Grand Rapids, Manitoba
The Gull Bay Spits, located in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg, are about 30 km to the southeast of the town of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. They are attached to the south side of Long Point, at its extreme southwest corner, and they extend out into the Gull Bay portion of Lake Winnipeg. There are two spits in total, the north spit and the south spit. The base of the north spit has been covered in water, thereby creating an island.
The Gull Bay Spits host breeding Piping Plovers, an endangered species in Canada. In June of 1991, a total of 38 Piping Plovers were recorded during the International Piping Plover Breeding Census. Five years later, in 1996, a total of 17 birds were detected in the same area. The average of these years is nationally significant (1.5% of the Canadian prairie Piping Plover population). Also, these spits are heavily utilized by staging and migrating gulls and waterfowl.
One of the threats to the endangered Piping Plover is the disturbance of their habitat or their nests and eggs. Although this beach is fairly isolated, there is always the potential of too much human activity leading to decreasing reproductivity of birds nesting on the beach. The plovers are also affected by high water levels and wind storms. This is especially so because Manitoba Hydro keeps Lake Winnipeg water levels high. Presently, the area is being proposed for a National Park, thereby providing some forms of protection.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status