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Portage Island National Wildlife Area Management Plan

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Acknowledgements

This management plan was written by Colin MacKinnon of the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada. The Canadian Wildlife Service wishes to thank the following people who have assisted in past surveys on Portage Island National Wildlife Area: Krista Baker, Peter Barkhouse, Sean Blaney, Dave Cartwright, Don Colpitts, Jocelyn Gauvin, Hinrich Harries, Ron Hounsell, Randy Hicks, Jason Hudson, Bruce Johnson, Andrew Kennedy, Lance Laviolette, Mike Malone, Adam Macpherson, Julie McKnight, Dave Morrow and Al Smith. Helen Whitman has been most helpful sourcing early Crown maps of Portage Island. Thanks to Canadian Wildlife Service employees who were involved in the development or review of the document: Kevin Davidson, Al Hanson, Andrew Kennedy, Matthew Horseman and David Boivin.

Copies of this plan are available at the following addresses:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-997-2800
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736

EnviroInfo E-mail

Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
Atlantic Region
17 Waterfowl Lane
Sackville NB E4L 1G6

Environment Canada Protected Areas website

How to cite this document:

Environment Canada. 2014. Portage Island National Wildlife Area Management Plan. Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region, 47 pages.

Unless otherwise specified, you may not reproduce materials in this publication, in whole or in part, for the purposes of commercial redistribution without prior written permission from Environment Canada's copyright administrator. To obtain permission to reproduce Government of Canada materials for commercial purposes, apply for Crown Copyright Clearance by contacting:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-997-2800
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736

EnviroInfo E-mail

About Environment Canada’s Protected Areas and management plans

What are Environment Canada protected areas?

Environment Canada establishes marine and terrestrial National Wildlife Areas for the purposes of conservation, research and interpretation. National Wildlife Areas are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their habitats. National Wildlife Areas are established under the authority of the Canada Wildlife Act and are, first and foremost, places for wildlife. Migratory Bird Sanctuaries are established under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and provide a refuge for migratory birds in the marine and terrestrial environment.

What is the size of the Environment Canada Protected Areas network?

The current Protected Areas Network consists of 54 National Wildlife Areas (NWA) and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBS) comprising more than 12 million hectares across Canada.

What is a management plan?

A management plan provides the framework in which management decisions are made. They are intended to be used by Environment Canada staff to guide decision making, notably with respect to permitting. Management is undertaken in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the protected area and to maintain the attributes for which the protected area was established. Environment Canada prepares a management plan for each protected area in consultation with First Nations and other stakeholders.

A management plan specifies activities that are allowed and identifies other activities that may be undertaken under the authority of a permit. It may also describe the necessary improvements needed in the habitat and specify where and when these improvements should be made. A management plan identifies Aboriginal rights and allowable practices specified under land claims agreements. Further, measures carried out for the conservation of wildlife must not be inconsistent with any law respecting wildlife in the province in which the protected area is situated.

What is protected area management?

Management includes monitoring wildlife, maintaining and improving wildlife habitat, periodic inspections, enforcement of regulations, as well as the maintenance of facilities and infrastructure. Research is also an important activity in protected areas; hence, Environment Canada staff carries out or coordinates research at some sites.

The series

All of the National Wildlife Areas are to have a management plan. All of these management plans will be initially reviewed 5 years after the approval of the first plan, and every 10 years thereafter.

To learn more

To learn more about Environment Canada’s protected areas, please visit our Protected Areas Website or contact the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Portage Island National Wildlife Area

Portage Island National Wildlife Area (NWA) in Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick, is part of a chain of coastal islands, barrier beaches and dunes bordering the east coast of the province. Portage Island NWA represents a unique example of a barrier island, with habitat ranging from non-vegetated sand dunes to interior wetlands and forested dunes. This NWA is home to a diversity of wildlife, including the endangered Piping Plover.

Portage Island consists of a series of sand and gravel coastal beaches and a sand dune system of ridges and shallow ponds or “slacks.” The older sand ridges on the island are vegetated by dune communities, with a progression from Marram Grass (Ammophila breviligulata) in the south to lichen and shrub forest in the north. The dune slacks on the east side of the island and the fringe bordering the island’s sheltered bay are vegetated by salt marsh plant species. Brackish marshes and swamps occupy interior slacks.

The shallow waters around Portage Island NWA and its sheltered bay provide habitat for staging and migrating waterfowl. The dune slacks and interior ponds provide some habitat for breeding waterfowl and marsh birds. Its sand beaches and flats are used by migrating shorebirds, and several pairs of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest on the island.

Composed almost entirely of sand, Portage Island has a geomorphology that is highly dynamic. Over the centuries, the shape of the island has been constantly changing. Erosion has dramatically removed extensive portions along the eastern side of the island, while at the same time accretion has caused an expansion towards the south. Climate change and anticipated sea-level rise will cause this system to be more dynamic in the future.

The Canadian Coast Guard established a lighthouse on Portage Island in 1869. The lighthouse was automated in 1970, and Portage Island was subsequently declared surplus property. Administration of Portage Island was formally transferred to the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) on November 3, 1970, and the island was designated Portage Island NWA on November 8, 1979.

There are no designated roads or buildings on Portage Island NWA. CWS visits the NWA every two years to conduct management activities, including a cursory monitoring of bird abundance and diversity, reporting of wildlife sightings, public use inspection, assessment of the extent of habitat change, and maintenance of regulatory signage.

For greater certainty, nothing in this management plan shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

 
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