|Location||Grand Cape Mount County|
|Primary inflows||various rivers|
|Primary outflows||inlet to the Atlantic Ocean|
|Max. length||19 mi (31 km)|
|Max. width||10 mi (16 km)|
|Surface area||103 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|Islands||several (Massatin Island)|
Lake Piso, also known as Lake Pisu and Fisherman's Lake, is an oblong tidal lagoon in Grand Cape Mount County in western Liberia, near the town of Robertsport. At an area of 103 km2 (40 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Liberia. Its name originates from a local term meaning "pigeon's hole" – a reference to the flocks of pigeons that once came to Lake Piso for water.
Hydrology and geology
The brackish water lake borders the Cape Mount peninsula, and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a narrow inlet known locally as the "bar mouth". Various rivers empty into Lake Piso, including Mole Creek and Mafa River, which discharges at the 'bar mouth'. There are a number of islands in the lake, including Massatin Island, which offered a haven for monkeys and birds species, it also served as temporary refuge for some Liberians during the Liberian Civil War.
Lake Piso overflowed its banks at least twice in 1998, causing heavy flooding in Garwular District. Flooding in August 1998 occurred due to a blockage of the narrow inlet connecting the lake to the Atlantic Ocean, damaging some homes. Additional flooding in September and October, brought about by heavy rains, affected over twenty settlements, causing at least ten deaths, leaving thousands homeless, and forcing others to leave their homes. The floods led the government of Liberia to declare the area a "disaster zone".
On December 13–14, 2002, the Papa Friends 2000 capsized in Lake Piso, at the confluence of the lake and Mafa River. The overcrowded wooden ferry was transporting approximately 200 passengers, most returning from the funeral of a local footballer. Only 15 people were rescued; the rest drowned and were recovered or presumed dead.
A nature reserve was designated near Lake Piso in 1999 and, as of 2004, the Lake Piso wetlands, covering an area of 76,091 ha (761 km2), were Liberia's only designated wetland of international importance.
Human activity in Lake Piso includes fishing and water sports such as swimming, canoeing and water skiing. Prior to the outbreak of the First Liberian Civil War, the lagoon was a popular travel destination for tourists.
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