It's an environmental mystery: A 64-square-mile lake is drying up, and no one knows exactly why.
Lake Abert, a remote saltwater lake in Oregon's high desert, is disappearing, killing one of the only creatures hearty enough to tolerate its severely salty water, the tiny brine shrimp.
Worried scientists say drought doesn't explain it. They think area ranches and a state-funded fish restoration project may be responsible. They sought state help to study the lake, only to be turned away.
The scientists contend the isolated lake, 30 miles from the closest city, has been forgotten, or purposely ignored, by state officials hoping to avoid another fight like the decades-long conflict over scarce water two hours west in the Klamath Basin.
The saltwater lake has dropped to a low not seen since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, killing brine shrimp, forcing migratory birds to find another stop and exposing the lakebed's alkali dust, a pollution source, to the dry gusts that sweep through the Great Basin.
As the lake declines, the scientists fear that Lake Abert will completely dry up without anyone helping.
Read our in-depth investigation to learn more about what's happening at Lake Abert -- and about the roadblocks the scientists say the state has put up.
-- Rob Davis