Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a unit of the National Park Service located in Clark County, southern Nevada, and Mohave County, northeastern Arizona. The park contains over 1.5 million acres within its legislated boundaries and is centered on two reservoirs, Lakes Mead and Mohave, which together encompass over 142 miles fo the former channel of the Colorado River. The lakes comprise over 180,000 acres of the park's total area. The surrounding area is dominated by Mojave desert, although components of the Sonoran and Great Basin deserts are also present within park boundaries. A variety of habitat types can be found at Lake Mead. The majority of the land is Mojave desert scrub, characterized by creosote and bursage. Desert washes support more lush vegetation, including mesquite bosques and acacia thickets. Cliff habitat is available on Lake Mead and in the Black Canyon below Hoover Dam. Forty springs and over 950 miles of shoreline provide riparian habitat that supports diverse plant and animal life. Nearly 370 species of birds have been recorded in the park.

Ornithological Summary

The area of the NRA recognized as an IBA is limited to Lake Meade and Lake Mohave above Davis Dam on the Colorado River, the adjacent vegetated shoreline, and the immediately adjacent cliff faces. This area encompasses wintering and spring and fall migration stopover habitat for waterbirds. Waterbirds use the entire area in what appears to be an indiscriminant fashion, though the surface area occupied by rafts of waterfowl may be relatively limited (on the scale of the lakes) at any given time. The adjacent cliff bands hold important nesting sites for raptors, particularly Peregrine Falcons.

Conservation Issues

tamarisk (salt cedar) and Russian olive causing habitat conversion. off road vehicle use.


The NPS annually conducts surveys for Peregrine Falcons as well as general waterbird surveys. Surveys for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers are also conducted on a seasonal basis.


mesquite and catclaw acacia.

Land Use

primarily fishing. including boating/rafting, sightseeing. dammed and heavily managed system.

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