dead know what Mike O’Callaghan, who died in 2004, would make of the honor. The bridge enables yet more Las Vegas sprawl while the former governor and editor of the Las Vegas Sun was a fearless critic of the water policies of Southern Nevadan developers, including those backed by his protege, US Senator Harry Reid.

Behind the dam stretches Lake Mead, whose falling elevations are evinced by the mineral deposits (or, as they are commonly called, the “bathtub ring”) on the canyon walls.

The falling elevations are the product of drought, a 19th-century priority rights system that dumps millions of acre feet of water into farms in the California desert and runaway growth in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. The closing August elevation for Lake Mead was 1,093.73.  The lake, the largest reservoir in the country, has dropped 32.94  feet in the last five years.

Year-on-year US Bureau of Reclamation comparisons for August  going back to 2004:


August 31, 2009: 1,093.73

August 31, 2008: 1,105.13

August 31, 2007: 1,111.84

August 31, 2006: 1,126.54

August 31, 2005: 1,139.61

August 31, 2004: 1,126.67


3 Responses to “High good, low bad: Mead in August”

  1. John Black
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 1:45 am

    Emily, I love your blog and have nominated you for an oh-so-prestigious MeMe award – stop by A Verdant Life (http://is.gd/2Nfym) to pick it up if you so desire!

  2. admin
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 10:58 am

    John, why thank you for the MeMe and thank you for a feed of good links. I particularly like the blog of the lady who sketches. I’m at a disadvantage pursuing this game because the websites that I pore over most avidly rarely have blogs. My most visited site is probably NOAA’s climate prediction center. But here are 7 things about me and 8 sites that I recommend without reservation:

    1. I write about gardening but have observed that the plants that do best are the ones that I don’t molest.
    2. Gardening taught me to think.
    3. I am addicted to early episodes of Law and Order because I missed them while living abroad.
    4. I very much like Las Vegas, though I abhor gambling. The Strip and all that are like the dark side of Salt Lake City and the great Mormon temple. It’s fascinating. Beautiful basin, LV. Reporter heaven. I adore Nevada. And Utah.
    5. I have no idea what I’m doing [business-wise] with this blog. I’m feeling it out as I go along.
    6. I am leaving out blogs by friends I love and whose work I admire because they fall outside of my obsession with water.
    7. I laid out my garden around the tracks created by my dogs as they chased one another. The amazing thing was the loopy symmetry of the way the dogs gauged their proximity to fences and cacti etc as they tore around the yard. In designing beds, I could never have matched the elegance and rightness of their tracks.

    Here is list of some of the sites that I admire. Linking required by the MeMes to follow after I’ve rushed out and bought something to feed a friend invited for lunch. The friend thinks I can cook.

    1. WaterWired. http://aquadoc.typepad.com/waterwired/
    Michael Campana produces what amounts to an open university for anyone coming into the mind-boggling world of water. It contains every link you will need to get started.
    2. Aguanomics. http://aguanomics.com/
    UC Berkeley economist David Zetland is smart, fun and fearless. An exemplary blogger. Women friends invariably comment on how good looking he is.
    3. Aquafornia. http://aquafornia.com/ A news feed for water junkies done with a broad outlook that respects blogs as a coming news source.
    4. On the public record http://onthepublicrecord.wordpress.com/ … ferociously smart. No idea who does it.
    5. jfleck@inkstain. http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/
    Fleck’s a highly competent journalist doing the steady, largely unthanked work for Southwesterners explaining what we’re doing to this place. He’s also a fellow cyclist.
    6. Humboldt State University Library California Maps, http://library.humboldt.edu/~rls/geospatial/calmaps.htm#sudocsclass … if you love California and love maps, you could spend a lot of time here
    7. Desert USA http://www.desertusa.com/ and all the good similar sites revealing the wonders of the Sonoran, Mojave and Great Basin Deserts. If I choose this, I don’t have to decide between plant, bird, bat, and herp-oriented sites, or the wonderful Ntl Parks ones. This one will get you there.
    8. I have to do 8. Or if I can’t have 8, forget the maps and Desert USA and give this blog 2 recommendations. If you have kids ( I don’t) and hike (I do, if there’s a pub at the end of the trail) and live in LA (I do), you need to know about Rambling LA by environment writer Ilsa Setziol. She’s a walking definition of intrepid and interested. http://ramblingla.blogspot.com/

  3. delert grady
    September 2nd, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

    Never saw that coming. Great satire.

    Agree with you about Vegas too.


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