Wascana Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Photo of Great Blue Heron
Photo: Neil Dawe © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Black tern.

Wascana Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) lies within the City of Regina, Saskatchewan. The MBS encompasses part of Wascana Waterfowl Park, which is located within a larger park complex called the Wascana Centre. The MBS was established on July 12, 1956, following a campaign initiated in the early 1950s by Fred Bard, Director of the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History. Dr. Bard was concerned about the effects of urban expansion on migratory birds in the Wascana Centre area. The park complex was developed around a human-made lake and associated marshes on Wascana Creek, and includes the Provincial Museum of Natural History, the Saskatchewan Legislative Buildings and the University of Regina campus.

Upland habitats are mostly manicured lawns interspersed with native and exotic trees, shrubs, and bedding plants. Small areas of native grassland and shrubland are also found within the MBS. Most of the emergent wetland vegetation occurs on the southeast portion of the lake and along the banks of Wascana Creek where there are dense stands of cattail, bulrush, sedge and phragmites. Submergent vegetation includes pondweeds and water milfoil found throughout the lake, but is frequently disturbed by dredging and skimming by the Wascana Centre Authority, to intentionally improve water quality. Three human-made islands within the MBS provide protected nesting habitat for waterfowl. A 40-hectare parcel of land adjacent to the southeast end of the MBS is used for lure crops to protect nearby commercial grain crops outside the city limits.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Over 200 breeding pairs of Canada Geese nest in the park each year. The main duck species that regularly nest in the MBS include Mallard, Northern Pintail and Blue-winged Teal. The MBS also attracts at least 115 species of migrants, including large numbers of spring and fall staging waterfowl, with up to 7500 Canada Geese at a time in recent years. Canada Geese from the Wascana flock were used in restocking programs throughout Saskatchewan and as far away as Quebec, British Columbia, Florida and New Mexico at a time when conservation of this species was a priority.

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 Wascana Lake MBS is at the discretion of the landowners (City of Regina and Wascana Centre Authority). 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 Old Wives Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Long description for the Map

Map showing the location of Wascana Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Saskatchewan, Regina, University Park, Dominion Heights, Douglas Place, Arnheim Place and Wascana Lake. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers a portion of Wascana Lake and extends inland from the southern shore. The scale of the map is in hundreds of meters.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Wascana 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 Wascana Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Category Information
Protected Area designation Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territory Saskatchewan
Latitude/longitude 50°26' N, 104°36' W
Size in hectares (ha) 117 ha
Date created (Gazetted) 1956
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category N/A
Additional designations None
Main habitat type Open water and marsh (55%), islands (5%), city park (40%)
Key bird species Canada Goose, Mallard, Northern Pintail and Blue-winged Teal
Other species Birds: Pied-billed, Horned and Eared Grebe, Common and Black Tern, Sora, Marsh Wren, Red-winged, Yellow-headed and Brewer's Blackbird, Killdeer, American Avocet, Spotted Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, flycatchers, swallows, sparrows, Common Loon, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Tundra Swan, and Forster's Tern
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) None
Management agency City of Regina and Canadian Wildlife Service, Prairie and Northern Region
Landowners City of Regina and Wascana Centre Authority

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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