Dryboro and Burn lakes are located 5 km west of Ormiston, Saskatchewan in the Missouri Coteau region. They are part of a larger complex of connected intermittent saline lakes surrounded by hilly terrain. The uplands are mainly used for cattle grazing, but some land is used for the growing of crops. This hummocky morainal terrain varies from gently to steeply sloping and supports communities of native vegetation typical of a semi-arid region.
The Piping Plover is considered vulnerable on a global scale and has been designated as endangered in Canada. The 1996 International Piping Plover Survey recorded 1,687 birds in the Canadian Prairies and 4,226 additional birds throughout North America. Twenty-four plovers (1.4% of the Canadian prairie population) nested along the shores of Dryboro Lake and Burn Lake in 1996, making this an important breeding location. The numbers of breeding plovers were lower during a 1991 survey, at which time only 9 individuals were recorded.
Also, the native prairie surrounding the lakes provides plentiful habitat for grassland birds that probably include Bairds Sparrow, Spragues Pipit (nationally vulnerable) Chestnut-collared Longspur, Clay-colored Sparrow and Horned Lark.
The entire complex is designated as critical Piping Plover habitat (used by one or more pairs of plovers with a reasonable expectation of repeat use). This designation protects the shoreline to the high water mark from development under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act.
In recent years, drought due to a lack of water inflow from intermittent creeks has resulted in increased salinity levels. The relationships between drought and Piping Plover productivity are unclear, since it appears that high salinity levels keep beach vegetation to a minimum, a situation that the plovers prefer, while the lower water levels that come with drought may be less preferable. The surrounding uplands consist of a federal PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) pasture and are unlikely to be cultivated, although over-grazing and contamination from pesticides are potential threats.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
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