IBA Cardinal Lake
Peace River, Alberta
Site Summary
AB058 Latitude
56.242° N
117.731° W
643 - 646 m
94.41 km²
deciduous woods (temperate), mixed woods (temperate), freshwater lake, freshwater marsh, arable & cultivated lands, urban parks/gardens, improved pastureland
Land Use:
Agriculture, Hunting, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Hunting, Intensified management, Interactions with native species/disease, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Waterfowl Concentrations
Conservation status: Ducks Unlimited Canada (owned by), Provincial Park (including Marine)
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Site Description
This site is located 20 kilometres west of the town of Peace River, and six kilometres northwest of Grimshaw in northern Alberta. There is a well-developed road system around the lake, and the southeast corner of Cardinal Lake is part of Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park.

A large portion of the land surrounding the lake is used for agriculture, but there are some small freshwater marshes. Mixed wood forests are also found in the area.

Cardinal Lake is host to more than 20,000 ducks during fall migration. Thus, this site is a globally significant site for staging and moulting ducks.

In addition to ducks, Cardinal Lake is also an important staging area for Canada, Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese, and Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. Locally significant numbers of non-breeding Red-necked and Western Grebes also occur at this site, and Bald Eagles commonly nest in the area.

Nesting species present during inventories from July, 2000, include 1,190 nests of Eared Grebes, 15 nests of of Western Grebe, and 1,530, 100 and 150 pairs of Franklins, Ring-billed and California Gulls, respectively. These totals are conservative estimates considering many of the nests were in thick bullrush beds so were inaccessible by airboat and difficult to see otherwise.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Barrow's Goldeneye 2010 FA 2,000
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
There has been extensive clearing of land around Cardinal Lake for annual cultivation. However, some land is managed for upland nesting ducks and delayed haying by Alberta Environment Natural Resources Service (Fish and Wildlife). Ducks Unlimited Canada own part of the land and north shoreline, and manage it for upland nest cover. There is a crop damage control waterfowl bait station on the north end of the lake. This lake is considered a key staging wetland by NAWMP (North American Waterfowl Management Plan).

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.
   © Birds Canada