Site description (2001 baseline):
Hundreds of staging Trumpeter and Tundra swans are found on many lakes within the site, but Bear, Clairmont, Saskatoon, Valhalla, Gummer, Lac La Glace and Wilken lakes hold the largest numbers. In the autumn, usually sometime between early October and early November, mixed flocks of between 800 and 1,000 swans are recorded. Up to 309 Trumpeters have been recorded in one year (Valhalla Lake, Nov 8, 1998). Using the peak numbers recorded in the years between 1996 and 1998, an average of 237 Trumpeter Swans were seen. This represents over 1% of the estimated global population of Trumpeter Swans, and about 7% of the Rocky Mountain population. These are likely to be conservative figures since the surveys that these numbers are based on do not cover all the lakes at any one time.
Bear Lake, Lac la Glace, Valhalla Lake and the Buffalo Lake complex, are the most important lakes for staging ducks. Over 20,000 ducks have been recorded at each of these locations during fall staging, suggesting that the Grande Prairie area hosts many tens of thousands of ducks in most years. These lakes are also important colonial waterbird and shorebird breeding and staging areas.
The degree that recreational activities occur on lakes within the Grande Prairie region varies water-skiing occurs on Saskatoon and Bear Lakes, while other lakes such as Clairmont and Lac La Glace have had very little use. A provincial park was established on the shores of Saskatoon Lake, and more recently the waters of the lake were designated a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Visitors to the park and some local landowners use the lake for water-based recreation, which can disrupt Trumpeter Swan use of the lake. To prevent water access, the federal and provincial governments have cordoned off many bays on the lake. Use of ATVs along shorelines throughout the site is becoming more prevalent.
There has been considerable interest in the Trumpeter Swans in the area. Many programs involving the transplanting of Trumpeter Swans, have used swans from this region. Also, the Friends of Saskatoon Island Provincial Park Co-operating Association have started an annual Swan Festival.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Grande Prairie - Trumpeter Swan IBA. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/grande-prairie--trumpeter-swan-iba-iba-canada on 04/10/2023.