What do Mono Lake, the Great Salt Lake and Argentina have in common?

Release Date: Jan 27, 2023

bird mural, people

What do Mono Lake, the Great Salt Lake and Argentina have in common?

They are “sister lakes” which means they’re all part of the Pacific Flyway, the route that hundreds of species of migratory birds follow back and forth from their nesting grounds to their wintering sites every year.

Laguna Mar Chiquita in central Argentina is the biggest saline lake in Latin America, and one of the most important sites in the world for Wilsons Phalaropes and other migratory birds. All three of these sister lakes are designated as international Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Networks (WHSRN), a science-based, partnership-driven, conservation initiative for protecting the ecological integrity of critical habitats for shorebirds throughout the Americas.

On June 30, 2022, the Argentine government approved the declaration of Laguna Mar Chiquita as Ansenuza National Park and National Reserve, a historical name for the region. This declaration will provide new management standards and protections for this important ecosystem which will in turn impact its sister lakes in North America.

Wildlife Biologists from the Inyo National forest and Chugach National Forest traveled to Laguna Mar Chiquita in November of 2022 with U.S. Forest Service International Programs. During this trip they collaborated with Inyo National Forest local partners at the Mono Lake Committee, California State Parks and independent researchers, and also international partners such as the WHSRN, Oikonos, Manomet, Aves Argentina, Fundacion Lideres de Ansenuza and various other federal and state government officials.  

They strengthened their relationships in migratory shorebird conservation by commemorating a large mural with a formal twinning ceremony signifying the continued collaboration between the twin lakes, and drafted and signed a document in both English and Spanish, further ratifying their commitment to conservation.

signed document with logos

They talked with future environmental leaders of Ansenzua from the Argentine non-profit Fudacion Lideres de Ansenuza, to discuss eco-tourism and conservation with indigenous villages and deliberated on future management actions with local and federal government representatives.

“It is extremely important for us to comprehend how invaluable this area is at both a local and global scale,” said wildlife biologist Thomas Torres out of Inyo National Forest.  

people, presentation screen

“Mono Lake alone supports up to 1 million waterbirds, like shorebirds, grebes, gulls, ducks and geese at peak migration during the fall. Thirty-five shorebird species utilize the lake, with the most abundant migrants being Wilson’s Phalaropes (up to 80,000, or 10-14% of the world population).”

Thanks to the Inyo National Forest leadership team and these partnerships, conservation efforts for Mono Lake are heading in a good direction.


See more stories from our partners:

Oikonos blog: “A new national park at Laguna Mar Chiquita, Argentina, brings communities together from across the hemisphere to celebrate phalaropes and saline lakes

WHSRN/RHRAP blog:Linking Salt Lakes: A Commitment Ratified for Posterity