Shepody National Wildlife Area

Aerial view of the Shepody NWA
Photo: Colin MacKinnon © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Shepody National Wildlife Area - aerial view.

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Shepody National Wildlife Area (NWA) was established in 1980 and is comprised of the Germantown Marsh, Mary's Point and New Horton sections that are situated on and adjacent to Chignecto and Shepody Bays. Shepody NWA was also designated as part of a Ramsar site, its wetlands having been recognized as having international significance because it supports large numbers of mud shrimp, the principle food source for millions of fall migrating shorebirds to Central and South America; primarily the Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Both the Germantown Marsh and New Horton sections were largely former lakes, bogs and salt marsh that many years ago had been drained and converted to farmland with the installation of dikes and aboiteau that held back tidal waters. Since being incorporated into the NWA these marshes have been restored, with the assistance of Ducks Unlimited Canada. By creating earth dikes, the marshes were shallowly flooded with fresh water to replace wetland habitat that was formerly lost. The Mary's Point section that is situated on the coast where Shepody and Chignecto Bay converge is comprised of a large salt marsh and a forested peninsula that extends out into Shepody Bay. This peninsula is made up of a sand/gravel beach, sand dunes, rocky cliffs and inter-tidal ledges. Mary's Point has a rich human history and in the mid to late 19th century supported a small community centred around the quarrying of sandstone. The adjacent rich mudflats (not currently part of the NWA) support marine algae and abundant invertebrates that make this section so important to foraging and roosting shorebirds during their southern migration.

The impounded wetlands of Shepody NWA provide important production, staging and migration habitat for waterfowl including American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Duck. The freshwater wetlands further provide some of the best nesting habitat in the Atlantic Provinces for a variety of marsh birds such as the Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, and Sora. The salt marshes support staging and migration habitat for waterfowl with the inter-tidal mud flats and gravel beaches providing migration habitat for shorebirds including the Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers among others. The dominant species is the Semipalmated Sandpiper which roosts on the beach at Mary's Point in the thousands during peak migration. Mary's Point, along with adjacent Ha Ha Bay, is also a site in the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). Environment and Climate Change Canada administers a self interpreting visitor centre at Marys Point; open weekdays throughout July and August.

The NWA further provides habitat for many mammal species found including the Meadow Vole, Mink, River Otter, Snowshoe Hare, Eastern Coyote, Bobcat, White-tailed Deer and Moose.

More information on Shepody NWA is provided in the summary table below.

Planning Your Visit

Shepody is a wonderful place for hiking, wildlife observation, and photography especially in the spring and fall when huge numbers of shorebirds pass through the NWA. A shorebird interpretation centre is located at Mary's Point within the wildlife area and is operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Interpretation programming for children and adults is offered on site during the spring, summer, and fall.

Public facilities: washrooms and a small Shorebird Research and Interpretation Centre at Mary's Point.

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


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

Mary's Point Unit Shorebird Interpretation Centre: 45.727666, -64.672663

New Horton Unit: 45.690717, -64.708592

More information on access and permitting for Shepody NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the Area

  • Shepody NWA
Long description for the Map

Map showing the west side of the Chignecto Bay in New Brunswick. The boundaries of the Shepody NWA are indicated. The NWA covers three different distinct units Mary's Point Unit covers land South of Shepody Bay. The New Horton Unit covers a similarly sized area as the first and contains the waters running from New Horton lake downstream to Chignecto Bay. The Germantown Marsh Unit, biggest of the three, contains a network of water that feeds into the Shepody River. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Shepody NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and 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) Least Bittern
Main habitat type Wetland (83.4%), Forest (13.8%), Abandoned Farmland (2.8%)
Invasive species Purple Loosestrife, Reed Canarygrass.
Additional links

Birds: Semipalmated Sandpipers, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked duck, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Sora, Black-bellied Plover and Semipalmated Plover.

Mammals: Meadow Vole, Mink, River Otter, Snowshoe Hare, Eastern Coyote, Bocat, White-tailed Deer and Moose.

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 Hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife observation, hiking and photography are 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 prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Landscape Conservation Unit
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, New Brunswick
E4L 4N1
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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