Proven Lake Wildlife Management Area is located in southcentral Manitoba, south of Riding Mountain National Park and near the town of Erickson. The lake, which contains a few wooded islands, is shallow with a predominantly peat bottom. It has extensive beds of the invasive reed Phragmites, which often extend as much as 3 metres above the water level. The rolling lands that surround the lake are used for a variety of purposes, from cultivation for cereal grain and canola production, to cattle ranching. There are also large patches of aspen woods nearby.
Black-crowned Night Herons have a history of usage of the site. In a 1966 survey, over 300 nests were observed, while 200 nests were reported almost 30 years later in 1995. This colony represents 4% of the estimated Canadian population for this species.
Other species found nesting at Proven Lake include large numbers of Eared Grebes (150 nests in 1996), and Franklins Gulls (800 nests in 1966), as well as Great Blue Heron and American Bittern. Also, records from the 1970s show that up to 8,800 American Coots, and several thousand Mallards have been seen on the lake in early fall.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
In natural areas surrounded by agricultural fields, modern agricultural practices, such as the use of herbicides and pesticides, can have detrimental effects on wildlife. The conversion of natural areas to agricultural lands also changes the amount of habitat available for wildlife, and can affect the functioning of the remaining natural areas. Marsh and wetland areas can dry up when too much water is diverted for agricultural irrigation or other purposes. These considerations exist as potential threats to the viability of this site as a significant habitat for a variety of nesting bird species and other wildlife.
Fortunately, Proven Lake was established as a Wildlife Management Area by the Government of Manitoba in 1986, and is thus afforded partial protection under this designation (the land is protected from being sold and only limited agricultural activity is permitted). It is also categorized as a Heritage Marsh by the province and Ducks Unlimited has managed the water levels since 1981.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Proven Lake WMA. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/04/2021.