Kutawagan Lake

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description (baseline)
Kutawagan Lake is located approximately 20 kilometres northeast of Nokomis in southcentral Saskatchewan. The lake is a saline prairie lake with an irregular shoreline that is divided into three basins. Several dykes exist on this lake to aid in maintaining water levels. There are wider beaches on the southwest basin. A large Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration pasture encompasses much of the area around the lake. Intermittent creeks and local drainage feed this lake; a number of these creeks drain the northern portion of the Strasbourg Plain into the lake.

Key biodiversity
Kutawagan Lake is an important site for moulting ducks in late summer. As many as 14,293 ducks of various species have been tallied here during that time; of these 3,348 were Northern Pintail. Later and earlier in the year, in spring and fall, a minimum of 5,000 ducks and 1,000 geese are found on the lake. Tundra Swans are also present annually with as many as 400 birds present during spring migration, while in fall, 2,791 Greater White-fronted Goose have been counted.

As well as waterfowl, shorebirds, and large numbers of Sandhill Cranes use the lake during migration periods. The most notable species is the Least Sandpiper, which has been recorded in numbers as high as 1,000 in the spring. A minimum of 5,000 shorebirds regularly use the lake in migration. The Northern Great Plains population of the Piping Plover nested at this lake in the 1990 and 1991 seasons, with an average of 6 birds for the two years. At present, there is suitable plover habitat on the wide beaches along the southwest basin of the lake. A colony of Eared Grebes, of unknown size, nests on the lake. The surrounding pasture lands provide habitat for upland nesting ducks and grassland songbirds.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The entire northeast basin, the east portion of the middle basin, and a polygon in the southwest basin are protected from development under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. This lake has been identified as a candidate area under the International Biological Programme (14,475 ha).

Drought is an important phenomenon affecting intermittent lakes such as Kutawagan Lake. Pesticides that are being used in the surrounding agricultural areas could also be a problem.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kutawagan Lake. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023.