Shepody National Wildlife Area

Aerial view of the NWA with view on beaches, a forest and surrounding water. Shepody NWA, aerial view @  Colin MacKinnon, Environment Canada.
Shepody National Wildlife Area - aerial view © Colin MacKinnon Environment Canada


Black Duck on water. Black Duck @ Environment Canada.Shepody National Wildlife Area (NWA) was established in 1980 and is comprised of the Germantown Marsh, Mary's Point and New Horton sections that are situated on and adjacent to Chignecto and Shepody Bays. Shepody National Wildlife Area was also designated as a Ramsar site, its wetlands having been recognized as having international significance because it supports large numbers of mud shrimp, the principle food source for millions of fall migrating shorebirds to Central and South America; primarily the Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Both the Germantown Marsh and New Horton sections were largely former lakes, bogs and salt marsh that many years ago had been drained and converted to farmland with the installation of dikes and aboiteau that held back tidal waters. Since being incorporated into the NWA these marshes have been restored, with the assistance of Ducks Unlimited Canada, with earth dikes and shallowly flooded with fresh water to replace wetland habitat that was formerly lost. The Mary's Point section that is situated on the coast where Shepody and Chignecto Bay converge is comprised of a large salt marsh, extensive inter-tidal mud flats and a forested peninsula that extends out into Shepody Bay. This peninsula is made up of a sand/gravel beach, sand dunes, rocky cliffs and inter-tidal ledges. Mary’s Point has a rich human history and in the mid to late 19th century supported a small community centred around the quarrying of sandstone. The adjacent rich mudflats support marine algae and abundant invertebrates that make this section so important to foraging and roosting shorebirds during their southern migration.

Flock of shorebirds in flight. Shorebird flock @ Vishalla Singh, Environment Canada.The impounded wetlands of Shepody NWA provide important production, staging and migration habitat for waterfowl including Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Duck that regularly breed within the NWA. The freshwater wetlands further provide some of the best nesting habitat in the Atlantic Provinces for a variety of marsh birds such as the Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, and Sora. The salt marshes support staging and migration habitat for waterfowl with the inter-tidal mud flats and gravel beaches providing migration habitat for shorebirds including the Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers among others. The dominant species is the Semipalmated Sandpiper which roosts on the beach at Mary’s Point in the thousands during peak migration.  Mary’s Point, along with adjacent Ha Ha Bay,is also a component of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). Environment Canada administers a self interpreting visitor centre at Marys Point; open weekdays throughout July and August.

The NWA further provides habitat for many mammal species found including the Meadow Vole, Mink, River Otter, Snowshoe Hare, Eastern Coyote, Bobcat, White-tailed Deer and Moose.

More information on Shepody NWA is provided in the summary table below.

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National Wildlife Areas (NWAs) are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. Nonetheless, Environment Canada has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Access to Shepody NWA is not restricted and activities may be permitted in accordance with the conservation objectives of the NWA management plan. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points and include: wildlife observation, hiking and photography. Hunting, trapping and fishing are permitted in accordance with relevant federal and provincial regulations as well as specified conditions such as standards recommended by the federal/provincial committee on humane trapping.

More information on access and permitting for Shepody NWA, can be obtained by contacting the Environment Canada regional office.

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Map of the Shepody NWA

Map showing the Shepody National Wildlife Area boundaries. Details can be found below.

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Summary Table for Shepody NWA

This table provides summary information for Shepody NWA
Protected Area designationNational Wildlife Area
Province/territoryNew Brunswick
Latitude/longitude45°44' N / 64°45' W
Size in hectares (ha)979  ha
Reason for creation of protected areaConservation of shorebird roosting habitat and waterfowl and waterbird wetland habitat.
Date created (Gazetted) 1980 – Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management CategoryIV – Habitat / Species Management Area
Additional designations
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)None recorded
Main habitat typeWetland (83.4%), Forest (13.8%), Abandoned Farmland (2.8%)
Invasive speciesPurple Loosestrife, Reed Canarygrass.
Additional links

Birds: Semipalmated Sandpipers, Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked duck, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Sora Rail, Black-bellied Plover and Semipalmated Plover.

Mammals: Meadow Vole, Mink, River Otter, Snowshoe Hare, Eastern Coyote, Bobcat, White-tailed Deer and Moose.

Main threats and challengesCoastal erosion at Mary’s Point and adjacent land use changes.
Management AgencyEnvironment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usageHunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife observation, hiking and photography are permitted as posted.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

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Contact Information

Environment Canada – Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville, NB
E4L 4N1
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)