IBA Maple Creek Grasslands
Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
Site Summary
SK041 Latitude
Longitude
49.986° N
109.512° W
Elevation
Size
789 - 888 m
736.56 km²
Habitats:
native grassland, rivers/streams, inland saline lake, freshwater marsh, arable & cultivated lands
Land Use:
Agriculture, Hunting
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Agricultural pollution/pesticides, Arable farming, Drought, Grazing, Other increased mortality
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
This site is located in southwestern Saskatchewan, north and west of Maple Creek along the Alberta border. This region has extensive areas of native mixed-grass prairie. The sandy soils limit agricultural activity in the area, so cattle grazing is the major land use. Bigstick Lake Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (8,151 ha) covers a large portion of this area. Several large saline lakes, such as Hay, Bitter and Many Island Lakes, collect surface drainage from the surrounding uplands. Maple Creek connects Big Stick Lake with the Junction Reservoir.
Birds
Maple Creek is a favoured site for the nationally vulnerable Ferruginous Hawk. Almost 1% (36 nests - half of which are active in any given year) of the estimated Ferruginous Hawk population of Canada has been recorded at this site. Also, 3 burrows of the nationally endangered Burrowing Owl have been recorded at this site. Although no population data are available, reportedly there is a large local population of Long-billed Curlews at this site. Also many grassland songbirds breed in the plentiful habitat.

Great Blue Herons (9 nests) were formally found at Tenaille Lake, although none were found in 1999 surveys. This lake is also used as a staging area for 2,000 to 5,000 ducks.




IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Ferruginous Hawk 1995 OT 36
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
Drought is the most serious and recurrent problem in the region of the IBA. Such conditions may increase salinity in the wetlands influencing the extent to which birds forage. Oil and gas development in the region is also a major threat to habitat in the area.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Bird Studies Canada