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Last Mountain Lake NWA

Site Facts

Country, State, Province/Region:

Canada, Province of Saskatchewan

Relative Location:

South-central Saskatchewan, 110 km northwest of Regina


51 20' N, 105 15' W



Basis for Designation:

More than 20,000 shorebirds annually.


21,638 hectares (53,468 acres)


February 1994

Site Owner/Steward:

Canadian Wildlife Service

Site Partners:

Ducks Unlimited Canada, Environment Canada, Government of Saskatchewan, Last Mountain Bird Observatory

Human Population within 100 km:



Kerry Hecker
Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area


Mixed grassland habitat including potholes, springs, fen bogs and saline wetland complexes. The site also contains shallow marshy bays and inlets separated by numerous points and islands, all surrounding a large freshwater lake which reaches depths to 30m. This site is recognized as a Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a Ramsar site, and also a National Historic Site. 

The lake provides critical fish spawning and nursery habitat and is considered to support the most productive fish population in Saskatchewan. 

This site is an important stopover for many species of migratory birds. The most spectacular time of year is the fall when up to 50,000 Sandhill Cranes, 450,000 geese, and several hundred thousand ducks may be observed. This is one of the prairie province?s most important waterfowl staging areas and is a crucial refuelling stop for waterfowl on their way from the Arctic to the southern United States. Over 280 species of birds have been recorded here and over 100 of these species have been documented to breed in the area. 

Last Mountain Lake is also important to numerous wildlife species including white-tailed deer, badger, coyote, fox, and three species of ground squirrel. Also, a number of rare and endangered species that use the area at some point during the year include the Peregrine Falcon, Burrowing Owl, Ferruginous Hawk, and the Whooping Crane.

During dry years, the site provides a variety of secure wetlands suitable for shorebird staging and thus becomes a drought refuge for migrant and local breeding shorebirds as well as other waterfowl.

Ecology & Conservation

Management priorities include the conservation of native upland and wetland habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife, and the protection of staging and breeding habitats associated with the lake. Finally, special consideration is given to those species which are deemed rare, threatened or endangered.

Wildlife surveys at the site include: springtime surveys for Sharp-tailed Grouse, summer surveys of waterfowl numbers and nesting success, herptile monitoring, colonial bird surveys, and winter surveys of white-tailed deer. Support for biological research programs is promoted.


Kerry Hecker
Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area
Box 280
Simpson, Saskatchewan
Canada S0G 4M0

Additional Resources

Caldwell, J.R., P.S. Taylor, E.A. Driver, L.J. Shandruk, 1987. Plants of the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area, Saskatchewan. Blue Jay 45(4) 234-245.

Dale, B., 1987. The birds of Last Mountain Lake and Stalwart National Wildlife Areas, Saskatchewan. Blue Jay 45(4) 246-260.

Dickson, H.L. and A.R. Smith, 1988. Canadian Prairie Shorebird program: an update. Wader Study Group Bull., 52:23-27.

Foster, J., 1978. Working for wildlife: the Beginning of Preservation in Canada. Univ. Tor. Press, Toronto.

Gillespie, D.I., H. Boyd, P. Logan, 1991. Wetlands for the World: Canada's Ramsar Sites. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa.

Smith, Alan R. 1996. Atlas of Saskatchewan Birds. Environment Canada/ Nature Saskatchewan. Special Publications #22, Saskatchewan Natural History Society, Regina, SK.