This IBA is a complex of lakes and small wetlands surrounded by native prairie in T26N, R3W, sections 19, 20, & 30. The IBA is managed jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (waterfowl production area) and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (wildlife management area); 20% of the area is privately owned. Islands on the main lake support one of only four nesting colonies of American White Pelicans in Montana.

Ornithological Summary

Arod Lakes has one of only four known nesting colonies of American White Pelicans in Montana. The colony was discovered in 1990, when 300 nests were estimated to be present. Since then, nest estimates have varied from 300-500 annually. Annual numbers of young fledged at this colony have varied dramatically from about 60 in 2000 to more than 700 in 1993. Between 1991-1996, 2,220 young were banded, but no additional banding has occurred here since 1996. Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, and California Gulls also nest here, but recent estimates of their numbers are lacking. During spring and fall migration, peak numbers of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese exceed 40,000 and 5,000, respectively, in some years.

Conservation Issues

At breeding colonies, American White Pelicans can be shy and are prone to desert eggs or small young if approached by humans. The lake receives a fair amount of fishing pressure (the state record for carp comes from the main lake!), which poses a threat to the pelicans during the nesting season.


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks maintains a fishing access at the main lake, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages nearly half of the IBA as a Waterfowl Production Area.

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