Shepody National Wildlife Area
Shepody National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While trails are open, the Shorebird Discovery Centre is closed until such time that it can be safely re-opened. We hope to provide visitors with additional access to services and facilities in the near future.
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Shepody National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located in New Brunswick. Established in 1980, it provides important habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife. Shepody NWA is a wonderful place for hiking and wildlife observation.
Shepody NWA was established in 1980. The NWA contains three separate areas: Mary’s Point, New Horton, and Germantown Marsh. These areas are situated on, and adjacent to, Chignecto and Shepody Bays.
Mary’s Point and adjacent Shepody Bay are recognized as:
- a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention
- a Site of Hemispheric Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
- an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International
International bodies recognize Shepody NWA’s wetlands, and adjacent mudflats, because they support large numbers of migratory birds every year. Mud shrimp living in the red mud of Shepody, and a biofilm of algae that grows on the mud surface, are the main food source for millions of migrating shorebirds in the fall, on the way to Central and South America. This primarily includes semipalmated sandpipers.
Hundreds of year ago, the Germantown Marsh and New Horton units contained many lakes, bogs and salt marshes. Then, in the 18th century, Acadian settlers installed dikes to hold back tidal waters. The settlers converted wetlands into farmland. More recently, upon becoming part of the NWA network, some of these freshwater marshes have been restored through work completed in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The Mary's Point unit is located on the coast where Shepody and Chignecto Bay converge. It is comprised of a large salt marsh and a forested peninsula that extends out into Shepody Bay. The unit’s coasts are made up of sand and gravel beaches, sand dunes, rocky cliffs, and inter-tidal ledges. These coasts provide areas to rest for migrating shorebirds. The rich mudflats next to Mary’s Point support marine algae and invertebrates that are critically important to shorebirds to fuel their southern migration.
Mary's Point has a long human history. Its habitats were used by Mi’kmaq People for millennia, who would have found rich natural resources here to sustain their communities. In the mid to late 19th century, a small community was present at the tip. This community supported a sandstone quarry. Products of the quarry can be seen today in historic buildings in Halifax and New York City.
The wetlands of Shepody NWA provide important wildlife habitat. These saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands provide production, staging, and migration habitats for waterfowl including:
The freshwater wetlands further provide some of the best nesting habitat in the Atlantic provinces for a variety of marsh birds including:
The inter-tidal mud flats and gravel beaches provide migration habitat for shorebirds. These shorebirds include:
The dominant species of shorebird is the semipalmated sandpiper. Thousands roost on the beach at Mary's Point during peak migration.
The NWA further provides habitat for many mammal species found including:
Find more information on Shepody 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 their 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 activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.
You can obtain more information on access and permitting for Shepody NWA by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Planning your visit
Shepody NWA is a wonderful place for hiking, wildlife observation, and photography. This is especially the case in the spring and fall when huge numbers of shorebirds pass through the NWA.
Shepody NWA is part of the Connecting Canadians to Nature (CCN) initiative. CCN will help Canadians to enjoy and connect with nature. CCN funding will improve visitor services. For example, on June 17, 2019, a new Shorebird Discovery Centre opened in the NWA, at 415 Mary’s Point Road. The centre provides interpretation programming for children and adults from late June to August. The centre features work from local wildlife artists.
- washrooms at Mary’s Point
- Shorebird Discovery Centre at Mary’s Point
For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA management and activities page.
Directions from Moncton:
Shepody NWA is located approximately 60 km from Moncton, on the way to Fundy National Park on Highway 114.
- Germantown Unit Main Gate: 45.712035, -64.756096
- Shepody Shorebird Discovery Centre: 45.727666, -64.672663
- New Horton Unit: 45.690717, -64.708592
Map of the area
This map shows the area southwest of Shepody Bay in New Brunswick. The three Shepody NWA units (Germantown Marsh, Mary’s Point, and New Horton) are indicated. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map shows the NWA’s location in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only. It should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/Longitude||45°44' North, 64°45' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||
|Date created (Gazetted)||1980 – Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Habitat/Species Management Area – (IV)|
|Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)|
|Main habitat type||
|Main threats and challenges||
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||
Permitted as posted:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice legally prevails.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
- Shepody NWA management plan
- Shepdy NWA pamphlet
- Shepody NWA on Google maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information. It does not represent the official map or site name)
- Identification Guide: Five Common Gulls of Eastern Canada
- Managing conflicts with migratory birds
- Connecting Canadians to Nature
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