Lake Baikal, Russia - David Klein

My Watermark is Lake Baikal, Russia.

I work for the Nature Conservancy based in Rochester, New York. The first waterbody that popped into my head is Lake Baikal in Siberia. I spent a couple of days touring around the southern part and it’s a very great lake -- it’s the same volume (of freshwater) as the entire Great Lakes in the US. It’s a big, big body of water.

One evening I was travelling with members of Russian conservation organizations – they’re very feisty. We were on the shoreline, I’m a birdwatcher and there were birds out on the lake, and there were a couple of species of very, very big Swifts. We just have one Swift in North America, the Chimney Swift, and it’s a little bird that flutters around up in the sky twittering. But these were big birds, ocean-going Swift's, wingspan must have been over a foot, and it was so amazing to watch them acting like Swift’s but in this huge size. Watching that kind of life over Lake Baikal was very memorable.

It’s a lake, like most waterbodies, that is having some real troubles with pollution. There’s one inlet river, and most of Lake Baikal’s water comes from that river, which flows through Mongolia into Siberia. But now they’re putting dams on the river in Mongolia and it could have a major impact. They really need an IJC (International Joint Commission) in Mongolia and Russia to make sure what happens in one country doesn’t adversely affect another.

Matthew Chisholm
David Klein

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