Baie de L’Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area

Shore marsh and farm buildings in the distance.Photo: Léo-Guy de Repentigny © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Baie de l'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area, landscape.

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The Baie de l'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Area (NWA) encompasses a broad expanse of marshland lying on the south shore of the Upper Estuary of the St. Lawrence River 30 kilometres (km) northeast of Rivière-du-Loup. With an area of 406 hectares (ha), it covers a riparian strip running some 20 km along the St. Lawrence. Established in 1980 by Environment and Climate Change Canada, its purpose is to protect the largest Spartina marsh in southern Quebec, the last great vestige of this habitat vital to the survival of the American Black Duck, which has led to its being designated a Wetland of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention.

The wildlife area consists of intertidal marshes made up of Spartina associations, swamps, farmland, peat bogs and forest patches dominated by Black Spruce. The diversity of its habitats, from the estuarine waters of the intertidal marsh to the forests, contributes to the year-round presence of a large number of animal species. The intertidal marshes with their scattered brackish ponds and the broad swathes of Spartina -dominated herbaceous vegetation provide support for nesting black ducks. More than 130 species of birds are found in this territory, including species at risk such as the Peregrine Falcon.

An estimated 35 000 migratory birds pass through the wildlife area every spring and some 10 000 every fall, among them the Greater Snow Goose, the Canada Goose, the American Black Duck, the Green-winged Teal, the Northern Pintail, the Common Eider, and the Scoter Duck. The wildlife area is considered one of the largest breeding grounds for the American Black Duck in Quebec, and more than 60 other bird species nest within its boundaries. The most common nesting species include the Red-winged Blackbird, the Song Sparrow and the Common yellowthroat. The area is also important to Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, a species that nests very locally in Quebec. Mammals found within the wildlife area include the Snowshoe Hare, American Porcupine, Red Squirrel, Groundhog, Red Fox, muskrat and American Mink.

The wildlife area is exposed to a number of threats and management challenges, such as neighbouring land development, land drainage, the presence of invasive alien species, poaching, and oil spills.

More information on Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA is provided in the summary table below.

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Management Plan (proposed) (PDF; 9.06 MB) (HTML) Comments on the management plan can be directed to Environment and Climate Change Canada via email, by phone or in writing. Contact information is available at the end of the webpage. Consultation Period: October 5, 2016 to December 5, 2016

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 and Climate Change 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 and Climate Change 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 the Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA is restricted to designated areas and at certain times of the year. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points and include: hiking, nature observation and photography. Hunting for migratory birds is permitted in the fall within the wildlife area with an Environment and Climate Change Canada permit with the exception of the restored section of the Rivière-des-Vases and Le Roîtelet trail.

Permits may be issued for research activities in keeping with the priorities set out in the management plan for the wildlife area. Permits may also be issued for other conservation activities such as surveys, or the enhancement or restoration of habitat.

Priority will be given to collaborative activities with local agencies and organizations to promote the protection and the conservation of wildlife species and their habitat in the NWA. For example, initiatives could be launched or continued with the following entities: universities or research centers to address gaps in scientific knowledge; the province to implement recovery measures for species at risk (particularly those falling under provincial jurisdiction); or non-governmental organizations or municipal authorities to build public awareness of the wildlife area's objectives.

More information on access and permitting for Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Notice from Environment and Climate Change Canada

Download PDF version - Notice from Environment and Climate Change Canada [Baie de l'Isle-Verte] (PDF; 146 KB)

Environment and Climate Change Canada would like to inform the public that the Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA--located in the municipalities of Cacouna and Isle-Verte--is a protected area. Since its creation in 1980, the NWA has been protecting migratory birds, wildlife and wetland habitats, including the spartina marsh, an important habitat for the survival of the American black duck and several other species at risk. This area also includes a Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS), where it is specifically prohibited to hunt, take, injure, destroy or disturb migratory birds, their nests or their eggs.

To protect the area, the Department is informing NWA visitors of their obligation to follow certain rules, as dictated by the Canada Wildlife Act, the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act, and corresponding regulations. Anyone who neglects to follow these rules or obey the laws in effect may be subject to fines and prosecution.

Hiking, nature viewing, photography, using the picnic area, and accessing roads and official parking lots by motor vehicle are authorized in designated areas.

