The Upper Cow Lake and Lower Cow Lake are located in Malheur
County in Southeast Oregon, approximately 15 miles
west-northwest of Jordon Valley. These are flat, playa lakes,
that were formed when the Jordon Craters lava flow blocked
stream flows. The area contains large areas of open water and
emergent vegetation. Exposed mudflats are present in late
summer. Large numbers of moist soil dependent plants are
present. This cluster of lakes and marshes regularly has several
thousand waterfowl and over 100 shorebirds in season (Marty St.
Louis pers. comm.).
In addition, several dozen pairs of Black-crowned Night-Herons breed in dense marshes in the Batch L. complex near Cow Lakes (Contreras and Kindschy 1996). The Cow Lakes area is also considered important as a Shrub-Steppe Bird Conservation Area (Altman and Holmes 2000). Conservation Issues Enforcement of existing land use policies on BLM land may be inadequate: too many cattle too long, ORV use is high. Exotic plants are common at this site.