The Sandy Bay marshes are located along the west shore of Lake Manitoba, and extend from east of the town of Amaranth southward for almost 25 km to Big Point. The marshes are within three distinct basins that are relatively well protected from the strong winds of the south basin of Lake Manitoba by barrier beaches. There are channels of water that connect the sheltered marshes to the main body of the lake.
This location has a long history of utilization by Western Grebes. In 1979, 300 adults were surveyed in breeding season, although this may be a partial survey. In 1986, 500 to 1,000 nests of this species were recorded (500 nests is national significant; 600 nests would be globally significant) . In 1998, large congregations of 1,000 to 1,500 adults were observed in June and July. Many of these birds subsequently had young. A detailed study of the nesting grebes in this area has never been made.
The Sandy Bay site is mainly used for fishing and hunting. Both of these activities could cause disturbance to the Western Grebes during breeding season, and over-fishing could potentially cause an decrease in productivity within the colony. Artificial lake level regulation is of concern at this site as is the direct loss of marsh habitat through development.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status