Scent Grass Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Photo of Snow Geese
Photo: © Guy Lamarre. Snow Geese.

Scent Grass Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located 24 km northeast of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Scent Grass Lake MBS was one of five replacement sanctuaries established on November 3, 1948, to replace five other sanctuaries that had become unsuitable as migratory water bird refuges because of drought conditions.

The MBS is located in the Aspen Parkland ecoregion of Saskatchewan. Scent Grass Lake is fed by spring runoff, seasonal rains, several natural springs and Page Creek. An earthen dam on the west end of the lake and a dyke on the east end maintain water levels and reduce natural fluctuations. Shoreline vegetation ranges from dense aspen, maple and willow on the south shore to grassland with isolated clumps of aspen and willow on the remainder. Emergent vegetation of bulrush, cattail and sedge occurs in dense stands on the northwest end of the lake and on the delta of Page Creek. A narrow band of these emergents borders the north shore. Submergent vegetation consists of pondweeds in the deeper, open water zone and water milfoil, hornwort, water crowfoot and similar species in the emergent zones. Surrounding uplands are mostly cultivated cropland, with a few patches of remnant fescue prairie. The Moosomin and Thunderchild Indian Reserve are located nearby, and three public roads provide access to the lake.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Scent Grass Lake MBS is recognized for its importance as a refuge for waterfowl and other marsh and water birds. Many species of dabbling and diving ducks use Scent Grass Lake as a breeding area. However, the MBS has greater value as a moulting area for ducks that nest there and at nearby Moore Lake. Concentrations of up to 2000 ducks, mainly Mallards, Northern Pintails, diving ducks, and 7000 geese (Canada, White-fronted, Ross's and Lesser Snow Geese) have been observed on the lake in the late fall.

A variety of other birds use the MBS, adjacent marsh and upland habitat. Known and suspected breeders within the MBS include Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Sora, Killdeer, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Franklin's Gull, Black Tern, Marsh Wren, and Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds

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 Scent Grass Lake MBS is at the discretion of the surrounding private landowners. 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 Scent Grass Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Scent Grass Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Saskatchewan, Iffley, Moore Lake and Scentgrass Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers a large portion of Scentgrass Lake. The scale of the map is in tenths of a kilometer.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Scent Grass 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 Scent Grass Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 52°58' N, 108°09' W
Size in hectares (ha) 647 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1948
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category IV - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Open water (85%), marsh (15%)
Key bird species Mallard, Northern Pintail, Canada Goose, White-fronted Goose, Ross's Goose and Lesser Snow Goose
Other species Birds: Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Sora, Killdeer, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Franklin's Gull, Black Tern, Marsh Wren, Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbird
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)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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