Big Creek National Wildlife Area pamphlet

Big Creek National Wildlife Area
Photo: B.E. Small © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2015. Big Creek National Wildlife Area

What makes Big Creek NWA so special?

The extensive wetlands of Big Creek National Wildlife Area (NWA), on the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario, are home to a wealth of wildlife species. Seasonal highlights include spring and fall waterfowl migration, marsh bird nesting in early spring, and fall Monarch migration. Established in 1977, the NWA’s 782 hectares are divided between two units, Big Creek and Hahn.

Big Creek NWA is:

  • part of the Long Point Ramsar Site, a Wetland of International Importance;
  • part of the Long Point Peninsula and Marshes Important Bird Area;
  • an important migratory staging area for many species of waterfowl, including the Mallard, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Canada Goose and Tundra Swan;
  • an important breeding area for reptiles and amphibians;
  • important habitat for several federally listed species at risk, including the Least Bittern, Prothonotary Warbler and Swamp Rose Mallow;
  • an important roosting and feeding area for Monarchs during migration.

What are Environment and Climate Change Canada Protected Areas?

Environment and Climate Change Canada establishes marine and terrestrial NWAs for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. NWAs are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. NWAs are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs) are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and provide a refuge for migratory birds in marine and terrestrial environments. The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 NWAs and 92 MBSs comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What can I do at Big Creek NWA?

Access to Big Creek NWA is seasonally restricted and only open to the public from mid-May to mid-September for bird watching, hiking and photography on designated trails and dyke tops. Fishing and waterfowl hunting are permitted but subject to provincial and federal regulations. More information on access and permitting for Big Creek NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Canada Map
Long description of the map

Location of the NWA on an illustrated map of Canada. The NWA location is indicated by a general annotation in the province of Ontario.

Who can I contact?

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4
Protected Area web site
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