Neely Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Photo of Ruddy Duck
Photo: © Ruddy Duck.

Neely Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is situated 50 km southwest of the town of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan. This relatively shallow lake is located in mixed-wood forest and fen-patterned peatland in the Mid-Boreal Upland ecoregion. The main source of water is spring runoff and groundwater recharge from surrounding bog and muskeg terrain, and is influenced by impoundments created by beavers. Although no creeks enter the lake, nearby tributaries of the Red Deer River and Shand Creek are believed to contribute ground water to the lake's water supply. During very high water levels, water drains out of the east side of the lake and eventually reaches Bubbling Creek to the northeast. Water levels do not undergo severe seasonal fluctuations, but periodic low water levels during years of minimal runoff have resulted in extensive mud flats. Shoreline vegetation consists largely of sedges and associated wet meadow species.

During normal water levels, cattail, bulrush, spangletop and sedge form a border (up to 75 m wide) around the entire lake, with larger stands at the north and south ends of the lake. These emergent plants also occur in a number of scattered patches throughout the lake. The numerous islands in the lake are essentially floating mats of vegetation. Uplands surrounding the lake consist of dense stands of Trembling Aspen, Balsam Poplar and Black Spruce, patterned peatland bog and fen, tame pasture, and cultivated cropland. A community pasture is located on the east side of the lake.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Neely Lake MBS, along with Opuntia Lake MBS, was established on January 23, 1952, to replace the Quill Lakes MBS, which was delisted the same year. The boundary of each newly established sanctuary included the lands normally covered by water.

The lake is an important fall staging area for Canada Geese and is also used by small numbers of staging White-fronted Geese, Tundra Swans and ducks. A few pairs of Canada Geese regularly nest in the area. Breeding ducks using the area are primarily Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Canvasback, Mallard and Blue-winged Teal.

Access and Activities

MBSs are established for the protection and conservation of migratory birds. Activities that could harm migratory birds, their nests or their eggs are prohibited.

MBSs can be and have been established on private, provincial, territorial and federally owned lands. Access to each MBS varies by site and is at the discretion of the landowner and land manager.

Where MBSs are located on federal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the management and protection of migratory birds, nests, eggs and habitat. Where MBSs are located on provincial land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests, while the chief game officer of the province is responsible for the management of habitat. Where MBSs are located on private or municipal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests. Habitat management is the responsibility of the landowner.

Public access to the MBS is at the discretion of the many private landowners and crown leaseholders adjacent to the lake, or via the limited municipal road access points. The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations apply to this site: hunting migratory birds is prohibited, and no person shall disturb, destroy or take the nest of a migratory bird or have in his or her possession a live migratory bird, or a carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird, except under the authority of a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada or unless authorized by the Regulations. Possession of firearms or other hunting appliances is prohibited. Dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large.

For more information on entry, activities and permits in MBSs, please visit the Management and Activities section of the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries website. For more information on protected areas managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada in Quebec, please contact the regional office.

For greater certainty, nothing in this document shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Map of the Area

  • Map of Neely Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Neely Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Saskatchewan and Neely Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers Neely Lake. The scale of the map is in tenths of kilometers.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Neely Lake MBS can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary table

Summary Table for Neely Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 52°43' N, 102°48' W
Size in hectares (ha) 346 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1952
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category IV - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Open water and mud flats (95%), wet meadow (4%), islands (1%)
Key bird species Canada Goose, White-fronted Goose, Tundra Swan, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Canvasback, Mallard and Blue-winged Teal
Other species Birds: Eared Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Black Tern, Killdeer, Marsh Wren, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Le Conte's Sparrow, Sora , Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Franklin's Gull, Common Yellowthroat, American Bittern, Common Loon, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked Phalarope, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Golden Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Northern Waterthrush
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie and Northern Region
Landowner Province of Saskatchewan

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Prairie and Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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