CA496
Galloway and Miry Bay


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Galloway and Miry Bays are located at the west end of Lake Diefenbaker about 20 km north of Cabri. Miry Bay is located on the west side of the lake at the southern end of the IBA. It was formed when the rising waters of the reservoir drowned the mouth of Miry Creek. Galloway Bay is on the east side of the lake, about 5 km farther north. Depending on the water level, the site also includes numerous islands and sandbars that extend to the north end of Lake Diefenbaker.

Key biodiversity
Galloway and Miry Bays are the most significant staging areas for Greater White-fronted Geese in the Canadian Prairies. On average, the number of geese recorded here during annual fall surveys is about 294,000 birds, or about 38% of the average estimated fall flight of the mid-continent Greater White-fronted Goose population. In 1995, 748,000 geese were recorded (about 68% of the estimated 1995 fall flight of 1.1 million geese). The Greater White-fronted Geese generally leave Miry and Galloway Bays by early October and are replaced by mixed flocks of Snow Geese and Ross? Geese numbering 25,000 or more. Large numbers of Canada Geese are also occasionally present with about 85,000 being recorded in late September 1991. The numbers of geese at this site fluctuate depending on the availability of alternate staging areas. During dry years, the numbers of geese using this site are much, much larger (see comments under the conservation issues section).

Globally significant numbers of Sandhill Cranes are also recorded at this site. Totals of 63,000 in 1991 and 78,000 in 199? were recorded. The average of 70,500 is about 10.8% of the estimated global Sandhill Crane population, while the 1991 total is 12%.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Lake Diefenbaker was formed in 1958 by dams on the South Saskatchewan river at Cutbank and on the Qu' Appelle River near Elbow. The waters of the reservoir are drawn down gradually to generate electricity. Although the reservoir is replenished to a large extent by the spring freshet from the plains, its main source is mountain runoff which arrives in June. Water levels are therefore subject to great intra- and inter-year variations depending on the relative amounts of runoff from these two sources. Because of the low topography, fluctuating water levels result in great variations in the availability and locations of the areas used for staging. When the water is low, staging birds use the large sandbars that characterize the entire reach; during high water the birds are restricted to Galloway and Miry Bays. Under the current water management regime there are no primary threats to the staging area.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Galloway and Miry Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019.