Lake Osakis IBA Site Profile
State:
 
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Name: Lake Osakis IBA Acres: 20,567
State: US-MN Status: Identified
Counties: Douglas, Todd Priority: State
Confirmed Criteria: D1,D4iii,D5
 
Species
Criteria Proposed
Criteria Confirmed
Assessment Date
American White Pelican D12/19/2013
Black Tern D12/19/2013
Clark's Grebe   
Double-crested Cormorant   
Eared Grebe   
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Site Description
The Lake Osakis IBA, 20,567 acres located in Todd and Douglas counties in west-central Minnesota, includes Lake Osakis (6,269 acres), its shoreline, and surrounding upland areas to the north and south, which include many smaller lakes and wetlands. This IBA supports major breeding populations of several important nongame bird species that are not well represented elsewhere in the state. It has the largest breeding population of Western Grebes in the state. The colonial waterbird nesting site located here is home to Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, American White Pelican, and Black-crowned Night- Heron. Red-necked Grebes and a few Clark?s Grebes have also been documented here and historically, one of Minnesota?s largest colonies of Forster?s Terns, a species of special concern in the state, was also documented at Lake Osakis. Lake Osakis is a unique wildlife lake that provides: 1) a major source of human recreation and 2) an important waterbird nesting area with sufficient emergent vegetation to be one of Minnesota?s premier colonial waterbird breeding locations. Because Lake Osakis and the surrounding area are currently given no special designation by the state or federal government, the area is extremely vulnerable to increasing levels of development and human disturbance.
Ornithological Summary
Lake Osakis is one of Minnesotas most famous birding lakes, supporting major breeding populations of several important nongame bird species that are not well represented elsewhere in the state. Although Lake Osakis is primarily known for its large number of nesting Western and Red-necked Grebes (Podiceps grisegena), a few Clark?s Grebes (Aechmophorus clarkia) have also been documented. Historically, one of Minnesota?s largest colonies of Forster's Terns (Sterna forsteri), a species of special concern in the state, was also documented at Lake Osakis. Lake Osakis is a unique wildlife lake that provides: 1) a major source of human recreation and 2) an important waterbird nesting area with sufficient emergent vegetation to be one of Minnesota?s premier colonial waterbird breeding locations. Because Lake Osakis and the surrounding area are currently given no special designation by the state or federal government, the area is extremely vulnerable to increasing levels of development and human disturbance. Clifford Lake, located south of Lake Osakis, has a documented colonial waterbird nesting site. Species observed included Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) (48 active nests), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) (47 active nests), American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). Other areas surrounding Lake Osakis in the IBA include State Wildlife Management Areas, Federal Waterfowl Production Areas, and privately owned wetlands that support rare natural features.
Conservation Issues
Land Use
Habitat
Ownership
Agricultural intensification/ expansion: Intensive row crop agriculture has resulted in nutrient loading, and algal blooms are common during the growing season. Pesticide use from local agriculture and homeowners may impact Lake Osakis. Disturbance to Birds: Negative public perception is one of the biggest threats to grebes at Lake Osakis. There has been some negative sentiment toward the grebes and other waterbirds, from people concerned that as fish-eaters they may be affecting the status of fish populations in the lake. Predators: Predators may have considerable impacts on reproductive success, and could be the most significant threat to nesting birds within the IBA. Main predation is seen by Great Horned Owls, Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Mink. Recreation/tourism: The population of Osakis nearly triples with the influx of tourists during the summer months. Watercrafts can be particularilly dangerous to the birds of Lake Osakis especially if users deliberately persecute the birds, or create wakes that flood nests or uproot emergent vegetation. Wetland loss: Changes in hydrology to existing wetlands may cause shifts in the composition of plant species and decrease habitat suitability for animals. With this change in vegetation, a decline in species diversity has been observed in most prairie wetlands in Minnesota, including this IBA. Industrialization/urbanization: Loss of valuable shoreline and shallow-water habitat is one of the biggest concerns with future development. If more lakeshore is developed, vegetation may be removed, which could lead to declines in waterbirds that need extensive beds of emergent vegetation to successfully breed and nest. Introduced animals or feral pets: The Common Carp was intentially introduced into Midwest waters in the 1880s. The feeding habits of the Carp disturb shallow-rooted vegetation and cause murky water conditions. The effect that this species has on birds is still unknown.
 

National Audubon Society 2013 ®
Important Bird Areas in the U.S.
Available @ http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba