IBA Miquelon Lake
Hay Lakes, Alberta
Site Summary
AB071 Latitude
53.253° N
112.894° W
765 - 800 m
30.38 km²
deciduous woods (temperate), freshwater lake, inland saline lake, mud or sand flats (freshwater), arable & cultivated lands, urban parks/gardens, improved pastureland
Land Use:
Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Arable farming, Disturbance, Deforestation, Grazing, Intensified management, Interactions with native species/disease, Industrial pollution, Other increased mortality, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations
Conservation status: Migratory Bird Sanctuary (provincial), Provincial Park (including Marine)
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Site Description
Miquelon Lake is located 11 km east-northeast of the town of Hay Lakes and 20 km north of the city of Camrose. There is well developed road access, especially at the southern and eastern sides where Miquelon Lake Provincial Park is located. Collectively known as Miquelon Lake, the lake consists of three separate lake basins that are not likely to form a single large basin again in the future. The lakes are shallow and saline, with maximum depths of 6 m, extensive emergent vegetation, and exposed mudflats. The surrounding lands include upland aspen habitats, a golf course in the northeastern corner of the lake, and a correctional institution and sewage ponds in the southeastern portions. The terrain is rolling and is underlain by the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, consisting mostly of sandstone, mudstone, shale and ironstone.
Two gull species breed at Miquelon Lake in significant numbers. Almost 2,000 California Gull nests were recently counted at the lake (1% of the global population). Ring-billed Gulls breed in even larger numbers, with 9,925 nests, which is just over 1% of the national population. In 1976, both species bred in similar numbers, with 1,848 nests of California and 10,087 nests of Ring-billed being recorded.

Another species of note is the Piping Plover, which is nationally endangered. Although one bird was recorded in 1996, none were recorded throughout most of the 1990s. In previous years between one and four adults were recorded. In spring and fall migration over 5,000 staging ducks congregate regularly on the lake. Shorebirds also utilize the lake during migration, with a record of over 3,000 Sanderlings and over 2,000 Red-necked Phalaropes seen in May, 1971. A pair of Great Gray Owls nested in 1972, and small numbers of Canada Geese breed here.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
American Wigeon 2012 FA 100,000
Ring-billed Gull 1985 OT 19,850
Ring-billed Gull 1976 SU 20,174
Sanderling 1971 SP 3,000
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
The primary uses of the Miquelon Lake area include livestock pasturing and recreation. High recreational use, especially boats and off road vehicles, could potentially disturb the nesting gulls, as well as other wetland species. The entire area overlies the Joarcam oil field and most of the area is occupied by PNG (Petroleum and Natural Gas) leases. There are currently twelve well sites within the area. Avian botulism was reported at the lake in 1986, but the deaths could also be attributed to toxic blue-green algae; otherwise, there are no other reports of botulism for these lakes. The sewage lagoons adjacent to the southeastern corner of the lake may affect groundwater, while extensive livestock grazing is also a potential problem.

Roughly 65% of the land portion is Crown land, the rest being privately held. The lake is designated as a Provincial Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Boats are restricted to a 12 km/hour maximum speed limit in the park area and all boats are prohibited in certain waterfowl nesting locations and along the beach.

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