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Kindersley-Elma (SK048)


Kindersley-Elma (SK048)

Smiley, Saskatchewan

Latitude 51.519°N
Longitude 109.352°W
Altitude 710 - 757m
Area 285.04km²

Site Description

The Kindersley-Elma area is located between the towns of Smiley and Kindersley, on the western side of Teo Lakes in southwestern Saskatchewan. The pasture was formerly part of PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration) program, and is now leased from the province by patrons of the pasture. The pasture contains plentiful native grassland habitat. The Verendrye channel, extends through this area from north to south and contains the long and narrow Teo Lakes. The surrounding area is primarily cropland. Ten groves of trees at long-deserted farmsites remain in the southern and western portion of this pasture, and are used by hawks for nesting.


Greater than 15,000 geese are found staging in the vicinity of Teo Lakes during the fall migration. Other waterfowl recorded at this site during fall migration include over 10,000 ducks, including Mallard, Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck along with several other species.

Additional bird fauna at this site includes a national species of special concern, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainsons Hawk, and the nationally Endangered Burrowing Owl. A total of 22 Ferruginous Hawk nest sites are found here; about half of which are used in any one year. Over several decades, of the 133 Ferruginous Hawk pairs that have been monitored at this site, nesting success has been 3.1 fledglings raised per year. One nest, in a Manitoba Maple, was used in 28 consecutive years. Swainson's Hawk nest productivity in the area declined between 1987 and 1993, largely due to a substantial decline in the numbers of its main prey, the Richardson's Ground Squirrel.

Conservation Issues

Drought is a recurrent problem at this site. Grassland prey densities reduced, and drought likely increases the salinity of the lakes. Increased salinity may reduce habitat quality for foraging birds, especially during fall migration. Increased oil exploration has disturbed large areas of important habitat. The remaining native prairie is fragmented by a number of trails and oil wells. Even though the PFRA program no longer occurs, the pasture is still used by cattle producers for grazing. There is an increased risk though of land development and cultivation. There is also a large amount of invasive Crested Wheatgrass present in the area.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Number Year Season
15,000 - 25,9621985Fall