|Central coordinates||96o 54.02' West 51o 0.06' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Ornithological information This site supports significant concentrations of Ring-billed Gulls and Common Terns. About 1% (10,000 nests) of the world's estimated Ring-billed Gull population were present in 1991. In addition, a total of 800 Common Tern nests, or about 2% of the estimated North American population were present on Sand Islands #2 and #3. Nesting Herring Gulls were also present, with 153 nests being recorded in 1991. The Sand Point on Hecla Island is also noted as a major roost site for pelicans, gulls and terns.
There are also occasional records of nesting Piping Plovers (nationally endangered and globally vulnerable) on the Riverton Sand Islands and on the adjacent Hecla Island Sand Point. During the 1991 International Piping Plover census one pair of Piping Plovers was recorded at each site, while during the 1996 International census only a single pair of Piping Plovers was recorded at the Hecla Island Sand Point.
In addition to the importance of these islands and sandspits to nesting birds, they are also heavily used by several species during migration. The area is reportedly a major concentration site for migrating Canada Geese and Snow Geese although the numbers have not been documented. It has also been reported that hundreds of migrating Sanderlings use the site along with lesser numbers of Ruddy Turnstones and other shorebirds.
Site description The Riverton Sand Islands are located off the western shore of Lake Winnipeg near the community of Riverton (directly west of Hecla Island). They consist of a series of three small islands extending between Riverton Marsh eastward toward Sand Point on Hecla Island. The islands are comprised of sand and gravel that has been partially colonized by grasses and willows. The closest island is located only 50 metres from shore and is connected to the mainland by a sandbar during low water years. Sand Point on Hecla Island is also included within this site.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis||breeding||1991||10,000 nests||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Tern Sterna hirundo||breeding||1991||800 nests||-||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||1991||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Hecla||Provincial Park||86,309||protected area overlaps with site||360|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Freshwater lakes and pools||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Conservation response In some years the islands closest to shore are accessible to all-terrain vehicles, and the birds leave the islands if they are repeatedly disturbed. In most years, however, the water levels are deep enough to prevent this from happening. The artificially high water levels that are maintained by he provincial government, however, lead to less shoreline for the Piping Plovers and increased erosion. There is also some desire to develop this site for ecotourism, which could increase the level of disturbance, but might also lead to more vigilant protection. The continued suitability of these islands for nesting colonial waterbirds depends on the suitability of habitat conditions. Important natural forces include water currents, and ice scouring, which removes colonizing vegetation.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Riverton Sandy Bar. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2013
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