IBA Lake Lenore
Lake Lenore, Saskatchewan
Site Summary
SK074 Latitude
52.498° N
104.978° W
526 - 541 m
236.24 km²
sedge/grass meadows, mud or sand flats (saline), inland saline lake, arable & cultivated lands, cliffs/rocky shores (inland)
Land Use:
Agriculture, Nature conservation and research, Hunting, Rangeland/pastureland, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Dykes/dam/barrages, Drought, Drainage of wetlands, Interactions with native species/disease, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Waterfowl Concentrations, Shorebird Concentrations
Conservation status: Migratory Bird Sanctuary (federal), National Wildlife Area (federal), Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (potential)
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Site Description
Lake Lenore is situated in central Saskatchewan, midway between the towns of Lake Lenore and St. Brieux. It is a large, slightly saline lake, with an average depth of 5.2 m. The lake is subject to severe water level fluctuations, due to changes in spring runoff and seasonal rains. Outside of the numerous protected bays, emergent vegetation is limited, due to extensive wave action. Vast mudflats develop along the low relief shorelines of the lake as water levels recede during the summer. A margin of wet or dry sedge meadow and associated fine-stemmed grasses forms a 45 to 180 m wide buffer between the adjacent upland and mudflat or water (depending on the time of year). The surrounding upland consists of native grassland and some cropland.

There are several islands within the lake, the largest of which, Raven Island, was a peninsula until a drainage canal between Lake Lenore and nearby Ranch Lake (also an IBA) was opened in 1973. All previously cultivated lands on Raven Island have been seeded to dense nesting cover.

Lake Lenore is a globally significant site for staging waterbirds. Tremendous concentrations of birds are present, notably 80,000 ducks (mainly Mallards and assorted divers), and 40,000 geese during fall migration. In the summer about 4,000 ducks (mainly Mallard, Canvasback, and Lesser Scaup) use the lake as a moulting area. During periods when good shorebird habitat is available, numbers of shorebirds can be as high as was noted in the spring of 25,000 individuals. However, habitat conditions can and do change annually thus shorebird use will be variable. In 1998/98 water levels were extremely high and suitable shorebird habitat was limited. Another interesting record was the 312 Ruddy Turnstones that were recorded during spring migration in 1972.

Large numbers of Double-crested Cormorants have been documented breeding at the lake over the years, most recently in 1991, when 853 birds were observed. American White Pelicans also breed at the lake in good numbers, with 162 nests counted in 1991. The nationally endangered Piping Plover has been recorded nesting at the lake in small numbers, with a peak of 9 birds counted during the 1991 International Piping Plover census.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Waterbirds 1995 FA 80,000
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
Lake Lenore was designated as a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary on March 9, 1925. Along with Middle and Basin lakes, Lake Lenore has been identified as a potential regional Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site (supports at least 20,000 shorebirds annually). The entire northern quarter of the lake is designated as critical Piping Plover habitat, under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. This act protects the shoreline up to the high water mark from development. Raven Island has been designated as a National Wildlife Area.

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