Saturday, November 21, 2015

Aydar Arnasay Lakes System - Ramsar Site

The Aydar-Arnasay lakes system is situated in the south-eastern part of Uzbekistan (Navoi and Dzhizak provinces). In the north it is bordered by the Kyzyl-Kum desert, to the south by the foothills of the North-Nuratau mountains and to the east by extensive irrigated areas of the Golodnaya steppe. The Aydar-Arnasay lakes system includes three brackish water lakes (Aydar Kul, Arnasay and Tuzkan). Up to the middle of the last century the Arnasay lowland remained a dry Salt pan during most of the year. Only in Spring, in the lowlands, would the small, ephemeral Lake Tuzkan glisten briefly, disappearing in the hot weather.

In the early sixties the Chardarya irrigation dam was constructed on the Syr Darya. Floodgates were provided in the dam for flood control, and when in 1969 a raging flood occurred, these were opened as the dam's capacity was inadequate to cope with the flow. Between February 1969 and February 1970 almost 60% of the Syr Darya's average annual water flow (21 km³) drained from the Chardarya Reservoir into the Arnasay lowland. Since 1969 the Aydar Lake has regularly received the waters of the Syr Darya River when they overflow the capacity of the Chardarya Reservoir. This has gradually filled up the natural cavity of Arnasay lowland to create the second largest lake in the region (after the Aral Sea). The total length east to west of these lakes is 300 km and its north to south its width varies from 30 to 50 km. The water level of the lakes system is 240-242 m ASL the water surface area more than 3700 square km and ther has a volume of about 44.3 cubic km.

The Aydar Arnasay Lakes System was designated a RAMSAR site in 1977. Being located at the crossroads of the Afro-Eurasian and Central Asian flyways it is a centre for migrating and wintering waterbirds, with more than 100 species noted. It provides a habitat to threatened species like White-headed Duck Savka (Oxyura leucocephala), Sociable Lapwing (Chettusia gregaria), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Red-breasted Goose (Rufibrenta ruficollis), Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erytropus), and Pallas Sea-eagle (Haliaetus leucoryphus)  In addition there are many other kinds of water birds migrating from the Aral Sea that make their homes around the lake. On migration there are found many different kinds of ducks, swans, geese, cranes, bustard, pelican, cormorant, white and grey herons, terns, snipe, pheasant, snipe, spoonbills and egrets in the Aydur Aransay.

The main vegetation of the lakelands are reed communities, saltwort, amarisk.,calligonum, sedge, bonfires, astragalus, boyalych and yantak. In the coastal scrub and reed can be found muskrats, wolves, wild boars, jackals, fox, badgers , and jungle cat. And among the sand lands often meets jerboa, yellow gopher steppe tortoise, big-eared hedgehog, boa, various snakes, lizard, and steppe agama. The lake systems also provides an important source of food and a spawning ground for various species of fish, including the Sazan (Cyprinus carpio), Pike perch (Stizostedion lucioperca), Bream (Abramis brama), Cat-fish (Silurus glanis), Hzereh (Aspius aspius), Chehon (Pelecus cultratus), Ophidian fish (Channa argus) were introduced to the lake, which nowadays works as a source of industrial fishing.

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