The Weber and Ogden Rivers provide roughly 14% of the total water quantity for Great Salt Lake. The Weber and Ogden Rivers provide water for Ogden Bay WMA. Other smaller streams enter Ogden Bay as well. This IBA includes wetlands and associated upland areas as well as riparian areas that are part of Howard Slough and Ogden Bay Wildlife Management Areas as well the shoreline and sovereign lands of Ogden Bay. While Ogden Bay is generally fresher than Gilbert Bay, much of the open water of Ogden Bay has similar salinity properties. Therefore the following description in the article by Tom Aldrich and Don Paul regarding Gilbert Bay is also applicable to much of the open water of Ogden Bay, particularly the western portion: "At this salinity the lake's chemical and biological properties eliminate most in-lake predatory influences (predatory macroinvertebrates, fish, etc.) on the obligate halophiles (for example, brine shrimp and brine flies). These macroinvertebrates flourish under ideal conditions (especially at salinities in excess of 120 ppt) producing millions of pounds of potential protein for birds that have special behaviors or adaptations to exploit this food source. The lake can be unusually productive; during one study, the average production of brine fly biomass was 7.9 g/square meter" (Collins, 1980).
Ogden Bay is recognized as a Globally Important Bird Area. The following provides summary information for the eight species that were recognized based upon having over 1% of the North American population at Great Salt Lake at one time or 5% over a season. The numbers provided below are counts at Ogden Bay during a selected Great Salt Lake Waterbird survey period.
American Avocet (37,159 in 2001 [22,500 = 5%])
Black-necked Stilt (10,784 in 2001 [7,500 = 5%])
California Gull (49,722 in 2001 [6,200 = 1%])
Eared Grebe (681,891 in 1997 [185,000 = 5%])
Forster's Tern (2,393 in 2001 [740 = 1%])
Franklin's Gull (59,041 in 2001 [9,800 = 1%])
White-faced Ibis (4,955 in 2000 [1,500 = 1%])
Wilson's Phalarope (335,051 in 2000 [75,000 = 5%])
Ogden Bay qualified as an IBA in Utah based on use by American White Pelicans (with a high count of over 1,200) and Bald Eagles (a high count of 172) as these bird species are on the Division of Wildlife Resources sensitive species list and the American White Pelican is also a priority species for Partners in Flight. The area also qualified due to use by Partners in Flight priority species (American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts) that use Ogden Bay with numbers provided in the global information above.
Surveys also show that avian congregations often far exceeded established numerical criteria. Following is a summary of some peak survey numbers (some numbers listed above). For waterfowl: more than 35,000 Green-winged Teal, more than 19,000 American Coot, more than 4,400 American Wigeon, more than 11,000 Canada Goose, 6,300 Cinnamon Teal, Eared Grebe, more than 25,000 Gadwall, more than 6,000 Lesser Scaup, more than 13,000 Mallard, more than 27,000 Northern Pintail (historically, Northern Pintails on the Pintail Flats area of Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area have been estimated at over one million), more than 28,000 Northern Shoveler, more than 2,700 Redhead, more than 3,800 and Ruddy Duck. Aerial surveys had a peak count of 4,900+ Tundra Swans. For wading birds: American White Pelican (1,200+) and White-faced Ibis. For gulls and terns: California Gull, Franklin Gull, Ring-billed Gull (22,000+), and Forster?s Tern. For shorebirds: American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Dowitcher (7,600+), Marbled Godwit (2,500+), Red-necked Phalarope (15,000+), Sanderling (8,300+), Western Sandpiper (1,800+) and Wilson?s Phalarope. As mentioned above Bald Eagles are at the site with concentrations of well over 100. There are numerous other raptors that use Ogden Bay during the winter and at other times.