Northwest Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan
Primrose Lake is situated in northwest Saskatchewan, within the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range (near the Alberta border). It is a large boreal forest lake that contains several islands. Of these islands, Backes supports a large number of nesting colonial water birds. The Primrose Lake area has a sub-arctic climate. The Calder River flows into the north end of Primrose Lake, and the Martineau River flows out of the south end. Surface runoff from the surrounding boreal plains drains into Primrose Lake.
Between 1976 and 1991 a total of 6 surveys were completed at Backes Island in Primrose Lake to record populations of American White Pelicans, and Double-crested Cormorants. Over this period, an average of 4,922 American White Pelicans was recorded, which represents about 5.6% of the worlds estimated population, and as much as 9.1% of the estimated Canadian population. Over this same period, the average number of Double-crested Cormorants was 714 pairs, which is just under 1% of the estimated interior North American population.
Common Terns and California Gulls are also found on Backes Island in large numbers. Between 100 and 400 Common Tern nests have been recorded; and between 500 and 2000 California Gull nests have been recorded; the latter number being of global significance.
Other colonial water birds that nest on Backes Island include Great Blue Herons (11 to < 30 nests), Ring-billed Gulls (20 to < 500 nests), and Herring Gulls (<50 nests).
The location of this Lake within the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range increases the potential for disturbance from low flying aircraft. However, given the long-standing presence of both the Air Weapons Range, and the colony of nesting birds, it appears that negative effects are minimal. Fire also poses a potential threat to the wooded habitats associated with the lake, although the island should be somewhat protected. Backes Island has been designated as a Provincial Wildlife Refuge.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
|American White Pelican|