Polluted, but the birds love it
Embalse Cerron Grande is a lake created by a hydroelectric dam on the Lempa River. It's big, it's polluted, and birds love it according to this report in Reuters:
CERRON GRANDE RESERVOIR, El Salvador, May 17 (Reuters) - An artificial lake in El Salvador brimming with sewage and industrial waste is mystifying scientists by attracting thousands of migratory and sea birds.
Built in 1974 to drive El Salvador's biggest hydroelectric project, the 33,360-acre (13,500- hectare) Cerron Grande reservoir collects some 3,800 tonnes of excrement each year from the sewage pipes, as well as factory run-off and traces of heavy metals like chromium and lead, the government estimates.
So scientists are puzzling over the fact that some 150,000 seabirds from more than 130 species have chosen to make the reservoir their home. At least 90 of the species are migratory birds arriving from as far away as Alaska.
"It's one of the most contaminated lakes we have, which is why we should carry out a study on why the birds are here," said marine biologist Oscar Molina.
Waste from 54 industrial plants, 55 coffee processing plants, seven sugar mills and 29 sewerage systems flows into the reservoir, the environment ministry found in a 2004 study.
Yet the birds attracted to the lake even outnumber the roughly 100,000 people living in villages around it.(more)
You can view images of the lake in these photos: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3.