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Buctouche Bar (NB007)

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Buctouche Bar (NB007)

Bouctouche, New Brunswick

Latitude 46.481°N
Longitude 64.668°W
Altitude 0 - 5m
Area 72.59km²

Site Description

Bouctouche Bar is on the east (Northumberland Strait) shore of New Brunswick. It encloses the estuary of Bouctouche River and Bouctouche Bay, about 25-35 km north-northwest of the town of Shediac, and 8 km east of the village of Bouctouche. It is a barrier-dune sandspit, about 11 km long and 100 to 400 m wide, which is connected to the mainland at the north end. The sand dunes are partially vegetated with marram grass; brackish ponds, inlets and salt marshes are located along the landward edge. Two species of butterflies with Canadian ranges mostly restricted to eastern New Brunswick have been recorded at this site: the Salt Marsh Copper, and the Short-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly.

Birds

Bouctouche Bar supports a nationally significant population of breeding Piping Plovers. Unfortunately populations have declined in recent years. During the 1991 International Piping Plover census, a total of 14 birds was recorded at Bouctouche Bar (about 3.2% of the Atlantic Canada population recorded that year). However, during the 1996 International census, a total of only 5 birds was recorded (about 1.2% of the Atlantic Canada population recorded that year). In 1997, 3 pairs of Piping Plovers were present. They successfully raised 10 fledglings.

In addition to Piping Plovers, a variety of shorebirds make use of the sandbar during fall migration. Surveys during the summer of 1997 recorded almost 20 shorebird species with as many as 500 birds being recorded on some days. The Brackish ponds, located on the leeward side of the barrier beach, are used by large numbers of feeding Great Blue Herons and waterfowl (mainly teal and American Black Ducks). A small colony of Common Terns is sometimes present on the southerly tip of the dune (approximately 50 nests maximum).

Conservation Issues

For many years, Bouctouche Bar has been subjected to excessive use by all-terrain vehicles. This has resulted in damage to the sand-dune system, and direct disturbance of the nesting Piping Plovers. Recently (1997), the forestry company J.D. Irving Ltd. developed a facility called Irving Ecocentre - La Dune de Bouctouche at the base of the sandspit. The main purpose of this facility is to restore the sensitive dune habitat, and to serve as an educational facility for schoolchildren, special groups, and the public in general. On the first 1.8 km of the dune, a boardwalk has been built to allow visitors to experience the sandspit without damaging its more sensitive features. There is also strict enforcement to exclude all-terrain vehicles.

Bouctouche Bar has been identified as a Core Site in the New Brunswick Piping Plover atlas. Core sites are defined as "those areas that must be protected in order to ensure the survival and recovery of the Piping Plover in New Brunswick.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Piping Plover
Number Year Season
102014Summer
52013Fall
82006Summer
4 - 112001Summer
62000Summer
101999Summer
4 - 61997Summer
51996Summer
5 - 141991Summer