azerbaijan

azerbaijan

Urmiye Gölü- Lake Urmia - دریاچه اورمیه

42m ago
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Description

Lake Urmia (farsi: دریاچه اورمیه‎, Turkish: Urmiye Gölü اورمو گؤلو; ancient name: Lake Matiene) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Iran's border with Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in Iran, and west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea. At its full size, it is the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth largest saltwater lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km² (2,000 mile²), 140 km (87 mi) length, 55 km (34 mi) width, and 16 m (52 ft) depth. Lake Urmia along with its approximately 102 islands are protected as a national park by the Iranian Department of Environment. Lake Urmia is home to some 212 species of birds, 41 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and 27 species of mammals, including the yellow deer. It is an internationally registered protected area as both a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site. of Environment has designated most of the lake as a "National Park". The recent drought has significantly decreased the annual amount of water the lake receives. This in turn has increased the salinity of the lake's water, lowering the lake viability as home to thousands of migratory birds including the large flamingo populations. The salinity has particularly increased in the half of the lake north of the causeway. The lake is marked by more than a hundred small, rocky islands, which serve as stopover points during the migrations of several wild birds including flamingos, pelicans, spoonbills, ibises, storks, shelducks, avocets, stilts, and gulls. By virtue of its high salinity, the lake no longer sustains any fish species. Nonetheless, Lake Urmia is considered a significant natural habitat of Artemia, which serve as food source for the migratory birds such as flamingos. In early 2013, the then-head of the Iranian Artemia Research Center was quoted that Artemia Urmiana had gone extinct due to the drastic increases in salinity. However this assessment has been contradicted. The lake is a major barrier between two of the most important cities in West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces, Urmia and Tabriz. A project to build a highway across the lake was initiated in the 1970s but was abandoned after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, having finished a 15 km causeway with an unbridged gap. The project was revived in the early 2000s, and was completed in November 2008 with the opening of the 1.5 km Urmia Lake Bridge across the remaining gap. The highly saline environment is already heavily rusting the steel on the bridge despite anti-corrosion treatment. Experts have warned that the construction of the causeway and bridge, together with a series of ecological factors, will eventually lead to the drying up of the lake, turning it into a salt marsh which will directly affect the climate of the region. Lake Urmia has been shrinking for a long time, with an annual evaporation rate of 0.6m to 1m (24 to 39 inches). Although measures are now being taken to reverse the trend the lake has shrunk by 60% and could disappear entirely. Only 5% of the lake's water remains. Environmental rallies From March 2010, a series of protests and rallies in Iranian Azerbaijan demanded action to save Lake Urmia: On 2 April 2010 and 2011, and after several callings from Tractor Sazi F.C.'s fans in stadiums and internet sites, protest demanding that the government take action to save Lake Urmia was held in Tabriz, Urmia, on the lake beach, and on top of the lake bridge. As a result, dozens of people were arrested by security forces. In August 2011, after the Iranian parliament dropped two emergency cases for reviving the lake, a number of soccer fans at Tabriz derby (soccer match between Tractor Sazi F.C. and Shahrdari Tabriz F.C.) were arrested for shouting slogans in favor of protecting the lake. Later that same week, Iranian Turks scheduled a protest against the parliament move. Despite the capture of more than 20 activists by security forces the day before the protest,...