|Location||Senegal, Cap Vert,Thiès|
|Central coordinates||16o 55.00' West 15o 8.00' North|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description This site consists of a string of permanent freshwater lakes and additional temporarily wet depressions (niayes) lying along a line running north-east from the outskirts of Dakar to around 60 km south-west of St Louis. The lakes lie behind the ridge of coastal sandy dunes, in shallow depressions at 1–4 m above sea-level, over a distance of c.150 km. They are replenished both by rainfall and from the underlying water-table, which lies close to the surface. The wetlands cover 40 km² at low water; at high water, all the lakes can increase their surface area five-fold. The largest lakes lie at the southern end and include Nhiarhol Pool and the lakes Mbao, Mbeubeussé, Retba, Tanma, Youyi (or Malika) and Ourouaye. Lake Retba is the largest, with an open water surface of 5 km by 1.7 km wide at low water. Niaye Hann Mariste consists of a depression covering a surface area of about 30 ha (1.3 km by 200 m), but this dried out completely in 1997 due to evaporation, compounded by abstraction of water for agriculture and building construction. The surrounding vegetation is subjected to seasonal inundation and the area is characterized by the oil-palm Elaeis guineensis. There are also elements of vegetation more typical of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome and Guinea–Congo Forests biome (e.g. Prosopis africana and Ficus capensis). These are able to flourish here due to the high moisture content of the soils, which results from the water-table lying close to the surface and the moisture-bearing Alizé winds blowing in from the Atlantic. The whole site is very important in terms of human use, for cattle-grazing, fishing, vegetable, fruit and rice-growing and market gardening (estimated at 90% of national production). Many of the individual lakes also have religious and cultural significance.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis||breeding||1996||250 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis||winter||1996||500 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca||breeding||1996||250 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio||winter||1996||104 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Slender-billed Gull Larus genei||winter||1999||145 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus||winter||1988||2,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||59%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
References Diatta et al. (1998), Hughes and Hughes (1992), Reynaud (1999).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Niayes (from Dakar to St Louis). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/09/2014
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