LAKE HOVSGOL NATIONAL PARK

Lake Hovsgol National Park is located in north central Mongolia along the Russia/Mongolia border.  Following a boundary expansion in 2011, the park covers approximately 1.2 million hectares and includes the entire Lake Hovsgol watershed, the source of the Eg River, and to the east the upper headwaters of the Uur River, a tributary of the Eg. The Eg and Uur rivers, near their confluence, are home to the world’s largest fresh water trout, Hucho Taimen. The taimen population is threatened throughout its native range and classified as endangered on the Mongolian Red List.

Lake Hovsgol has an elevation of 1645 meters (5397 feet) and is the only ancient lake completely surrounded by permafrost. The landscape is a vast area of interconnecting ecosystems that cascade down from high mountains west of the Lake through tundra, alpine and taiga forests, mountain steppe, streams, wetlands, and ponds, to the 2770 km2(1070 square mile) lake below. The Lake’s shoreline is 414 km (257 miles) and is surrounded by old growth Siberian larch, typical of the original taiga forest. Lake Hovsgol is over 2 million years old and is the 16th largest lake in the world by volume, holding 70% of Mongolia’s freshwater and nearly 1% of the earth’s freshwater. The Lake yields a significant volume of water via the Eg and Selenge Rivers to Lake Baikal in Russia. The productivity of the lake is very low and more comparable to an ocean than other lakes, but contains several endemic aquatic species.

There are 68 species of mammals identified in the Hovsgol area: most originate from the Siberian boreal forest and the cold temperate regions.  The species listed as rare or endangered in Mongolia’s Red Book (Shirevdamba, 1998) include the following: Argali sheep, ibex, elk, reindeer, musk deer, brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, wolf, moose, Siberian mole, and occasional sightings of foot prints of snow leopards in the Hor’dol Sar’dag and Sayan Mountains adjacent to the Lake. Plants listed in the Hovsgol Basin listed in the Red Book number 22. Bird species in the park are numerous and exist in four different habitats. The alpine tundra hosts rock ptarmigan, altai snowcock, and Himalayan accentor. The western mountain taiga supports the wood grouse, hazel grouse and the black woodpecker. The forest-steppe and steppe in the south are mostly inhabited by the Mongolian and steppe larks, tawny pipit, lesser kestrel, hoopoe, upland buzzard, Daurian partridge, steppe eagle and great bustard. Wetlands and lakes are characterized by the common and black headed gull, numerous duck species, ruddy shell duck, cormorant, whooper swan, many shorebirds, northern lapwing, white tailed sea eagle and osprey.

The above is taken largely from Dr. Clyde F. Goulden’s 2006 draft World Heritage Site nomination.