|Surface area||5 km2 (1.9 sq mi)|
|Average depth||2 m (6 ft 7 in)|
|Surface elevation||2,200 m (7,200 ft)|
Caohai Lake (Chinese: 草海; pinyin: Cǎo Hǎi, Sea of Grass in Chinese) is a natural water-body situated in the Northwest Guizhou Province, of Southwest China. The lake is situated on the Weining Mountain, at the outskirts of Weining County. Caohai Village lies directly at the edge of the wetland.
The lake's original area was 4,666.2 square kilometres (1,801.6 sq mi). However, as a result of drainage, cultivation and climate changes during the last decades, the lake area has shrunk to only 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi). Its average depth is of 2 m (6 ft 7 in) and its altitude 2,200 m (7,200 ft) above sea level.
Caohai Nature Reserve
Since 1985, the area around the lake constitutes a nature reserve at provincial level, and since 1992, at national level. Cao Hai Nature Reserve is an Important Bird Area. The reserve area is 120 km2 (46 sq mi).
The lake area is the largest and most important wetland of Southwest China, providing wintering place of black-necked cranes, the only plateau crane left in the world. Besides, the lake is also inhabited by 184 bird species, including common cranes, hooded cranes, white storks, black storks, bar-headed geese, golden eagles, eastern imperial eagles, white-tailed sea-eagles and ruddy shelducks.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cao Hai Nature Reserve". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
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