Central Washington's Artesian and Black Lakes lie on a 1,800-acre property owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, northeast of the city of Moses Lake. Artesian and Black Lakes are part of a chain of wetlands, lakes, and reservoirs located along an important migration corridor for waterfowl and other birds in the heart of the Columbia River Basin. A 2013 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife waterfowl survey counted nearly 225,000 waterfowl utilizing the lakes in this region.
Artesian and Black Lakes once held water throughout the year, but they are now dry or holding minimal amounts of water for more than 10 months of the year. Consequently, these lakes can no longer function as healthy waterfowl and shorebird habitats. Under an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation and the local irrigation districts, the lakes' rehydration will ensure long-term benefits for several species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife.
Ducks Unlimited has begun topographical work and completed half of the design plans to bring water back to Artesian and Black Lakes. Following pipeline alignment and lake bed testing, DU will complete the final design with the help of specialized engineering consultants. Construction will likely begin in late 2015.