Achit lake

Surface area: 98.278 ha
Elevation: 1.435-1.863m

Protection status: Partially protected by Devel Aral Nature Reserve.

Site description: The important area for birds consists of Achit Lake and small part of Khovd River basin, located in its south. The shallow, Achit Lake, formed by tectonic movements, is located on the border between Uvs and Bayan-Ulgii provinces. The lake freezes over from November to May. There can be found different types of habitats/vegetation zones along lake shores and its adjacent mountains. For instance, meadow steppe along the lake, then semi-desert, dry steppe, mountain steppe, mountain steppe and the Alpine meadow. There are also can be found snow capped summits. The Tsagaan, Khatguugiin, Bukhmurun, Uliastai rivers and other streams run into the lake and free-river flows run into Khovd River through channel. Caragana (Caragana spiraga) densely grows along the end of the river and the lake shore. There are many spring and winter places of Nogoon lake and Bukhmurun soum’s locals along Bukhmurun river basin. In the winters fishing takes place here. The site considered as suitable place, where health resort, sport hunting and tourism can be developed. Overgrazing, declination of water level due to drought, poorly managed tourism and overfishing are contributing to the land degradation of the main area with reeds, where waterbirds live.

Importance for birds: Globally threatened bird species such as Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Pallas’s Fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni), Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulate) and Great Bustard (Otis tarda) occur at the site. Thousands of waterbirds stopover during their spring and autumn migration. Of which, Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) occur, exceeding 1% of their flyway populations. The site also supports bird species of the Eurasian high montane, steppe and dessert biome.

Special flora and fauna: The Central Asian non-native fish species such as Lake Osman (Oreoleuciscus angusticephalus), Small Osman (O. humilis) and Mongolian Grayling (Thymallus revirostris) occur at the site. In mid 1970s, the endangered, Mongolian Beaver (Castor fiber birulai), listed in Mongolian Red Data Book, was successfully introduced to Develiin island from Khovd river.