New Brunswick is home to sandy beaches and salt marshes brimming with life. The Tantramar Marshes stretch flat across the Chignecto Isthmus. Rivers like the St. John and Miramichi run like veins through the province, creating floodplains and wetlands critical to waterfowl and wildlife. These are places worth conserving.
New Brunswick’s wetlands and coastal areas support waterfowl from as far south as the Caribbean to as far north as the sub-Arctic. They supply birds with a place to nest and raise their young. They filter water, protect our coastlines, and give people a place to connect with nature.
Why New Brunswick’s Wetlands are Threatened
Wetlands in New Brunswick provide critical habitat for millions of migrating waterfowl. They buffer high tides and storms that cause erosion and flooding. They give people places to fish, hike, canoe, hunt, and find solace.
Our changing environment is putting wetlands at risk. Extreme weather. Rising sea levels. Urban development. Land conversion. Sixty-five per cent of wetlands in Canada’s coastal areas have been altered or destroyed. It’s time for conservation efforts that will protect the defining natural features of Canada’s east coast. These are treasures we can’t afford to lose.
How We’re Saving Wetlands in New Brunswick
As one of Canada’s most trusted conservation organizations, we conserve at-risk wetlands before we lose them, targeting areas with high rates of wetland loss. We’re experts in habitat restoration. We can bring drained and damaged wetlands back to life.
But we can’t do it alone. Every single acre we’ve restored is thanks to our dedicated landowners, volunteers and supporters.
Bay of Fundy dykelands
The Tantramar marshlands stretch south of Sackville, N.B. like a swath of prairie landscape on the Bay of Fundy. Livestock graze and hayfields sway in the summer breeze. Across this flat expanse, DUC is working to return non-productive agricultural areas to productive wetlands.
Dams, dykes and fishways
Across Atlantic Canada, DUC manages more than 52,000 acres of wetlands and 550 water controls and dykes. One hundred and sixty of these projects are equipped with fishways to help fish pass in and out of wetlands. DUC will rebuild key projects on an annual basis so that these habitats continue to sustain waterfowl, fish and other wildlife.
Atlantic Canada has a strong history of partnering with governments. It’s leading the country in developing effective policies that protect wetlands. Government relations and collaboration are key to our success.
Protecting wetlands before they’re altered or destroyed is the ideal conservation measure. This is best achieved through wetland conservation policies and regulations. All Maritime provinces have strong policies that support wetland conservation.
World-class scientists at Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) are discovering the impacts of human activity on Atlantic Canada’s landscape, and these discoveries are helping inform public policy. They’re providing answers to some of the provinces’ most pressing environmental concerns. From fishways to salt marsh restoration, our research is making a difference for wildlife and people.
Beaubassin Research Centre
Nestled on Beauséjour Marsh near the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border, the site of the Beaubassin Research Centre has a rich history. Both Aboriginal peoples and Acadian settlers used it as a meeting place.
Today, it’s DUC’s hub for wetland and waterfowl research in Atlantic Canada. This world-class facility is a partnership between DUC, Acadia University and Irving Oil. Conservation agencies like DUC as well as university students conduct research here to better understand the natural world.
Salt marsh restoration
DUC research is providing insight into how salt marshes can help mitigate the effects of rising seas. In 2008, waves were destroying an agricultural dyke in Aulac, N.B. intended to keep water in the bay’s Cumberland Basin from flooding farmland on the Tantramar Marshes. By restoring a salt marsh between the damaged dyke and a newly constructed one, waves were buffered. Today, the marsh’s soil and vegetation help stabilize the area.
Atlantic Fishway Initiative
DUC is partnering with universities across Atlantic Canada to research and build better fishways, including nature-like fishways, which accommodate a wider variety of fish.
DUC’s education programs are shaping Atlantic Canada’s conservation leaders. We’re bringing the wonder of wetlands into people’s lives by delivering education that provides outdoor learning opportunities.
Wetland Centres of Excellence
Students at DUC’s Wetland Centres of Excellence (WCE) spend class time outside in a marsh learning about wetland critters and wildlife, and teaching what they learn to others. Students from nearby elementary schools make trips to WCEs to learn about wetlands from the high schoolers.
Find out more about the WCE program
Atlantic Canada is home to two DUC interpretive centres: the Ducks Unlimited Conservation Centre in Fredericton, N.B. and the Wetland Interpretive Centre in Shubenacadie, N.S. Both facilities are education hubs, giving students up-close encounters with nature.
As the Ducks Unlimited Conservation Centre approaches 20th year in operation, it’s in need of updates and maintenance to enrich the learning experience of each guest who visits. Learn what’s planned for the centre and how you can help us achieve this important goal.
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Tantramar Grasslands Co-operative partners with organizations like DUC to ensure a healthy future for the land, and everyone who uses it.
No longer limited by geography, DUC's education team is introducing students across the Atlantic provinces—and across Canada—to wetlands.
Watch and learn about the wood ducks and hooded mergansers using nest boxes installed by a DUC volunteer in New Brunswick—and see newly hatched ducklings!