Important Bird Area
Having dried out numerous times (1857, 1913-15, 1934-40, and 1989-92) only to return to its original luster, and once being presumed extinct, Whitewater Lake has overcome past adversity and is now a major destination for birders and eco-tourists.
Today alkali and heart-stemmed bullrushes, cattails, and white top grass sway in the prairie breeze, while fresh water trickles into the shallow, moderately saline semi-permanent wetland by the northward flow of eight major creeks from the Turtle Mountain, making it a serene and scenic excursion for birds and birders alike.
The Lake’s shallowness and large size (22,000 acres on average) as well as abundance and variety of vegetation combine to make the region ideal grounds for the nesting and staging of more than 250 species of birds.
As a result of such biodiversity and its high concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds and Tundra Swans, Whitewater Lake has been recognized as a Manitoba Wildlife Management Area, a Priority Bird Habitat of Canadian Importance, in addition to its IBA (Important Bird Area) designation.
During the fall migration, it is estimated that as many as 190,000 snow geese, 500,000 ducks, 23,000 shorebirds, and up to 20,000 tundra swans visit the lake.
Since 1989 Ducks Unlimited Canada, in a partnership with Manitoba Conservation, The Turtle Mountain Conservation District, and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, has invested more than two million dollars on enhancing the site. This has included eight miles of dikes and 11 water control structures, which protect nesting areas and nearby farmland from flooding and ensure the permanency of water during years of drought. The dikes further provide a stimuli for the growth of vegetation, ensuring a stable food source and hospitable environment for birds and wildlife.
Enhancements have additionally included the construction of a viewing mound, observation tower, interpretive signage, a boardwalk and other facilities that help make the lake a perfect place for birding. Whitewater Viewing area located 10 km (6 miles) west from Boissevain or 30 km/10 miles east of Deloraine. Signage off Highway #3.