Boot Island National Wildlife Area
Boot Island National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located in the Minas Basin near the mouth of the Gaspereau River, Nova Scotia.
Boot Island NWA lies at the head of the Bay of Fundy. Open water, saltmarshes and mudflats surround the NWA. It is an important staging and migration area for waterfowl and shorebirds. Prior to its establishment as a NWA in 1979, the habitat on the island was at risk because of proposed summer home and cottage development. Boot Island NWA, as part of the Southern Bight-Minas Basin, is also designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance for the protection of shorebirds and is a site for research.
The NWA hosts breeding colonies that include:
- herring gull
- great black-backed gull
- great blue heron
- double-crested cormorant
The habitat and wildlife found on Boot Island is typical for islands in this part of the Maritimes. No fewer than 170 plant species grow there and upwards of 50 bird species have been observed on or near the island.
Boot Island NWA currently totals 107 ha of diverse habitat including:
- 91 ha of saltmarsh
- 2 ha of forest/woodland habitat
- approximately 14 ha of shrub and grassland habitat
Boot Island was created through erosion of the saltmarsh caused by tidal intrusion. Along the north shore of the island (adjacent to the forest), this erosion is especially prevalent and is continuing resulting in the loss of over one meter of shoreline per year.
The upland section, on the Basin side of Boot Island, is about six meters above mean high tide and was formerly agricultural land. It is vegetated with a stand of white spruce and shrub - grass cover. The saltmarsh consists of fertile alluvial deposits, left by the receding silt - laden tidal waters of the Minas Basin. Typical saltmarsh plant associations occur throughout the marsh community with Salt - Water Cord Grass being the dominant species. Twice daily, high tides fill the channel area at the mouth of the Gaspereau River, and numerous tidal streams intersperse the marsh.
Find more information on Boot Island NWA in the summary table below.
Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.
Access to Boot Island NWA is not restricted. Activities may be permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Boot Island NWA, include:
- wildlife viewing
- non-commercial picking of edible plants and edible mushrooms
- boat launching and boat landing
- sport hunting — including with dogs off-leash when hunting waterfowl or upland game birds — from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset, if the hunting is carried out
- in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for sport hunting in that province; and
- without the use of toxic shot
- sport fishing, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for sport fishing in that province, during the periods authorized by those laws
- trapping in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for trapping in that province
- activities referred to in items 1 to 4 and 7 from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
More information on access and permitting for Boot Island NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Map of the area
This map shows the area off the coast of Long Island and Oak Island in the Western Channel and Minas Basin. The boundaries of Boot Island National Wildlife Area (NWA) are indicated. The protected area covers most of Boot Island and extends overwater towards the shore of Long Island. The NWA is located to the north of Gaspereau River, east of Long Island and west of Avon River. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. An inset situates the NWA’s location in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/Longitude||45°08' North / 64°16' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||The protection of coastal habitat, an important staging area for waterfowl as well as for shorebirds|
|Date created (Gazetted)||1979 – Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Habitat / Species Management Area (IV)|
|Keystone or flagship species|
|Main habitat type||
|Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)||Peregrine falcon is a spring and fall transient|
|Invasive species||None recorded|
|Main threats and challenges||Coastal erosion – sea level rise|
|Management agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Boot Island NWA, include:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, New Brunswick
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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