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Lake Khanka

Geographical Coordinates
44°53’ N, 132°30’ E (44°13’ - 45°07’ N, 131°59’ - 133°16’ E)

Geographical Location
The site is located approximately 200 km north-northeast of the city of Vladivostok. The northern one third
part of the lake is in China.

116,099 ha

70 m a. s. l.

Wetland Type
Ramsar classification - L, M, O, Tp, 3

Ramsar Criteria
1c, 2a, 2b, 3a, 4a, 4b. The main - 1с, 2а, 2b, 4а - a unique site, a place of habitat of rare species of plants and animals.

A large trans-border freshwater lake, surrounded by grass mires. The site supports a great number of waterbirds, rich diversity of plants and animals, including rare
and threatened species. Created on October 11, 1976.

Geology and geomorphology. The site is situated on a lake-alluvial plane, dissected by degraded mountains and ridges which are not very high. To the west and east, the plain is surrounded by mountains.

Lake Khanka is characterized by long-term cyclical changes in water level. As a result, the water area varies over the range from 501,000 to 394,000 ha, and the total volume of water varies from 22,6 km3 to 12,7 m3. Average annual elevations in the level of the lake above the relatively accepted zero (66,0 m in Baltic system) are about 300 cm. In different years the fluctuations are from 200 cm to 430 cm. The monthly average peak of water level in the lake and nearby pounds coisides with the peak of
precipitation. The mean depth of Lake Khanka is 4 m, with a maximum of 10 m. The floodplain water bodies are 1—1,5 m deep. The catchment area of the lake comprises
1 689,000 ha, including 1 537,000 in Russia.

The Lake Khanka is situated in the region which has a monsoon climate of the eastern part of the continent. The mean air temperature is 20°C in July. Annual precipitation is 600 mm, with 500 mm falling in summer. The shallow floodplain water bodies are frozen down to the bottom in winter.

The period between the highest and lowest peaks in the water level is 12—13 years. The medium level conditions (about 300 cm), but not the highest, are the most favorable to the waterfowl.

The significance of the region as a place for migratory birds
During seasonal migrations on the Lake Khanka and nearby territories accept 300,000 - 350,000 dabbling ducks (mainly pintail (Anas acuta), wigeon (Anas penelope), falcated teal (Anas falcata) and common teal (Anas crecca), 100,000—130,000 geese (mainly Bean goose (Anser fabalis) and white-fronted goose (Anser albifronts), and 3,000 - 5,000 swans, mainly whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus). Migrating birds stay on the lake for about a month both in spring and in autumn.
The significance of the region as a place for rare and threatened species
The species included in the Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species that occur at the site include 25 species of waterfowl: cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), intermediate egret (Egretta intermedia), spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Japanese crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana), lesser whitefronted goose (Anser erythropus), swan goose (Anser cygnoides), Bewick’s swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii), mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri), osprey (Pandeon haliaetus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Japanese crane (Grus japonensis), white-naped crane (Grus vipio), hooded crane (Grus monacha), Swinhoe’s yellow rail (Porzana exquisite), great bustard (Otis tarda), longbilled ringed plover (Charadrius placidus), black winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer), Asiatic dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), Chinese bush warbler (Bradypterus taczanowskius), paradise flycatcher (Terpsihore paradise); Yangtse parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei). 
The significance of the region as a place for conservation of biodiversity of mammals, amphibian and reptiles
Mammals included in the Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species are: Sorex mirabilis, Ursus thibetanus, Panthera pardus and Felis euptilura. Among the other mammals, muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is noteworthy as a species playing an important role in the wetland ecosystems. Chinese softshelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) represents the rare reptiles.
The significance of the region as a place for fish
The lake is rich with fish. Its amount depends on the water level. The connection is positive. There are 50 species of fish, including great kaluga sturgeon (Huso dauricus), Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrencki), taimen (Hucho taimen), lenok (Brachymystax lenok), black carp (Myopharyngon piceus), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), eelpout (Lota lota), mudfish (Ophiocephalus argus), Chinese perch (Siniperca chua-tsi) and others.

The plants lincluded in the Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species, that occur at Lake Khanka are: Caldesia parnassifolia, brasenia scherberi, Eleocharis tetraquetra, Dioscorea japonica, Aldrovanda vesiculosa, Eriocaulon komarovii, Lespedeza cyrtobotrya, Quercus dentata, Iris ensata, I. ventricosa, Fritillaria ussuriensis, Lillium callosum, L. pseudotrigrinum, Nelumbo nucifera komarovii, Euryale ferox, Pagonia japonica, Paeonia lastifolia, P. obovata, Armeniaca mandshurica, Trapella sinensis, Trapa natans, Juniperus rigida, Pinus densiflora and Pirrosia lingua.

Agricultural pollution from the rice fields poses the major threat to the site. The present economic situation has resulted in some decrease in the level of the impact. Another important factor is disturbance of birds by people and domestic animals.

The area was designated as a wetland of international importance by Decree No. 1049 of the USSR Government on December 25, 1975. The site includes the 38,000 ha Khankaisky Nature Reserve established in 1990. The reserve has a buffer zone of 73,740 ha. There is also a 16500 ha wildlife refuge. The Administration of Primorsky Province has established the special regime for the buffer zone. The Khankaisky Nature Reserve is responsible for control of the condition and use of the environment of the site.