Rice Lake is located 8 km southeast of Asquith, Saskatchewan (about 30 km west of Saskatoon). It is a semi-permanent marsh surrounded by agricultural lands. A creek, which originates from Goose Lake, flows into the southwest end of Rice Lake. Ducks Unlimited has constructed a dyke across the south end of the lake to help regulate water levels.
Rice Lake is an important wetland for waterbirds, especially for Franklins Gull. Over 3,000 pairs of nesting Franklin's Gulls, representing more than 1% of the estimated global breeding population, have been recorded at this site. Other birds breeding at this site include Eared Grebes (375 birds) and Black-crowned Night-Herons.
During the summer and fall, moderate numbers of moulting and staging waterfowl use the lake. Although few surveys have been completed, almost 9,000 moulting ducks have been recorded here. Smaller numbers of staging waterfowl are also found here. Some of the more common species include Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Mallard, and Canada Goose. The nationally endangered Whooping Crane occasionally stops here during fall migration.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Like many other lakes in the Canadian prairies, Rice Lake is most threatened by low spring run-off and drought during the dry season. The dyke constructed by Ducks Unlimited helps to maintain wetland conditions during periods of drought. Chemical runoff from agricultural activity flows into the south end of Rice Lake thus causing the potential for water pollution.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rice Lake. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2020.