Ecosystem impacts from visitor activities or natural environmental change are important concerns in all units of the National Park system. Possible impacts to aquatic ecosystems at Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA) are of particular concern because of the designation of Lakes Mead and Mohave as critical habitat for the federally listed endangered razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), the significance of the sport fishery, and the regional importance of its habitats to more than 90 documented species of waterbirds. Potential threats to shoreline habitats are of concern not only for their ecosystem values but also for maintaining the recreational setting. Many areas adjacent to the shorelines of Lakes Mead and Mohave are designated wilderness areas. For purposes of this document, stressors are any chemical, biological, or physical agent that has a detrimental effect on aquatic ecosystems at the organism, population, or community level. Human-made stressors at Lakes Mead and Mohave include direct effects of recreation on the lakes, like boating and fishing, as well as indirect effects of activities away from the lakes, such as growing population and increasing urbanization. Common natural environmental stressors include extended changes in climate (precipitation or temperature), or the erosion, transport, and loading of chemical constituents in rocks and sediments to aquatic environments. Human activity also can exacerbate natural stressors in a variety of ways.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Threats and stressors to the health of the ecosystems of Lakes Mead and Mohave: Chapter 6 in A synthesis of aquatic science for management of Lakes Mead and Mohave