The site consists of a dual system of waterbodies situated 95 km south-west of Astana and approximately 45 km to the south of Korgalzhyn village. It represents the terminal fragment of the distinct group of lakes running south-west in a long chain parallel to the course of the Nura river and about 30 km distant from it.
The salty lakes form part of the eastern periphery of the major Tengiz lake system. Karasor and Tuzaschy lakes are the first lakes in the long chain of waterbodyies running north-east from the area lying to the south of Tengiz lake. The landscape of the whole area is a very gently rolling plain with herbage-grass associations corresponding to areas intermediate between proper steppe and semi-desert. The lakes have a high salinity and only feeble reed growth. A considerable portion of the depressions containing the lakes contain salt-marshes or alkaline plots.
Given its open nature and abundance of shallows, the lakes are ideal for intermediary staging of most common waterfowl species and many species of north-breeding waders. In autumn the most numerous ducks are Anas strepera, Anas crecca, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas penelope, Anas clypeata and Netta rufina.
Non-bird biodiversity: Due to the high salinity of the lakes reed growth is patchy and thin. On the outskirts of the lake system, as well as in the immediate proximity of the shores, a few plots of steppic landscape remain, severely deteriorated in most places by intensive grazing, but still featuring the remnants of rich-herbage-motley-turf-grass associations.
Habitat and land use
Because of the high salinity rural economic activity in the vicinities of the lakes is insignificant: the land adjacent to the lakes used for grazing. The lakes are assigned to a hunting society and hunting occur on an intensive scale, often with infringements of the rules.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site’s ecosystems are subject to the set of hazards common to all steppe lake systems in agriculturally exploited areas. Negative factors include fires and overgrazing resulting, in most cases, from a scarcity of suitable grazing areas.