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The Lake Merritt is a historical wonder of nature in Oakland, California as the first wildlife refuge of the United States was established there in 1870. The lake has approximately five kilometres of walking and jogging area being surrounded by parks and cities. It is often called as tidal lagoon as people believed that the San Francisco Bay affects its tide. But in fact, the Lake Merritt?s tide is independent from tides of connected creeks and bay.

In mid 1800?s, the lake was used as sewer of the neighboring cities because it contained high level of acid which could decompose human waste. When Dr. Samuel Merritt served as Mayor of Oakland, he initiated the effort to clean the lake. The successful lagoon clean up has earned the name of the lake as ?Merritt?s Lake? which later became Lake Merritt.

The civilization grew around the lake and in 1925, the infamous Necklace of Lights was turned on. It is now comprised of 126 lampposts and 3,400 pieces of bulbs.

A lakeside park called Children Fairyland was also built in 1950. And in May 23, 1963, the Lake Merritt Wild Duck Refuge was named as National Historic Landmark. It is currently home to different species of birds depending on the migration pattern and season.

During rainy season, some species that can be seen around are Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, and Canvasback. During dry season, people can observe bird species like Canada Goose and Pelican. There are also some rare and endangered plant species that thrive in Lake Merritt. Some of these are Oakland Star-Tulip, Presidio Clarkia, Most-Beautiful Jewel Flower, Alameda Whipsnake, and Tiburon Buckwheat.
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