The site of the lakes in the Aube department is comprised of three lakes : the Amance lake, the Temple lake and the Orient lake. Together, their surface is approximately 5,000 hectares. Surrounded by forests, those lakes have been created in 1966 for the latter and during the 1990s for the two others. Their main purpose is to regulate the flow of the Aube and Seine rivers in order to prevent devastating floods in the Paris region. In summer, the lakes are used as suppliers of water, enabling a better navigability for both rivers and improving groundwater recharge.
A very important axis for the waterbirds.
The three lakes are located just on a migration corridor which crosses the damp region of Champagne, a very important axis particularly for the waterbirds. Consequently, they represent first rate stopover or wintering sites for many species between the nesting sites in northern Europe and the wintering areas located in Spain and Africa.
Due to their rôle, the lakes in the Aube department are subject to a specific hydraulic regime. There is an annual « tide » (in fact a massive drop in the water levels), the water receding between July and November and coming back between December and June. Wide mudflats appear by the end of summer, when the first migratory birds, such as shorebirds, arrive.
The lakes and the Common Crane.
The Common crane is seen on the lakes, particularly the Temple lake, where the species form roost sites. Their numbers are far less than those present on the Der lake, located approximately 40 kilometers northeastward. Each year, thousands of cranes make a stopover at the lakes in the Aube department, the record being on 11 Novembre 2014 with 21,000 birds counted that day.
Furthermore, a few thousand of them winter there.