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Lake Bolon

Geographical Coordinates  49°35’ N, 136°05’ E ( 49°25’ - 49°55’ N, 135°21’-139°15’ E)

Geographical Location
In Amursky District, Khabarovsk Region; 70 km of the town of Amursk, 170 km of Khabarovsk.

Area:  53,800 ha

Altitude: 15 m a. s. l.

Wetland Type
Ramsar classification -  L, M, O, Tp, Ts, W

Ramsar Criteria:
1 (a, c) — a representative example of a large floodplain wetland complex in the Lower Amur area; the wetland plays an important role in the natural functioning of the
Lower Amur.
2 (b, c) — the catchment of Lake Bolon is important for migrating, breeding and moulting populations of waterfowl, and for breeding populations of rare fish species.
3 (a) — the wetland regularly supports 20000 waterbirds.
4 (a, b) — the lake is of importance for indigenous fish populations. All criteria are equal in importance.

The site incorporates a large floodplain lake and a group of small lakes, oxbow lakes and bays in the lower courses of the Selgon and Simmi Rivers. The area is important for migrating, breeding and moulting populations of waterfowl, including rare and threatened species.
Created on September 13, 1994.

Geology and geomorphology. The site is situated on the northern part of the Middle Amur Plain, which is separated from the other part of the plain by the Vandan and Sindo-Murkhen mountain ridges on the left bank of the Amur River, and by the Petropavlovsk-Sarapul ouvals on the right bank. The major landforms are alluvial and lacustrine-alluvial plains in the bottom-lands and on the terraces, tributaries and lakes on the bottom-land. Lake Bolon is a natural floodplain lake, presenting a remaining part of the ancient riverbed of the Amur.

Lake Bolon is a drainage lake, connected with the Amur River by two channels (the Sii and Serebryanaya). The level of the lake is subject to fluctuations of up to 3,72 m, with the area varying over a range from 342 km2 to 612 km2. The lake is shallow, the maximum depth is 4,5-5 m. Sometimes there are storms with waves up to 1,5 m  high.

The area has a transitional monsoon-continental climate. It is cool and subhumid. The Arctic continental air masses dominate in winter. The mean January temperature is -28°C and the mean July temperature is +21°C. The annual variations in the air temperatures reach 50°C. Annual precipitation varies between 400 and 500 mm, with 50-55% falling between July and September, and only 15% from November till March. Snow cover is 35-40 cm deep and persists from early November till mid-April. The grounds freeze down to 160 cm. Winter has a lot of unshadowed days. Summer is humid and warm.

Lake Bolon is one of the largest inland water reservoirs of the Amur Rriver region. The maximum length of the lake is 70 km, width - 20 km. The northern and eastern shores of the lake are hilly, and there are two well defined terraces at a height of 12-15 m and 20-25 m. The southern and western shores are low, with a belt of dense aquatic vegetation, sedges and peatmoss bog forests.

The significance of the region as a place for migratory birds
The site is very important for conservation of migratory waterbirds. About 80% of all waterbirds, migrating through the Lower Amur region, use the area as a stop-over site. The total number of passage migrants is between 800,000 and 1,200,000.
The significance of the region as a place for nesting
About 25% of the waterbirds breeding in Khabarovsky Province are found at the site. Species which breed in small amounts in some years include whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), spotbill duck (Anas poecilorhyncha), gadwall (A. strepera), Baikal teal (A. formosa) and mandarin duck (Aix galericulata).
The significance of the region as a place for rare and threatened species
Species included in the Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species that occur at the site include Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana), white-tailed eagle; Japanese crane (Grus japonensis), hooded crane (Grus monachus), black stork (Ciconia nigra), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) are rare, presumably breeding species.

Three species of plants currently included in teh Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species occur in the area. These are Brasenia schreberi, Iris ensata, and Trapa natans and some rare in the region species.

Pollution of the Amur waters, that are connected to the lake, produces the major threat to the wetland. Anthropogenic pressure is high, including over-fishing, that leads to the decline of population of some species, intense waterfowl shooting and poaching. Forest cutting takes place in the catchment of Lake Bolon, outside the wetland area. And there are grass fire hazards every year.

A project to establish a strict nature reserve (‘zapovednik’) has been developed and adopted by Government on November the 18th, 1997. The site received a status of a wetland of international importance. In April 2014, “Zapovednoye Priamurye” Joint Directorate of Nature Reserves and National Parks of Khabarovsky Province was established uniting Bolon Nature Reserve and four protected areas.