IBA McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir
Vulcan, Alberta
Site Summary
AB016 Latitude
50.314° N
112.821° W
850 - 960 m
250.72 km²
native grassland, rivers/streams, freshwater lake, arable & cultivated lands, cliffs/rocky shores (inland)
Land Use:
Agriculture, Fisheries/aquaculture, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation, Water management
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Arable farming, Disturbance, Fisheries, Intensified management, Industrial pollution, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
McGregor Lake and Travers Reservoir are in southern Alberta, approximately 27 km east of the town of Vulcan. In addition to these lakes, the site also includes Little Bow Lake Reservoir and Little Bow Provincial Park. All three bodies of water are reservoirs and form part of the Carseland-Bow River Headworks System; McGregor Lake is part of the Oldman River drainage basin and was created in 1920 by two dams bracketing Snake Lake. None of the lakes have extensive marshy areas but there are mudflats at the north end of McGregor Lake. Native mixed grasslands, badlands, and eroding coulees surround the reservoirs. The underlying bedrock is the Bearpaw and Horseshoe Canyon formations, consisting mostly of sandstone, mudstone and shales. The Low Milk Vetch, a rare plant in Alberta, is found at the site as are Mule and White-tailed deer.
Over 1,050 non-breeding American White Pelicans can be found at McGregor Lake and Little Bow Lake Reservoir in summer (about 1% of the Canadian population). Numbers of non-breeding pelicans seen here are amongst the highest observed in Alberta. Many colonial waterbirds nest on the numerous small islands on the Little Bow Lake Reservoir. The species include: California Gull (195 nests), Ring-billed Gull (47 nests), and Double-crested Cormorant (26 nests). The site is provincially significant for staging geese (>5,000) and breeding Canada Geese. Both ducks and shorebirds stage here at locally significant numbers (2,000 5,000) in spring and fall migration. Away from the lake, species of note are: Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk (nationally vulnerable), Prairie Falcon, Burrowing Owl (nationally endangered), and Long-billed Curlew (nationally vulnerable). Historically, the nationally threatened Peregrine Falcon has nested along the north shore of the western arm of Travers Reservoir.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
These reservoirs are primarily used for supplying water to surrounding areas and for fishing; the surrounding lands are mainly rangeland. McGregor Lake supports a substantial commercial fishery and a sport fishery; the maintenance of these fish species may be important for the pelicans that summer here. Federal boating and provincial sport fishing limits and regulations apply to all three reservoirs.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
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