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World War II-Era Boat Emerges in the Desert as Lake Mead Water Levels Continue Dropping

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A sunken boat dating back to World War II is the latest object to emerge from a shrinking reservoir that straddles Nevada and Arizona.

The Higgins landing craft that has long been 185 feet below the surface is now nearly halfway out of the water at Lake Mead.

The boat lies less than a mile from Lake Mead Marina and Hemingway Harbor.

It was used to survey the Colorado River decades ago, sold to the marina and then sunk, according to dive-tour company Las Vegas Scuba.

Higgins Industries in New Orleans built several thousand landing craft between 1942 and 1945, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Around 1,500 “Higgins boats” were deployed at Normandy on June 6, 1944, known as D-Day.

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The boat is just the latest in a series of objects unearthed by declining water levels in Lake Mead, the largest human-made reservoir in the U.S., held back by the Hoover Dam. In May, two sets of human remains were found in the span of a week.

As water levels drop at both Lake Mead and Lake Powell upstream on the Arizona-Utah line, states in the U.S. West increasingly face deeper cuts to their supply from the Colorado River. The lower levels also impact hydropower produced at Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam, which holds back Lake Powell.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton said last month that the agency would take action to protect the system if the seven states in the Colorado River basin don’t quickly come up with a way to cut the use of up to 4 million acre-feet of water — more than Arizona and Nevada’s share combined.

An acre-foot is about 325,850 gallons. An average household uses one-half to one acre-foot of water a year.

The two states, along with California and Mexico, already have enacted voluntary and mandatory cuts. Water from some reservoirs in the upper basin — Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah — has been released to prop up Lake Powell.

Farmers use a majority of the river’s supply.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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