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Old 06-13-2007   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818

June 13, 2007

Lake Mead Level and End of Current

As of June 13, 2007, Lake Mead's water surface stood at approximately 1115 feet above mean sea level, almost 110 feet below the lake's maximum elevation of 1225 feet.

The Bureau of Reclamation estimates the reservoir level will be 1111 feet by end of this month, and remain at that level throughout the summer. The water level in Lake Mead has been dropping approximately one foot per week for the past eight weeks. Managers are releasing more water to meet downstream water requirements.

The historic minimum level of Lake Mead was 1084 feet, which occurred in 1956 before Glen Canyon Dam was constructed. At reservoir levels of 1050 or lower, Hoover Dam can no longer make electricity. The Bureau of Reclamation predicts the lake level to be at 1098 by late summer 2008.

River runners traveling downstream of Diamond Creek will encounter the end of river current at approximately river mile 293, four miles above South Cove. While there is good current all the way to the Iceberg Reef area, river runners are advised to keep an eye out for sandbars and other navigational hazards in Iceberg Canyon.

Diamond Creek

The Hualapai Nation is strongly requesting that Diamond Creek put-ins and take-outs occur before 7 am or after 10 am.

New Rapids and Other Hazards

The Pearce Ferry riffle has an exposed rock pour over in the center of the rapid, more pronounced at lower river flows. There is a clear channel on either side of the rock. Night floating through this area is not recommended by the National Park Service. Another navigational hazard at this area is a blind curve just downstream of the riffle. The river concessions jet boats will typically sound their horns at this blind curve, and river runners in kayaks are advised to flush out to avert a collision if they are playing in the rapid.

New riffles have formed at Surprise Canyon, Spencer Canyon and Separation Canyon, where new side canyon stream gravel has pushed approximately half way across the river channel. The riffle at Gneiss Canyon Rapid at river mile 236 is becoming more turbulent.

Campsite Update

Gneiss Canyon Camp at river mile 236 is in good shape, as is Bridge City Camp just above river mile 239. Separation Canyon Camp at river mile 239.8 is open. The camps at 241 are choked with arrow weed, but the small camp at river mile 242 is open. The camp at 243 on river right is large and heavily used.

There is a large camp on cobble at Spencer Canyon, but this camp is prone to flash flooding. The Surprise Canyon Camp above river mile 249 is open but rocky, as it is now on a gravel outwash of Surprise Canyon and is also prone to flash flooding. There is room for two trips to camp at the Surprise Canyon Camp.

Access to the old Burnt Springs Camp is extremely difficult, requiring a climb up a twelve foot high silt bank. Watch for rattlesnakes in this area. There is a good camp on river left just past the mouth of Quartermaster Canyon at river mile 258. This camp is noisy with a lot of helicopter activity.

There is a camp on a sandbar on river right just below Dry Canyon at river mile 264.5 but this is mostly overgrown with a 5-6 feet cut bank. There is a sandbar camp at 273 Mile on river left, but is quite small and very overgrown.

There is a small sandy camp just above the Pearce Ferry riffle at approximately 280 Mile on river left. This camp is getting overgrown with vegetation. Any camp on river right in the area around Gods Pocket will have to be shared with fifteen to twenty head of range cattle. The last nice camp on the river is at South American Point on river left at approximately 285 Mile, across from Paiute Point at the mouth of Grand Wash Bay.

New large sandbar camps have formed in Iceberg Canyon, without shade or vegetation. There is a floating bathroom by Hells Kitchen at about river mile 294 on the Nevada side of the lake, but it is out of the way of folks rowing to South Cove. The last camps on Lake Mead above South Cove on the Arizona side of the reservoir are above and below Sandy Point, just below 295 Mile.

River runners are reminded that all sandbar camps are susceptible to unanticipated flooding by upstream events.

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