Shenango Reservoir (also known as Shenango Lake) is a long, narrrow body of water bisecting the western half of Mercer County. It was built as a federal flood control project and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The reservoir is fed by Pymatuning Creek, which originates in Ohio, and Big Run; it empties into the Shenango River and ultimately into the Ohio. The entire project area includes over 15,000 acres of land, portions of which are managed by the Game Commission, but only the reservoir itself is included as an IBA. The Army Corps maintains a visitors' center, camping facilities, and trails. The Southeast portion of the lake is the best area for observing shorebirds.

Directions: US 62 E from Sharon to SR 18 N to lake. Follow signs to various areas.

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Ornithological Summary

Water drawdowns in late summer and autumn provide many acres of shallow mudflats, making this one of the most productive migratory stopovers for shorebirds in western Pennsylvania. As many as 30 species of shorebirds occur from July through October, and numbers peak in early to mid-August at up to 2,000. Great Egrets gather in the fall (15+) and Bald Eagle and Osprey regularly occur. Regionally important area for waterfowl in migration and winter. Also noteworthy are frequently large flocks of American Pipit (200+).

Conservation Issues

Because water levels are managed for flood control, the major issue for birds is management of the water levels to maintain suitable mudflat habitat. Suitable water drawdowns have occurred in most, but not all, years. Recreational overuse / human disturbance and dumping are potential threats.

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