Building an island

Malheur Lake
At Malheur Lake/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The west has a long history with building reservoirs and cutting channels. Less so with building islands. Particularly when the building of said islands also has to do with salmon recovery.

That’s what the Army Corps of Engineers (working with other agencies) is planning to do, though, at Malheur Lake in southeast Oregon. The lake is the site of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, dating to 1908, which has been a refuge for regional birds. Now the idea is to draw some new birds to the area: Caspian terns, which eat juvenile salmon in the Pacific Ocean. The idea is to draw terns inland and encourage them to change their diet. The hope is that the island, though small (only about a acre in size) would be enough. It would be flat and oval-shaped.

The environmental assessment of island building is out and comment will be accepted through September 21.

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