Our Work
Projects & Initiatives

Conserving the wetlands of the Wolastoq

Protecting the beauty, the bounty and the good of the Wolastoq

We are partnering with communities, government and industry to make sure that  the important, biodiverse and beautiful wetlands on the Wolastoq (Saint John River) floodplain—and the many communities they support—remain for generations to come. That’s why we have embarked on an ambitious 10-year, $3-million conservation project to renew and restore 4,700 acres (1,900 hectares) of vital freshwater wetland habitat.
beaver dam on wolastoq
Wild rice canoes
conservation project 10 -year
invested to support biodiversity $3 million
of vital freshwater habitats protected 4,700 acres
species at risk supported 45

Our progress

With more than 60 Ducks Unlimited Canada projects on the Wolastoq requiring renewal and restoration, there is much work to do.

Saint John River floodplain map
Here is a map showing our progress to date, as well as the work we have yet to complete over the next decade. Check back often: we will be sharing more details here as we work!

Wildlife and ways of life

The Wolastoqiyik first named this place the Wolastoq, meaning “the beautiful and bountiful river.”

For the people, the wildlife and the lifestyles that rely on Wolastoq, also known as the Saint John River, it is all these things, and more.

The Wolastoq and surrounding floodplain wetlands provide critical habitat and an abundant food source for migratory birds travelling to and from our region. The unique complex of wetlands support biodiversity including 45 species at risk. These same wetlands provide clean water by filtering runoff of pollutants and chemicals and they’re also known for their ability to store and sequester carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change. The Wolastoq provides recreational opportunities, such as birdwatching, canoeing and hiking.

The beautiful and bountiful river has been a vital resource for Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy, Mi’kmaq, and other First Nations who have relied on these waters, including its wetlands, for its essential role in their Nations’ culture, spirituality and sustenance for millennia.

Join us to experience a learning journey of wild rice harvesting in a wetland along the Wolastoq River.

Next steps: A 10-year marathon

  • In 2018, DUC embarked on this decade-long conservation project to enhance 4,700 acres (1,900 ha) of vital wetland habitat along the Wolastoq and to acquire and protect an additional 1,000 acres of natural wetland and associated upland habitat. Raising awareness about the importance of this habitat is also a major outcome of this project.
  • DUC will be replacing water control structures and restoring 25 kilometres of earthen dikes on more than 60 wetland projects. Ensuring this habitat lasts is critical to the ongoing diversity of wildlife.
  • With more than 1,000 nest boxes along the Wolastoq, we will continue to study the use and success of these boxes by cavity nesting waterfowl, such as wood duck and common goldeneye.
  • Partnering with Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tours & Events to conduct a traditional wild rice harvest at wetland projects along the Wolastoq.

Support for species at risk

Duffie’s Meadow and Lower Lincoln, are DUC freshwater marshes located within the lower floodplain that provide habitat to a diversity of wildlife. Duffie’s Meadow is located adjacent to the 9,900-acre (4,000-hectare) Portobello National Wildlife Area (NWA).

Established to protect and conserve wildlife habitat, the NWA is rich with flora and fauna species including 37 provincially rare plant species, large numbers of cavity-nesting waterfowl and breeding habitat for the nationally vulnerable yellow rail and black tern. Both Duffie’s Meadow and Lower Lincoln have traditionally supported impressive numbers of breeding and staging waterfowl and have been important banding sites for Canadian Wildlife Service.

Wolastoq fast facts

Making an Impact

How you can support our work along the Wolastoq

Our work of conserving, protecting, and managing wetlands along the Wolastoq is needed now—and you can help.

Consider making a donation or volunteering with DUC.

Media resources

Materials to support your coverage of wetland conservation efforts along the Wolastoq.

Read the official announcement about DUC’s plans for Wolastoq (Saint John River). 

Ask an expert

  • Photo of Adam Campbell

    Adam Campbell

    Manager of Provincial Operations (Atlantic Region)

    Expertise: Wildlife, species at risk, ecological value

  • Photo of Geoff Harding

    Geoff Harding

    DUC Head of Major Projects, Atlantic Region

    Expertise: DUC projects along the Wolastoq, Conservation partnerships, history

  • Photo of Samantha Brewster

    Samantha Brewster

    DUC Education Specialist, Atlantic Region

    Expertise: Outreach, Communication (French/ English)

  • Photo of Frank Merrill

    Frank Merrill

    DUC Conservation Specialist

    Expertise: Manager of DUC projects along the Wolastoq

  • Photo of Santina Beaton-MacEachern

    Santina Beaton-MacEachern

    DUC Conservation Specialist

    Expertise: DUC projects along the Wolastoq, Nest Box Program


This work would not be possible without many partners

  • AV Group
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Ducks Unlimited Inc.
  • Eastern Habitat Joint Venture
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Landowners
  • Nest Box & Land Monitoring Guardians
  • New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government
  • New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development
  • North America Wetland Conservation Act
  • Pittman Robertson Wildlife Restoration Fund
  • State of Delaware
  • State of Maine
  • State of North Carolina
  • State of Rhode Island
  • University of New Brunswick
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service – North America Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA)
  • Wabanaki Tree Spirit and Tours
  • Wildlife Habitat Canada
  • World Wildlife Fund Canada

Make a donation

You have the power to give future generations the opportunity to experience nature, wildlife and a healthy environment.