USAID Oasis Project on Course to Restore Aral Sea Ecosystem

The U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan has announced that from 12 – 16 April, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will visit the Oasis project on the former shores of the Aral Sea in the Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan.

Launched in 2021, the Oasis is integral to Environmental Restoration of the Aral Sea Activity (ERAS-I); a larger initiative spawned by USAID in cooperation with the Executive Directorate of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

Comprising a 500-hectare demonstration site for testing black saxaul shrubs, the project represents a first step in restoring the local ecosystem and demonstrates the willingness of governments, NGOs, and local communities to collaborate on building resilience against environmental threats to Central Asia.

In advance of the expedition to commemorate the project’s success and celebrate the efforts of those who contributed to its realization, U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Daniel Rosenblum, stated:
“The testing and research at the Oasis will benefit not only Kazakhstan communities in this region, but will also inform ecosystem restoration efforts throughout the Aral Sea region. Working together with national and international partners, we are proud to be part of this mission to find collaborative solutions to build climate resilience in Central Asia.”

The Aral Sea disaster is one of the worst ecological catastrophes in human history. Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world, the Aral Sea began shrinking in the 1960s when water from the rivers that fed it was redirected for agricultural irrigation. Today, the Aral Sea is only 10% full. The subsequent birth of the Aralkum Desert and the sand and dust storms rising from the world’s newest desert have both polluted the environment and severely affected the health in local communities.


Times of Central Asia