Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Last Mountain Lake

Country: Canada

Region: Saskatchewan,

Nearest city/town: Regina

Site: Last Mountain Lake

Species/Sub-species: REKN-rufa

Total biogeographic population: 42,000

Count Method: Maximum day count

Count: 2,4002

% biogeographic pop. at site: 5.95

Season (primarily): Spring

Site recognition: WHSRN Ramsar IBA

Site recognition (other): National Wildlife Area

Site description: Using the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the site habitat characteristics are wetland (inland), lakes (inland wetlands: Type Q - permanent and seasonal brackish, saline or alkaline flats and marshes and Type Ts - seasonal freshwater ponds and marshes. The National Wildlife Area (NWA) and Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) are situated at the northern end of Last Mountain Lake and are comprised of shallow marshy bays and inlets separated by points and numerous islands. The surrounding uplands contain potholes and other fresh and saline wetlands, some with water levels held artificially high by low dams. The site is owned by the Government of Canada. The area is managed for the conservation of migratory birds, their habitats, and for other wildlife species, and to help reduce crop damage of cereal grain by influencing the local distribution of waterfowl. The site serves as a refuge for waterbirds in drought years. Boating and recreational fishing are permitted with public access restricted in August and September to minimize disturbance of birds feeding on lure crops. The area was first set aside in 1887 as a federal sanctuary for birds and has been administered as a National Wildlife Area since 1994. The area is protected under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations which stem from the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the National Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. Intensive research programs have been conducted since 1959 by the Canadian Wildlife Service in cooperation with the Universities of Saskatchewan, Regina, and Alberta and the Province of Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Wildlife and Fisheries departments have conducted studies since the 1950s. Extensive research programs continued in 2016 in this area with a number of cooperators1.

Notes: Site boundaries follow the WHSRN boundaries. Last Mountain Lake is part of the Upper Qu'Appelle River system in south-central Saskatchewan, 150 km south-east of Saskatoon and 100 km north-west of Regina1. Last Mountain Lake was recognized as a key site under the International Biological Program in the 1970s; a Ramsar site in 1982; a National Historic Site in 1990; a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve in 1994, and most recently, designated under the Important Birds Areas Program of Canada.

Sources: 1 2Lahrman, F.W. 1972. Unusually large flock of Knots and Ruddy Turnstones feeding in stubble field. Blue Jay 30: 226.