IBA Ewing and Erskine Lakes
Stettler, Alberta
Site Summary
AB034 Latitude
52.250° N
112.883° W
800 - 855 m
171.69 km²
deciduous woods (temperate), native grassland, freshwater lake, inland saline lake, freshwater marsh, arable & cultivated lands
Land Use:
Agriculture, Nature conservation and research, Rangeland/pastureland
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Disturbance, Dredging/canalization, Drought, Grazing, Intensified management
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Waterfowl Concentrations
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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Site Description
The Ewing and Erskine lakes IBA site is located in the east-central portion of Alberta. The nearest town is Stettler, which is approximately 10 km east of Erskine Lake and 20 km southwest of Ewing Lake. The site also includes some smaller lakes including Grose and Postill lakes, and Shuckburgh Slough. The site is a series of discontinuous wetlands and adjacent parkland and grassland within a largely cultivated landscape. Most of these wetlands have extensive emergent vegetation, mostly bulrushes. Ewing Lake is a terminal wetland, is somewhat alkaline, and has a tendency to dry up even when water levels are high.
During fall migration, Ewing and Erskine lakes are an important site for staging ducks. Both Erskine and Ewing lakes have had over 20,000 ducks each during the 1980s. Ducks Unlimited therefore consider both lakes to be critical moulting and staging wetlands for ducks. Postill Lake is a good breeding area for diving ducks, as it is fairly fresh with bulrush and cattail vegetation. Over 30 pairs of Canada Geese nest on Erskine Lake annually. The area is generally productive for a variety of marsh birds and is also important shorebird staging habitat. Ewing Lake was surveyed for Piping Plover in 1986 but no birds were found.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Number Year Month Day Season A4i/ii B4i/ii/iii A1 B1 C1 Reference
Waterbirds 40,000 1985 10 1 FA 20,000 Poston et al. 1990
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
Most of the land surrounding Ewing and Erskine lakes is used for agriculture. Concerns over waterfowl feeding in fields led to the establishment of a Crop Damage Control waterfowl feeding station at West Erskine Lake. Threats to the area include an increase in agriculture, which will reduce the amount of valuable habitat for a variety of bird species. Drought and diversion of the water will also have negative effects on the shoreline habitat and lakes, especially considering Ewing Lake already has a tendency to dry up during periods of drought. At present the area has no protective status.

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.
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