My aunt and I stopped at this view point on a road trip to Walla Walla. It’s a very remote lake and not quite your typical destination. I’ve seen it a few times and it serves as eye candy for a weary road trip passenger. We stopped and got out this time, though. It was serene and very beautiful given it is the high desert area of Oregon. Everything east of the Cascades is reminiscent of the wild wild west cowboy narrative. This lake truly is an oasis.
According to Oregon Live, no one really knows why it is shrinking. Water managers think it’s the drought that’s affecting southern Oregon. Other scientists disagree and suggest local ranches are using more water from the Chewaucan River, Lake Abert’s main source. It seems like no one with power really cares, though. Some locals have a strong stake in the ecosystem.
The locals suggest one good year of spring runoff will bring it back to its full potential, but are concerned this wont happen.
Is there another issue at hand? Two lakes on the West Coast have disappeared already by being tapped into for drinking water, Mono Lake and Owens Lake in California shrank. “Walker Lake in Nevada shrunk after irrigation sapped the river that feeds it. Millions have been spent to rehabilitate it” (Oregon Live).
Oregon’s only saltwater lake, Lake Albert, remains an environmental mystery. Shrimp are dying, birds are forced elsewhere, and local businesses suffer. The remaining water is turning even saltier making it inhabitable.
Here is a really great article about Lake Albert’s shrinking that goes in depth.
Anyways… it’s interesting that what I’ve passed numerous times on a long drive in seclusion has such a mystery around it.