2cy armenicus: December
Larus armenicus in Iran - tragedy in Lake Urmia
One of the main breeding sites for Armenian Gull worldwide is the Lake Urmia, situated in the NW corner of Iran. Annual surveys and monitoring actions about exact breeding numbers are not available, but it may still hold the largest breeding colony for Larus armenicus. Over the last decades, Lake Urmia is obviously facing large problems with decreasing water levels. Therefore various initiatives to raise awareness and appropriate action have been launched, including blogs, websites, youtube video's and facebook pages. Most of the action comes together from this group, the Save Lake Urmia Campaign: www.saveurmia.com.
They present the group as: Save Lake Urmia Campaign is a non-political, non-commercial international campaign with the objective to unite people and environmental groups across the world to:
- Raise awareness of Lake Urmia and the environmental disaster happening in the Middle East;
- Demand the international organizations such as UNESCO and FAO, and the Iranian government to take immediate actions to preserve the lake; and
- Save Lake Urmia from complete drying and preserve unique ecosystem, flora and fauna around the lake.
Who are involved?
Save Lake Urmia Campaign are a group of students, originally from the areas around the lake. They are holding an environmental campaign which was started in Vancouver, Canada. The goal is to attract international attention to the upcoming ecological catastrophe in the Middle East.
What do they want?
Save Lake Urmia Campaign demand the Iranian government and international organizations to take a quick action to protect Lake Urmia and stop the ecological disaster.
Further research and investigation must be conducted to find real causes of the problem and come up with quick and realistic solutions.
International organizations, environmental groups, and the Iranian government should take immediate actions to fulfill their commitments to preserve Lake Urmia.
A swift joint action plan should be prepared and implemented to increase the inflow of water into the lake. The action plan should include both short-term and long-term objectives. The main SOLUTIONS for the recovery of the lake are:
a) Release water behind dams;
b) Control water wells;
c) Direct water from nearby rivers. Diverting potential rivers such as Zab with high inflowing capability (mean water discharge = 44.52 m3/sec) maybe useful for recovery of Lake Urmia;
d) Direct city waters to the lake;
e) Change irrigation methods. An awareness and better understanding of the lake by the surrounding human population will provide a foundation for future sustainable management of this remarkable inland lake.
SaveUmria is a website with backgrond information, petitions
Another website attending the situation is F30.
Urmu Gölü quruyor (kuruyor in Turkish) is Azeri for "Lake Urmia is drying up", and the rest of the poster says that there will be a gathering on the 3rd of April. Doing a bit more searching turned up this Facebook group, and a notice that a gathering in Ankara will take place on the 3rd in front of the Azerbaijan Cultural Association (Azerbaycan Kültür Derneği) to raise awareness.
The problem of decreasing water levels is not new for the region, with Lake Aral as the most prominent example. Due to being located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the political situation at Lake Aral may have made it easy to blame the other side and ignore one's own responsibility (because why should we reduce our water consumption, when the other side uses it as much as they want? - as the argument goes) over the past decades.
But Lake Urmia is located entirely within Iran and its fate depends solely on the actions of a single nation. The animated GIF below shows Lake Urmia over a period of time (1984-2003), and though there is definite drying, it's thankfully not nearly as drastic as the Aral Sea.
This animated GIF source is on Wikipedia.
The lake itself is located here in northwestern Iran where all the Azeris live:
View Larger Map
Lake Urmia - initiatives on Facebook
Also on Facebook, several intiatives have been developed:
Source: Facebook - Campaign to Save Lake Urmia
And also on YouTube video's on protests and background information is avaiable (tags: Lake Urmia).