Rugged shoreline, lush salt marshes and fertile valleys—this is Nova Scotia. Canada’s ocean playground is one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. Coastal regions support colonies of sea ducks and shore birds like eiders and black ducks and piping plovers. Sprawling freshwater wetlands on the Tantramar Marshes provide habitat for every animal from mallard to moose.
Nova Scotia’s wetlands and coastal areas support waterfowl from as far south as the Caribbean to as far north as the sub-Arctic. They give birds a place to nest and raise their young. They filter water, protect our coastlines, and give people a place to connect with nature.
Why Nova Scotia’s Wetlands are Threatened
Wetlands in Nova Scotia 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.
But our changing environment is putting them 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 Nova Scotia
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.
Coastal Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore is coveted recreational land. It’s also critical habitat for waterfowl like the common eider and black duck. By working with partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) helps ensure this important habitat is conserved.
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 are 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.
Our world-class scientists 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.
Eider and black duck research
DUC, in partnership with Acadia University, is researching black duck and eider population trends in coastal Nova Scotia. Tracking the birds with satellite transmitters, We’re working to understand why these birds numbers have fluctuated in recent years and determine potential threats such as pollution and other human activities.
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.
Our 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.
Discovering what slithers, swims and hops in wetlands is part of DUC’s Project Webfoot. This unique education program combines in-class resources and teaching with wetland field trips and hands-on learning, and connects students to nature. DUC delivers Project Webfoot to classes across Atlantic Canada and has reached more than 150,000 students.
Wetland Centres of Excellence
DUC established its first elementary school Wetland Centre of Excellence (WCE) at Somerset and District Elementary School in 2014. Thanks to funding from the Cornwallis Headwaters Society, students are learning about wetlands and the environment in their school’s wetland room, and getting their hands dirty and their boots muddy on field trips to nearby Miner’s Marsh.
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.
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We've partnered with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq to monitor our salt marsh restoration at Wallace Bay in Nova Scotia, a project that will help combat coastal erosion, provide habitat for fish and hopefully lead to a resurgence of sweetgrass, a common salt marsh plant, and one that’s particularly important to the Mi’kmaq.
Nova Scotia’s Amy Smith is a jack of all trades—a veteran event volunteer who’s seasoned at everything from chairing a committee to designing programs and selling raffle tickets at fundraisers across her home province.
There’s no better place to celebrate biodiversity and World Wetlands Day 2020 than Atlantic Canada’s Missaquash Marsh.