IBA Lac Deschênes-Ottawa River
Ottawa, Ontario
Site Summary
ON112 Latitude
45.376° N
75.870° W
52 - 115 m
295.75 km²
Abandoned & fallow farmland, disturbed ground, Arable land, Forestry & agro-industrial plantations, Improved pasture land, Perennial crops, orchards & groves, Urban parks & gardens, River-edge (river-island) forest, Second-growth & disturbed forest, Temperate coniferous forest, Temperate mixed forest, Alvar, Riparian scrub & thickets, Second-growth & disturbed scrub, Bogs, Ephemeral wetland, Freshwater lakes & pools, Freshwater marshes & swamps, Riverine floodplains, Rivers, Streams, Water-fringe vegetation
Land Use:
Agriculture, Nature conservation and research, Forestry, Hunting, Military, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Housing and urban areas, Tourism and recreation areas, Mining and quarrying, Roads and railroads, Recreational activities, Work and other activities, Invasive alien species, Domestic and urban waste water, Agricultural and forestry effluents and practices, Garbage and solid waste, Light pollution, Habitat shifting and alteration
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Waterfowl Concentrations, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations
Conservation status: Bird Observatory, Conservation Authority (owned by), IBA Conservation Plan written/being written, Nature Conservancy (owned by), Provincial Park (including Marine)
Restricted access for IBA coordinators
Login name: Password:


View in mobile

Site Description
The Lac Deschênes-Ottawa River IBA, shared nearly equally between Ontario and Quebec, includes a core area of approximately 45 kilometres of the Ottawa River from the Chaudière dam in the east to the Sault-des-Chats Dam near Fitzroy Harbour to the west which covers several key areas where waterbirds congregate. The associated terrestrial and wetland habitats include a large amount of private and public lands that fall under a wide range of use and zoning allowances. Much of the area Iis already recognized to be of high conservation value, including protected areas adjacent to the river and significant wildlife habitat and natural areas identified in the plans of the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission, and the City of Gatineau. Other areas of interest along and adjacent to the river include the large wetland complex along Constance Creek and Constance Lake, Areas of Provincial and Scientific Interest in Ontario, Fitzroy Provincial Park, agricultural land and low-density rural settlements that include grassland habitat supporting species at risk, the protected Breckenridge forests in Quebec, and a large swath of the riparian corridor along the Ottawa River in Gatineau from Parc Brébeuf westward to Lamoureux Parc.
In this IBA, thresholds, be it for an individual species or the "congregatory" category, have been surpassed in most years. Some species have only surpassed a threshold once (e.g. Red-throated Loon), whereas others have eclipsed thresholds several times (e.g. Herring Gull). Brant migrate through the region in spring and fall, and occasionally gather in very large numbers. Canada Goose also can occur in large numbers during spring migration, depending upon the timing of the spring thaw. Other numbers of waterfowl can be very high, especially in the late fall, though usually less than 20,000 individuals. The river also attracts large numbers of gulls, particularly Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull and Great Black-backed Gull. Several small nesting colonies of Ring-billed Gulls occur on some of the islands, along with other less common species including Black-crowned Night-Heron and Great Egret. The river also regularly hosts large congregations of swallows and Chimney Swifts during spring and fall migration. There are many other species that are of conservation interest, such as species at risk and colonial waterbirds that regularly occur (although not in numbers to qualify as trigger species) in the IBA . The riparian forests adjacent to the river teem with migrating landbirds during spring and fall migration.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Acadian Flycatcher 2002 SP 1
Acadian Flycatcher 2007 SU 1
Brant 2011 SP 10,000
Chimney Swift 1990 - 2020 FA 23 - 400
Chimney Swift 1997 - 2020 SP 23 - 500
Chimney Swift 2002 - 2020 SU 23 - 200
Great Black-backed Gull 2002 FA 1,500
Great Black-backed Gull 2002 WI 1,700
Herring Gull 2003 - 2009 FA 5,000 - 8,000
Herring Gull 2008 WI 6,000 - 6,215
Little Gull 2001 - 2014 SP 3 - 8
Little Gull 2014 SU 2
Loggerhead Shrike 2004 - 2009 FA 1 - 9
Loggerhead Shrike 2011 - 2012 SP 1
Loggerhead Shrike 1995 - 2010 SU 1 - 8
Prothonotary Warbler 2017 FA 1
Prothonotary Warbler 1997 - 2007 SP 1
Prothonotary Warbler 2013 SU 1
Red-throated Loon 1985 FA 3,000
Rusty Blackbird 1990 - 2019 FA 24 - 320
Rusty Blackbird 2002 - 2018 SP 25 - 250
Rusty Blackbird 2012 SU 30
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
In 2014, the Lac Deschênes-Ottawa River Important Bird Area Conservation Plan was published in support of the IBA. The planning process identified a large number of threats to the habitats within the IBA and individual species. These threats are mainly associated with the large and growing urban areas and their populations. They include various forms of pollution, disturbance, building encroachment and other human-associated causes of avian mortality such as domestic cats. There are increasing demands on the river for recreation from pleasure-boaters, kites, kayakers, surfers and wake-boarders, etc., that potentially could make sections of the river less attractive for congregating species. Contaminants from both urban applications and agriculture could undermine invertebrate life in the river and lower its high productivity that makes it so attractive to aerial insectivores. Fortunately there are several groups working to protect and manage the river in a sustainable way, and the various levels of government at all levels and in both provinces, have taken steps to protecting the river corridor.

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