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Location Canada, Saskatchewan
Central coordinates 106o 0.03' West  50o 6.66' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 43,000 ha
Altitude 666 - 671m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Old Wives Lake is a large shallow saline lake located 35 km southwest of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The Wood River, spring runoff, and seasonal rains provide the water sources for this lake; in severe drought years it has been known to be completely dry. Seasonal fluctuations in water levels result in the development of extensive mudflats, and exposed islands. On the eastern side of the lake a sandy, rocky island known as the Isle of Bays. It is located about 5 km from shore. Frederick Lake is a small basin located adjacent to the southwest shore of Old Wives Lake. Ducks Unlimited installed a dam on the Wood River at the west end of the lake, creating a large riparian marsh upstream, and a variable sized and very diverse marsh downstream; the rest of the lake has very little emergent vegetation.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Canvasback Aythya valisineria non-breeding  1984  63,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos breeding  1980  1,933 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla passage  1987  30,404 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1995  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
North River Provincial Park 596 protected area contained by site 32,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Steppe & dry calcareous grassland  2%
Wetlands (inland) Cliffs, rocky shores & islets (freshwater); Freshwater marshes & swamps  97%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
hunting minor
other minor

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Old Wives-Frederick Lakes. Downloaded from on 22/10/2014

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