Lake Abert

Greg Burke

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Volunteer Accomplishment in Hart-Sheldon

Volunteer Accomplishment in Hart-Sheldon

voices

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.

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The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

Wilson's phalaropes

J. Hertz

A Balance Upset

Two invertebrates are able to tolerate the salinity of Lake Abert — the alkali fly (Ephydra hians) and brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) — but only when water salinity levels are between 3 and 8%. When salinity drops below or rises above that threshold, the fly and shrimp populations plummet due to inhospitable conditions. 

Since these two species serve as the main source of food for migrating birds, reductions in brine shrimp or alkali fly abundance create a major disruption along the Pacific Flyway. 

Unfortunately, water withdrawals, reservoir construction and drought have reduced water flow into the lake, increasing its salinity or drying up the lake altogether. With the food gone, migratory birds can no longer stop at this lake to replenish their energy.

Saving Lake Abert

Lake Abert is an indispensable ecosystem where birdwatchers and nature lovers have appreciated the wonders of the salt lake for decades. But the future of this lake is at risk. 

Although Lake Abert and the adjacent Abert Rim are identified by the Bureau of Land Management as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, the lake itself does not have any water rights so upstream withdrawals from the Chewaucan River, can leave the lake with little or no water, especially during drought years.

Long-term conservation, management and restoration of the unique habitat at Lake Abert requires a deep understanding of its hydrology, biology and ecology. It also requires the state of Oregon to improve water management, measurement, and regulation, and for local, regional and national stakeholders to work together to ensure the lake is provided the water it needs to thrive.

Ron Larson

A Drying, Shrinking Lake

Lake Abert’s delicate ecosystem depends on consistent and reliable fresh water inputs to maintain optimal salinity to support a complex food web that feeds the abundant birdlife at the lake. […]

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Ron Larson

Saving Lake Abert

Lake Abert — and the birds that depend on it — is under constant threat as the ongoing drought exacerbates the impacts of poor water management, resulting in reduced inflows […]

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Abert Rim and Abert Lake June 2018

Lake Abert Storybook

Lake Abert is a rich ecosystem teeming with life. See more images of this incredible saline environment in our storybook.

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