Lac Bay

Lac Bay is a sheltered shallow inland bay located on the south-eastern shore of Bonaire, about 7 kilometres southeast of Kralendijk. Covering an area of 2 km² (2,075 hectares), it is the largest inland bay in the Dutch Caribbean and Bonaire’s most significant lagoon. It contains thriving seagrass beds and actively growing mangroves and is an important nursery site for conch and many species of reef fish as well as being a critical foraging ground for globally endangered juvenile Green Turtles. Half of Lac Bay consists of open water and the other half is separated by a formation of islands that consist of shallow, muddy basins fringed with mangroves. The flooded area is approximately 7 km² (700 hectares) large, and the maximum water depth within the bay is as shallow as 4.5 metres (15 feet). Lac Bay is separated from the ocean by a submerged barrier of coral rubble. Behind this barrier, few patch reefs have formed in the shallow area of the bay. Lac has two peninsulas that border the connection to the sea on both sides: Cai in the north and Sorobon in the south. North of the bay are large expanses of salt flats and small saliñas. Lac is a designated Ramsar site (Ramsar Site no. 199) and is therefore internationally recognised as a uniquely valuable wetland, and benefits from special protection. It is also included within the Bonaire National Marine Park.

Lac Bay supports vast numbers of breeding and wintering shorebirds and seabirds. It is an important feeding area for seabirds, including the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) and several gull species (Laridae sp.), as well as waders such as herons (Ardeidae sp.). Seven species of heron can be observed is Lac Bay, the most common ones being the Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus), the Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) and the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). The latter is a visitor from North and Central America that roosts in the mangroves.

Source: BirdLife International. (2008). Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: Key sites for Conservation. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 15).
Bays - Areas, Bonaire Special Areas, Mangroves - Areas, Seagrass beds - Areas, Special Conservation Areas