Shepody National Wildlife Area

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.

Description

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 Shepody Bay are recognized as:

Shepody NWA’s wetlands, and adjacent mudflats, are recognized by international bodies 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.

 

Photo of shorebird
Photo: Vishalla Singh
Flock of Shorebirds

 

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 habitat 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 black-bellied plover, the semipalmated plover, semipalmated sandpipers, least sandpipers, and sanderling, among others. The dominant species 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:

  • meadow vole
  • mink
  • river otter
  • snowshoe hare
  • eastern coyote
  • bobcat
  • white-tailed deer
  • moose

Find more information on Shepody NWA in the summary table below.

Planning your visit

Photo of Shorebird discovery centre
Photo: Garry Donaldson
Shorebird Discovery Centre within Shepody NWA

 

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 will open in the NWA, at 415 Mary’s Point Road. The centre will provide interpretation programming for children and adults from late June to August. The centre will also feature work from local wildlife artists.

Public facilities: washrooms and the Shorebird Discovery Centre at Mary’s Point

For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA Management and Activities page.

Location

Directions from Moncton:
Shepody NWA is located approximately 60 km from Moncton, on the way to Fundy National Park on Highway 114.

GPS coordinates
Germantown Unit Main Gate: 45.712035, -64.756096
Shepody Shorebird Discovery Centre: 45.727666, -64.672663
New Horton Unit: 45.690717, -64.708592

You can obtain more information on access and permitting for Shepody NWA by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map

Map of Shepody
Long description

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. You can also view Shepody NWA using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information. It does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary table

This table provides summary information for Shepody NWA.
Category Information

Protected Area designation

NWA

Province/territory

New Brunswick

Latitude/longitude

45°44' North, 64°45' West

Size

1,069 ha

Reason for creation of protected area

  • conservation of shorebird roosting habitat and waterfowl and waterbird wetland habitat

Date created (Gazetted)

1980 - Legal description

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category

IV - Habitat / Species Management Area

Additional designations

Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)

Main habitat type

  • wetland (83.4%)
  • forest (13.8%)
  • abandoned farmland (2.8%)

Invasive species

  • purple loosestrife
  • reed canarygrass

Additional links

Birds:

Mammals:

Main threats and challenges

  • coastal erosion at Mary's Point and adjacent land use changes

Management agency

Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)

Public access and usage

Permitted as posted:

  • hunting
  • trapping
  • fishing
  • wildlife observation
  • hiking
  • photography

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.

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Landscape Conservation Unit
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB E4L 4N1

Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

Related links

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