IBA Gull Bay Spits
Grand Rapids, Manitoba
Site Summary
MB053 Latitude
52.891° N
98.860° W
217 m
18.73 km²
freshwater lake, coastal sand dunes & beaches
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research, Fisheries/aquaculture, Hunting
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Other environmental events
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status:
Restricted access for IBA coordinators
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Site Description
The Gull Bay Spits, located in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg, are about 30 km to the southeast of the town of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. They are attached to the south side of Long Point, at its extreme southwest corner, and they extend out into the Gull Bay portion of Lake Winnipeg. There are two spits in total, the north spit and the south spit. The base of the north spit has been covered in water, thereby creating an island.
The Gull Bay Spits host breeding Piping Plovers, an endangered species in Canada. In June of 1991, a total of 38 Piping Plovers were recorded during the International Piping Plover Breeding Census. Five years later, in 1996, a total of 17 birds were detected in the same area. The average of these years is nationally significant (1.5% of the Canadian prairie Piping Plover population). Also, these spits are heavily utilized by staging and migrating gulls and waterfowl.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Piping Plover 1991 - 1996 SU 17 - 38
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
One of the threats to the endangered Piping Plover is the disturbance of their habitat or their nests and eggs. Although this beach is fairly isolated, there is always the potential of too much human activity leading to decreasing reproductivity of birds nesting on the beach. The plovers are also affected by high water levels and wind storms. This is especially so because Manitoba Hydro keeps Lake Winnipeg water levels high. Presently, the area is being proposed for a National Park, thereby providing some forms of protection.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Bird Studies Canada