Your editorial (“Local governments must help Vancouver Lake,” The Columbian, May 1) missed the mark by only focusing on Vancouver Lake’s value as a playground for rowers and sailors.
More importantly, Vancouver Lake and its surrounding habitats have been internationally recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area since 2001. It is one of more than 13,000 IBAs worldwide that are considered globally important for the conservation of bird populations.
The Vancouver Lake lowlands are a critical link on the Pacific Flyway, a natural freeway in the sky for migratory birds. The lake and surrounding wetlands and farm fields host thousands of migrating and wintering geese and ducks, shorebirds and several thousand sandhill cranes.
Vancouver Lake’s shoreline and island provide feeding and night roost areas for shorebirds, sandhill cranes, gulls and American white pelicans. During the day, the lake provides a safe place for cranes to drink, rest and feed. The lake has a significant western grebe population while osprey nest along the shoreline and feed in the lake.
Vancouver Audubon serves as the conservation steward for the Vancouver Lake Lowlands IBA, so we are concerned about management of the lake and how it affects the lake’s use by birds.