Saskatchewan River Delta

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 710,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (2001 baseline)
This site, which encompasses the town of The Pas and a large surrounding area, is situated northwest of Lake Winnipegosis and encompasses all the land between the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border and Cedar Lake. It is a massive area of land dominated by the Saskatchewan River Delta and contains both the mouth of the Saskatchewan River at Cedar Lake and the upper reaches of the river itself. Included in this site are both the Tom Lamb (2,083 km2) and the Saskeram (958 km2) Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), which lie on either side of The Pas.

Much of this site consists of flat, low-lying and very extensive wetlands, including huge stretches of marshes, tamarack bogs and meadows. These areas support high concentrations of moose and are also tremendously important for spawning fish, including the sturgeon. This latter species is of great value to the local aboriginal community, and the government of Manitoba has given the species special attention. At higher elevations there are deciduous and coniferous boreal forest habitats, and clustered around The Pas and Highway 10 are cultivated lands and improved grasslands. In the Tom Lamb WMA, ridge forests are composed of aspen, Jack Pine, and Black Spruce, while Balsam Poplar, willows, Manitoba Maple and Green Ash grow on the levees.

Key biodiversity
The area surrounding The Pas is considered by some biologists to be the most important wetland in the province, in particular for breeding waterfowl. The area is such a maze of channels and dense vegetation that it is extremely difficult to estimate the number of some breeding species. But for some, such as the Red-necked Grebe, it is almost certainly the most valuable breeding area in the province.

This area also supports hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese and swans on fall migration. Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles and Osprey nest in the area, along with colonial birds such as Eared Grebes, Common and Black terns, and Franklins Gulls. Several extralimital breeding records of American Avocet have been documented here too. Greater White-fronted Geese formerly concentrated here in large numbers during fall migration, but are rarely seen now due to the artificial flooding of the gravel bars and islands that they used to stage on. This IBA also holds a wide variety of southern boreal region breeding birds.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Saskatchewan River Delta. Downloaded from on 27/02/2024.