IBA Fife Lake
Rockglen, Saskatchewan
Site Summary
SK021 Latitude
49.240° N
105.868° W
800 - 823 m
81.34 km²
native grassland, freshwater lake, freshwater marsh, mud or sand flats (freshwater), arable & cultivated lands
Land Use:
Agriculture, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Disturbance, Drought
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
Fife Lake is a permanent prairie lake, located near the town of Rockglen, in south-central Saskatchewan. The lake is used by a variety of waterbirds, while the wide beach supports a large Piping Plover population. Although there are some eroded badlands in the vicinity, nearly all of the immediate surrounding area has been cultivated for agriculture. Several intermittent creeks drain into this lake from the surrounding plain. Fife Lake is also used for recreational purposes, as Rockin Beach Regional Park is located at the south end of the lake.
Fife Lake is a significant nesting area for the globally vulnerable (nationally endangered) Piping Plover. The 1991 International census recorded 9 pairs of nesting Piping Plovers and 29 birds in total. During the 1996 census, this number increased to 13 pairs of nesting Piping Plovers and 53 birds in total. Surveys were also completed in 1986, although lower numbers were recorded. The average for these 3 surveys was 30 Piping Plovers. This represents about 1.8% of the Canadian Northern Great Plains population, while the 1996 census results could represent as much as 3.1% of this population and 1.6% of the total Northern Great Plains population. Another nationally endangered species, the Burrowing Owl, also nests in the landscape surrounding this site. At least three breeding sites are known, which could support 1% of the national population.

The lake is also identified by the Canadian Wildlife Service as being regionally significant for a number of other waterbirds. These species include nesting Western Grebes (300 birds 200 adults and 100 young), Eared Grebes (100 birds 80 adults and 20 young), and Black-crowned Night-Heron (50 were present in July 1980, which suggests a breeding colony in the local area).

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Piping Plover 1991 - 2011 SU 26 - 53
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 entire lake basin has been designated as critical Piping Plover habitat under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. This designation protects the shoreline to the high water mark from development. Critical Piping Plover habitat is defined as areas used by one or more pairs of Piping Plovers where there is a reasonable expectation of repeat use.

Drought, caused by low spring runoff and lack of seasonal rains, is a major threat to the nesting Piping Plovers, and other waterbirds. The proximity of the regional park to the nesting areas is also a potential source of disturbance.

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