Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area pamphlet

Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2015. Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area

What makes Wellers Bay NWA so special?

Wellers Bay National Wildlife Area (NWA) is a long, narrow sand spit with three adjacent small islands (Bald, Fox and Baldhead islands) located in northeastern Lake Ontario. The NWA is part of the Baldhead Peninsula that extends across the mouth of Wellers Bay and is one of the last undeveloped sand spits on Lake Ontario. Large numbers of waterfowl use the sand spit and shallow marshes within Wellers Bay to rest and feed during fall migration. Established in 1978, the 40-hectare NWA protects rare wildlife habitats including open beach, sand dunes, deciduous forest and wetlands.

Wellers Bay NWA is:

  • an important stopover and staging habitat for migratory birds including waterfowl such as the Greater and Lesser Scaup, Canada Goose, Mallard and American Black Duck;
  • home to many species of nesting birds, such as the Spotted Sandpiper, Baltimore Oriole and Belted Kingfisher;
  • home to several federally listed species at risk, including the Least Bittern, Snapping Turtle, Pugnose Shiner and Monarch;
  • the last known nesting location of the endangered Piping Plover on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario; suitable habitat still remains along the shores of Wellers Bay.

What are Environment and Climate Change Canada Protected Areas?

Environment and Climate Change Canada establishes marine and terrestrial NWAs for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. NWAs are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. NWAs are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs) are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and provide a refuge for migratory birds in marine and terrestrial environments. The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 NWAs and 92 MBSs comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What can I do at Wellers Bay NWA?

The sand spit that extends across Wellers Bay and the adjacent waters were used by National Defence as an air weapons range from 1939 to 1953. Public access to Wellers Bay NWA is prohibited, not only to protect the fragile beach and dune ecosystems and sensitive wildlife habitats, but also to reduce the risk of exposure to and injury from unexploded ordnance on the site. Access to, and all activities within, the NWA require a permit. For more information on access and permitting, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service regional office. All permit holders are required to complete specialized safety training. For a complete list of NWAs, including those you can visit, please see our website.

Canada Map
Long description of the map

Location of the NWA on an illustrated map of Canada. The NWA location is indicated by a general annotation in the province of Ontario.

Who can I contact?

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4
1-800-668-6767
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
Protected Area web site
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