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Lake Pátzcuaro
Lake Pátzcuaro (Spanish: Lago de Pátzcuaro) is a lake in the municipality of Pátzcuaromarker, Michoacánmarker, Mexicomarker.

The natives believe that the lake is the place where the barrier between life and death is the thinnest.

Lake Pátzcuaro lies in an endorheic basin, which does not drain to the sea. A watershed area of 929 square kilometers drains into the lake, of which 126.4 are the water body. The Lake Pátzcuaro watershed extends 50 kilometers east-west and 33 kilometers from north to south. Lake Patzcuaro lies at an elevation of 1,920 meters, and is the center of the basin and is surrounded by volcanic mountains with very steep slopes. It has an average depth of 5 meters and a maximum of 11. Its volume is approximately 580 million cubic meters.

The Lake Pátzcuaro basin is of volcanic origin. At times it has been part of an open and continuous hydrological system formed by Lake Cuitzeomarker, Pátzcuaro and Lake Zirahuén, which drained into the Lerma River. Today, like lakes Cuitzeo and Zirahuén, it is a closed basin, although ecologists consider it a sub-basin of the Lerma-Chapala basin.

Wetlands

The lake is surrounded by extensive wetlands. Cattails and other reedy vegetation are the dominant wetland vegetation, in dense stands over 2 meters tall. Typical wetland plant genera include Typha, Scirpus, Heleocharis, and Cyperus. The dominant species of aquatic vegetation are Potamogeton illionoensis, Scirpus pectinatus, tule (Typha latifolia), T. dominguensis, and Nymphaea mexicana.

The wetlands are extremely important for birds, both year-round inhabitants and migrating waterfowl. Close to 200 species inhabit the wetlands, including some endemic species such as the Black-polled Yellowthroat (Geothlypis speciosa). Two native species have not been observed recently; the Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) has not been seen since 1964 and may be locally extinct, and the endemic Slender-billed Grackle (Quiscalus palustris) is presumed extinct. The Lake Patzcuaro Salamander (Ambystoma dumerilii) is endemic to the basin.

The lake and its surrounding wetlands have undergone significant environmental changes over the past 50 years. logging and agriculture in the surrounding watershed have contributed to siltation of the lake (1 cm / year - 1.2 million cubic meters / year), and water diversion for agriculture and urbanization has reduced the size of the lake by 40 square kilometers, and 2.6 meters in depth. Other threats include untreated sewage, the introduction of exotic species, and chemical pollution.

Watershed

In the watershed surrounding the wetlands, the natural terrestrial vegetation is composed of xeric scrub (1920-2100 m. above sea level), pine and oak forests intertwined with xeric scrub (2100-2400 m) and by pure pine-oak forests in the higher peaks (2400-2900 m). The pine-oak forests are part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests ecoregion.

In the last fifty years, human activity in the watershed has intensified. Farming and livestock ranching in the basin have significantly increased. Over 10,000 hectares of forest have been lost to logging, fires, fuelwood gathering, and clearance for farming and ranching.

History

The Lake Pátzcuaro basin is home to the P'urhépecha people. P'urhépecha leaders established the basin as the heartland of the Tarascan state, which rivaled the Aztec Empire before the Spanish conquest. The towns of Ihuatziomarker, Tzintzuntzan and Pátzcuaromarker were important Tarascan centers.

Islands in the lake

  • Jaracuaro, are located in Lake Pátzcuaro.
  • Uranden - Small island. Possible camping?
  • Janitziomarker - Touristic Island
  • Pacanda - The largest flattest island. The small lake on the island it the navel of the world. Cabanas for rent.
  • Yunuen - Small island
  • Tecuena - Island with few people on it.


Major towns along the lake shore

  • Patzcuaromarker - Situated on the southeastern shore of Lake Patzcuaro. Tourists crowd in for Semana Santa, Day of the Dead.
  • Erongaricuaromarker - Historic Purepecha site and now relaxed artist's town.
  • Quiroga - Thriving market town with crafts of varying qualities and busloads of Mexican tourists to buy them.
  • Tzintzuntzan - Market town. Ruins nearby. Day of the dead Festival.


Minor towns along the lake shore



Nearby areas



External links



References

  1. "Descripción de la cuenca", Recuperación Ambiental del Lago de Pátzcuaro". Accessed October 18, 2009. [1]
  2. "Descripción de la cuenca", Recuperación Ambiental del Lago de Pátzcuaro". Accessed October 18, 2009. [2]
  3. "Central Mexican wetlands". World Wildlife Fund scientific report. Accessed October 18, 2009. [3]
  4. "Indicadores del deterioro ambiental", Recuperación Ambiental del Lago de Pátzcuaro". Accessed October 18, 2009. [4]
  5. "Central Mexican wetlands". World Wildlife Fund scientific report. Accessed October 18, 2009. [5]
  6. "Indicadores del deterioro ambiental", Recuperación Ambiental del Lago de Pátzcuaro". Accessed October 18, 2009. [6]



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