Without a permit issued by the Minister, it is strictly prohibited for anyone in the area to:

  • move about (on foot, on any motor vehicle, on horse, etc.) except in designated areas;
  • hunt, particularly in the Rivière-des-Vases and Le Roîtelet development area as well as on the farmland along Rue du Quai road, unless you are hunting migratory birds, in which case you must be in compliance with the authorized periods, conditions, locations and hunting instruments
  • fish;
  • destroy or remove a plant;
  • allow any domestic animal to run at large;
  • swim, picnic (except in designated areas), camp or carry on any other recreational activity or light a fire;
  • operate any mode of transportation;
  • dump or deposit any trash.

For complete information on all applicable regulations, please consult the Canada Wildlife Act, Wildlife Area Regulations, 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act, and Species at Risk Act (SARA).

To file a complaint or report illegal activities, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada by phone at 1-800-668-6767 or by email at

This notice shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any Aboriginal, treaty or other rights of Aboriginal peoples.

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Public Services

Activities and services in the Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA are currently offered by the Corporation PARC Bas Saint-Laurent. Services offered to the public include guided hiking tours, activities to build awareness of wildlife species habitat conservation, and welcome area and information services at the Maison Girard. Please contact that organization for additional information.

Special warnings

Dogs allowed on leash.

Location of wildlife area (access)

Along Route 132, 30 km east of Rivière-du-Loup.

More information on services offered to public can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

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Map of the Area

  • Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA
Long description for the Map

Map showing the area surrounding L'Île-Verte, Quebec, on the edge of the St. Lawrence River. The boundaries of Baie de L'Isle-Verte NWA, as well as those of L'Isle-Verte MBS, are indicated. The wildlife area is divided into multiple sections which follow parts of the shoreline between Highway 132 and the St. Lawrence River. The bird sanctuary overlaps in part with a terrestrial section of the wildlife area and extends into the St. Lawrence near L'Île-Verte. The scale on the map is in km. Permanent water, intertidal water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Baie de l'Isle-Verte National Wildlife Reserve can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

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Summary Table

Summary Table for the Baie de l'Isle-Verte NWA
Protected Area designationNWA
Latitude/longitude48°01' North / 69°21' West
Size322 ha
Reason for Creation of protected areaConservation of species and critical habitats (wetlands) - established with the objective of protecting Spartinamarshes, a habitat vital to the survival of the American Black Duck.
Date created (Gazetted)1980 - Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management CategoryIV - Habitat/Species Management Area: protected area aim to protect particular species or habitats and management reflects this priority.
Additional designations
Keystone or flagship speciesAmerican Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)More than 13 species listed under the Species At Risk Act, including the Short-eared Owl, the Peregrine Falcon, the Bobolink and more than six other species under provincial legislation.
Main habitat typeSpartina marsh in the St. Lawrence Estuary.
Faunistic and floristic importanceThe wildlife area is a site of critical importance for nesting American Black Duck. The area is also vitally important for Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, that could be designated as threatened or vulnerable by the provincial government. In addition, the site serves as a major staging area for the Greater Snow Goose and the Canada Goose.
Invasive speciesPurple loosestrife
Additional links

Birds: Northern Pintail, Common Eider, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat

Mammals: Snowshoe Hare, American Porcupine, Red Squirrel, Groundhog, Red Fox, Muskrat and American Mink.

Main threats and challengesNeighbouring land development, land drainage, the presence of invasive alien species, poaching, and oil spills.
Management AgencyEnvironment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usageAccess restricted to designated areas and at certain times of the year. Activities permitted: Welcome area and information at the Maison Girard, hiking (6 km of trails), and waterfowl hunting in the fall with an Environment and Climate Change Canada permit.

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 and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ecosystem Conservation
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
Québec, Québec
G1J 0C3
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Corporation PARC Bas-Saint-Laurent
43, rue Alexandre, suite 100
Rivière-du-Loup (Qc) G5R 2W2
Phone.number: (418) 867-8882 poste 201
Web Site: Réseau d'Observation de Mammifères Marins (ROMM)
Protected Areas Public Consultations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
15th Floor, Place Vincent Massey
351 St. Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, QC
K1A 0H3
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