Lake Lenore is situated in central Saskatchewan, midway between the towns of Lake Lenore and St. Brieux. It is a large, slightly saline lake, with an average depth of 5.2 m. The lake is subject to severe water level fluctuations, due to changes in spring runoff and seasonal rains. Outside of the numerous protected bays, emergent vegetation is limited, due to extensive wave action. Vast mudflats develop along the low relief shorelines of the lake as water levels recede during the summer. A margin of wet or dry sedge meadow and associated fine-stemmed grasses forms a 45 to 180 m wide buffer between the adjacent upland and mudflat or water (depending on the time of year). The surrounding upland consists of native grassland and some cropland.
There are several islands within the lake, the largest of which, Raven Island, was a peninsula until a drainage canal between Lake Lenore and nearby Ranch Lake (also an IBA) was opened in 1973. All previously cultivated lands on Raven Island have been seeded to dense nesting cover.
Lake Lenore is a globally significant site for staging waterbirds. Tremendous concentrations of birds are present, notably 80,000 ducks (mainly Mallards and assorted divers), and 40,000 geese during fall migration. In the summer about 4,000 ducks (mainly Mallard, Canvasback, and Lesser Scaup) use the lake as a moulting area. During periods when good shorebird habitat is available, numbers of shorebirds can be as high as was noted in the spring of 25,000 individuals. However, habitat conditions can and do change annually thus shorebird use will be variable. In 1998/98 water levels were extremely high and suitable shorebird habitat was limited. Another interesting record was the 312 Ruddy Turnstones that were recorded during spring migration in 1972.
Large numbers of Double-crested Cormorants have been documented breeding at the lake over the years, most recently in 1991, when 853 birds were observed. American White Pelicans also breed at the lake in good numbers, with 162 nests counted in 1991. The nationally endangered Piping Plover has been recorded nesting at the lake in small numbers, with a peak of 9 birds counted during the 1991 International Piping Plover census.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Lake Lenore was designated as a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary on March 9, 1925. Along with Middle and Basin lakes, Lake Lenore has been identified as a potential regional Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site (supports at least 20,000 shorebirds annually). The entire northern quarter of the lake is designated as critical Piping Plover habitat, under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. This act protects the shoreline up to the high water mark from development. Raven Island has been designated as a National Wildlife Area.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Lenore. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/01/2022.