Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area

Notice

Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area trails and parking lot are open to the public for day-use only.

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Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area (NWA) provides habitat for many species of birds and other wildlife. It is particularly important for migratory and breeding waterfowl.

Description

Wallace Bay NWA is located 42 km east of Amherst in northeastern Nova Scotia. It resides at the upper limit of Wallace Harbour on the Northumberland Strait. It is 783 hectares (ha) in size and consists of:

  • marine and freshwater wetlands
  • forested uplands
  • fields
Landscape
Wallace Bay NWA, aerial view. Photo: Randy Hicks

A road and aboiteau across the area divide the wetlands almost equally into marine and freshwater. An aboiteau is a water channel controlled by a hinged door built into a dyke. At low tide, the door swings open allowing fresh water to escape. At high tide, the door swing shut to prevent salt water from getting in.

The marine wetland is made up of tidal channels and salt marsh. In a joint effort with Ducks Unlimited Canada, impounded freshwater wetlands were developed over a large section of lands that were once drained and dyked for agriculture. Habitat management has resulted in significant increases in waterfowl production. Eight species of waterfowl regularly breed at the NWA, including:

  • green-winged teal
  • American black duck
  • northern pintail
  • blue-winged teal
  • northern shoveler
  • American wigeon
  • ring-necked duck
  • hooded merganser

Species that have also been recorded, but not annually, include:

  • wood duck
  • mallard
  • redhead
Common tern
Common tern. Photo: Garry Donaldson

The shallow wetlands afford nesting habitat for several species of regularly breeding marsh birds including:

  • pied-billed grebe
  • American bittern
  • sora
  • American coot
  • Wilson's snipe

Other species observed on occasion and presumed to breed irregularly include:

  • least bittern
  • Virginia rail
  • marsh wren
  • osprey
  • common tern

A list of 155 other bird species have been recorded  within the NWA. Many of these birds nest in the surrounding uplands. Most common land and freshwater mammals of Nova Scotia occur at Wallace Bay NWA. Muskrat are particularly abundant. A pair of bald eagles usually can be seen nesting at the site.

Find more information on Wallace Bay NWA in the summary table below.

Management

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 Wallace Bay NWA is not restricted and 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 Wallace Bay NWA, include:

  1. wildlife viewing
  2. hiking
  3. participating in a group meal or group event involving 15 or more people
  4. operating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and in designated parking areas
  5. swimming
  6. non-commercial picking of edible plants and edible mushrooms
  7. boat launching and boat landing
  8. motorized boating with a motor of less than 10 horsepower
  9. non-motorized boating
  10. cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating
  11. 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
    1. in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for sport hunting in that province; and
    2. without the use of toxic shot
  12. 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 
  13. trapping in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for trapping in that province 
  14. activities referred to in items 1 to 10 and 13 from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)

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

Map of the area

Map of Wallace Bay NWA
Map of Wallace Bay NWA
  • Long description

    This map shows the area near Wallace Bridge and Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia. The boundaries of the Wallace Bay National Wildlife Area are indicated. The protected area is located to the north of Highways 6 and 368. It covers the western portion of Wallace bay as well as a portion of the surrounding land. 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 shows the NWA’s location in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.

Summary table

Summary table of Wallace Bay NWA
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Nova Scotia
Latitude/longitude 45°50' North / 63°34' West
Size 783 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Conservation of coastal wetlands (waterfowl and waterbird habitat)
Date created (Gazetted) 1980 - Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources (VI)
Additional designations None
Keystone or flagship species
Main habitat type
  • Wetland (75.5%)
  • Forest (17.1%)
  • Abandoned Farmland (2.4%)
  • Farmland (5.0%)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)
Invasive species
  • Norway maple
Other species Birds:

Main threats and challenges Increasing coastal development and adjacent land use
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) in partnership with the Department of Lands and Forests, Nova Scotia, and Ducks Unlimited Canada
Public access and usage Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Wallace Bay NWA, include:

  1. wildlife viewing
  2. hiking
  3. participating in a group meal or group event involving 15 or more people
  4. operating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and in designated parking areas
  5. swimming
  6. non-commercial picking of edible plants and edible mushrooms
  7. boat launching and boat landing
  8. motorized boating with a motor of less than 10 horsepower
  9. non-motorized boating
  10. cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating
  11. 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
    1. in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for sport hunting in that province; and
    2. without the use of toxic shot
  12. 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 
  13. trapping in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Nova Scotia for trapping in that province 
  14. activities referred to in items 1 to 10 and 13 from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)

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. 

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, New Brunswick
E4L 4N1

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

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