World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hay-Zama Lakes

Article Id: WHEBN0017734510
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hay-Zama Lakes  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Geography of Alberta, Alberta parks, Pearce Estate Wetland, Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum, St. Albert Grain Elevator Park
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hay-Zama Lakes

Hay-Zama Lakes
Nearest city High Level, Alberta
Area 586 square kilometres (226 sq mi)
Designated 24 May 1982

Hay-Zama Lakes is a 586-square-kilometre (226 sq mi) inland wetland and wildland park[1] in northwestern Alberta, Canada. It was designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance on May 24, 1982,[2] and is recognized as an Important Bird Area.[3] It "constitutes one of the most extensive sedge wetlands in western North America".[4]

The site has been under consideration for classification as a World Heritage Site.[5] It is approximately 100 km (62 mi) west-northwest of the town of High Level, 140 kilometres (87 mi) from the border with the Northwest Territories.

It is being twinned with Dalai Lake National Nature Reserve in Inner Mongolia.[4]


An expansive lowland wetland complex, the system consists of eutrophic freshwater lakes, and the floodplains and interior river deltas associated with the Peace River. It is at an elevation of 320 metres (1,050 ft) above sea level.

Water levels are determined by seasonal and annual fluctuations, which may be quite significant. Inflow from the Hay River greatly influences both the size of the lakes and their depth.[4] The largest lake in the system is Zama Lake.

The site has been subject to continuous oil and natural gas extraction and exploration since the 1960s, and is surrounded by degraded landscape as a result.[4] In an agreement between the Dene Tha' First Nation and oil production and exploration companies operating in the wetland complex, no new wells will be built from 2007 onward, and complete cessation of such activities will occur no later than 2017.[6]


Wood Bison

The complex is site to large populations of migratory birds during spring and fall migrations. Over 250,000 ducks and 177,000 geese have been observed during a single migration.[2] [3] It lies on the path of three waterfowl flyways, the Pacific, Central and Mississippi,[3] making it an important moulting and staging area for numerous waterfowl species, the primary factor leading to its Ramsar designation.

It is the only site in Alberta targeted for the re-introduction of Wood Bison,[4] which thrive on a winter forage of sedges and grasses indigenous to the area. A group of 24 bison were first introduced to Hay-Zama Lakes Wildland Park in 1984,[7] moved from Elk Island National Park, and its population has steadily grown to 700 members. The bison, however, have been following "roads opened up for them by oil and gas activity",[7] straying toward the town of High Level, attracted by roadside grasses. Concern about contact between this group and bison from Wood Buffalo National Park, which carry brucellosis or tuberculosis, has led to the granting of permits to Dene Tha' hunters to cull straying animals, hence preventing the spread of these diseases. Ultimately, the diseased herds in Wood Buffalo will be eliminated.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ a b c d e
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.