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Little George Island Ecological Reserve

Little George Lake map

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Greater Scaup

Land Designation

Ecological Reserve

Landscape Description

Little George Island Ecological Reserve is 15 hectares in size. The island lies in the north basin of Lake Winnipeg, about 40 km due west of Poplar River First Nation. The island is generally flat with few trees. Extensive areas of willow shrubs and grassland meadows occur in some areas.

Outstanding Features

Ecological reserves play a key role in Manitoba’s Protected Areas Initiative by protecting unique, rare and representative examples of plants, animals, geological features and ecosystems. They are the most protected of the provincially designated sites within the network of protected areas in Manitoba.

Little George Island is special because it is a prime nesting site for colonial nesting birds, including Caspian and Common Terns and Greater Scaup, a diving duck. The birds nest in shallow depressions in the sand. Thousands of nests occur on the island each year during breeding season which normally begins in June and extends into August. Nesting birds are most vulnerable to disturbances at this time. Visitation to the island is discouraged during this sensitive period as a disturbance could cause adults to abandon nests or young.

Little George Island is the most southerly documented breeding site for Greater Scaup in Manitoba. Scaup populations have steadily declined since the 1980s. Contaminants, lower female survival, and reduced recruitment due to changes in breeding habitat or food resources are thought to be the primary factors contributing to the decline. In 1999 the Caspian Tern was removed from the list of species-at-risk in Canada, in large part due to the healthy state of Manitoba’s populations.