IBA Sandy Bay Marshes
Amaranth, Manitoba
Site Summary
MB093 Latitude
50.454° N
98.581° W
247 m
141.81 km²
deciduous woods (temperate), scrub/shrub, native grassland, sedge/grass meadows, freshwater lake, freshwater marsh
Land Use:
Fisheries/aquaculture, Hunting
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Dykes/dam/barrages, Hunting, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
The Sandy Bay marshes are located along the west shore of Lake Manitoba, and extend from east of the town of Amaranth southward for almost 25 km to Big Point and includes part of the Sandy Bay First Nation Reserve. The marshes are within three distinct basins that are relatively well protected from the strong winds of the south basin of Lake Manitoba by barrier beaches. There are channels of water that connect the sheltered marshes to the main body of the lake.
This location has a long history of utilization by Western Grebes. In 1979, 300 adults were surveyed in breeding season, although this may be a partial survey. In 1986, 500 to 1,000 nests of this species were recorded. In 1998, large congregations of 1,000 to 1,500 adults were observed in June and July. Many of these birds subsequently had young. A further 723 Western Grebes were counted from Big Point, Hollywood Beach and in a single accessible channel in April 2017. A detailed study of the nesting grebes in this area has never been made.

The surrounding wetlands and beaches of the IBA remain relatively underexplored, although there is one notable record of 500 Black-bellied Plovers counted during spring 2016. The nationally endangered Piping Plover historically bred at Hollywood Beach.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Western Grebe 1986 SU 1,000
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
The Sandy Bay site is mainly used for fishing and hunting. Both of these activities could cause disturbance to the Western Grebes during breeding season, and over-fishing could potentially cause a decrease in productivity within the colony. Artificial lake level regulation is of concern at this site as is the direct loss of marsh habitat through development.

Disturbance along the beaches might be an issue for some nesting species at certain times of year.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Birds Canada