How Lake Owens Went From a Toxic Wasteland to International Bird Sanctuary

In 2001, the United States Government ordered for Lake Owens to be transformed. The L.A. Department of Water and Power was responsible for the transformation, and tasked with repairing areas of the lake that were flooding with a powder-like dust.

Today, their efforts have proved successful, and Mother Nature seems to have responded positively.

It is now a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network area. One of only one-hundred and four in the world. These areas are praised for being home to an extraordinary number of birds.

The network gives each area a rating of either hemispheric, international, or regional. Ratings are based on the amount of different populations at a specific area. For Lake Owens, the network unanimously voted to rate them as an international area.

Robert Clay, the director of the network, praised Los Angeles' work of improving their environmental health. He claims that conserving other species and general human welfare have a direct effect on each other.

Lake Owens officially became a member of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network on the fourth annual Owens Lake Bird Festival. The Department of Water and Power that restored the lake hosts the yearly event.

Hundreds came to the event, and were led by tour guides to enjoy the scenic area.

Two tour guides, Tom and Jo Heindel, are quite dedicated to the area's biodiversity conservation efforts. They have been working on a study of every species of bird that has been in the county for the past century and a half. The study is nearly complete.

Many supports of the efforts at Lake Owens believe it is a permanent project. Jo Heindel claims that the group is extremely organized, and has been experiencing record growth. At the same time, it is now an international area for shorebirds - making it very difficult for the government to shut down.


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