IBA Cecil Lake
Fort St. John, British Columbia
Site Summary
BC238 Latitude
56.399° N
120.525° W
0 m
4.40 km²
freshwater lake
Land Use:
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Disturbance
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
Restricted access for IBA coordinators
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Site Description
Cecil Lake is a moderate-sized lake located in the Peace River region of northeastern British Columbia. The town of Fort St. John lies about 17 kilometres to the southwest and the community of Cecil Lake is situated just to the south of the lake. The lake is surrounded by predominately agricultural land, where grain, oil seed, grass seed and forage are grown. Some of the land is pastureland, while almost half remains as shrub and forest.
Cecil Lake supports nationally significant numbers of breeding Eared Grebes. Based on most estimates, there were thought to be 1,000 breeding pairs of Eared Grebes at Cecil Lake throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This represents over 1% of this species Canadian population. The size of the colony has fluctuated, and in some years there may have been as many as 3,000 breeding pairs, but this is unsubstantiated.

At least two pairs of nesting Trumpeter Swans are found on the lake each year, along with many ducks, geese, coots and other waterbirds. During years of low water levels the exposed organic soil attracts thousands of shorebirds.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Rusty Blackbird 2018 FA 23
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
Pesticide runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas is a potential threat to Cecil Lake. Disturbance (from gasfield workers) during the nesting season may also negatively affect nesting success in the colony.

Ducks Unlimited Canada constructed nesting islands on the lake that were made of earth. A third of the land immediately surrounding the lake is a wildlife reserve under the jurisdiction of the BC Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks, while the rest is privately owned. The lake outlet lies on private land and is not secure from alteration. The lake receives runoff from a small drainage area and undergoes annual water level fluctuations.

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