|Central coordinates||109o 13.84' West 50o 11.46' North|
|Altitude||690 - 775m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Site description Bigstick Lake Plain encompasses a large part of the southern slopes of the Great Sand Hills of southwestern Saskatchewan. The closest towns are Fox Valley to the northwest and Tompkins to the southeast. This semi-arid plain includes the large saline lakes, Bigstick (4,300 ha), Crane (2,500 ha) and Ingebright (390 ha), as well as extensive grasslands. Much of this grassland is native mixed-grass prairie. Mason Lake, a reservoir that forms the west section of Ingebrigt Lake, has more stable water levels and is less saline than the rest of the lake. Ducks Unlimited has two projects in the area; one lies just to the northwest of Ingebright Lake, and the other is on the west shore of Bigstick Lake. The latter project consists of a restriction dam that was built in 1974 and produces a 100-200 ha marsh.
Key Biodiversity This lake plain area is a significant site because several types of waterbirds congregate at the lakes in abundance. About 16,000 waterfowl have used Bigstick and Crane lakes during their fall migration. Also, over 7,000 Franklins Gull also stage here - this is over 1% of the global population.
Several other bird species make use of these lakes and grasslands during the breeding season. Of particular note are small numbers of: Ferruginous Hawks (Special Concern species), Piping Plovers and Burrowing Owls (both nationally endangered). The most recent Piping Plovers (two in 1991) were found at Ingebrigt Lake, but in the past this species was also found at the other two lakes. At Ingebrigt Lake, up to 1,717 staging Wilsons Phalarope have been seen. Also, Eared Grebe, Black-crowned Night-Heron (25-30 pairs, early 1980s), California Gull, Ring-billed Gull and Lark Bunting breed in the Bigstick Lake area. Crane Lake used to support colonies of American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, California Gulls and Common Terns.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||non-breeding||1995||20,000-49,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Big Stick||Community Pasture||10,242||protected area overlaps with site||6,700|
|Prairie (Units #1 - #27)||National Wildlife Area||262||protected area overlaps with site||66|
|Tompkins||Community Pasture||451||protected area overlaps with site||180|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Grassland||Steppe & dry calcareous grassland||30%|
|Wetlands (inland)||Saline/alkaline lakes||60%|
|Artificial - terrestrial||Arable land||10%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||minor|
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bigstick Lake Plain. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/11/2014
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