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Point Lepreau/Maces Bay (NB020)

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Point Lepreau/Maces Bay (NB020)

Bay of Fundy/Baie de Fundy, New Brunswick

Latitude 45.105°N
Longitude 66.520°W
Altitude 0 - 10m
Area 102.39km²

Site Description

Point Lepreau and Maces Bay are located along the northern coast of the Bay of Fundy, about 30 km southwest of Saint John. The point forms the eastern border of Maces Bay, Welch Cove, and Little Lepreau Basin, which make up the marine areas of the site. These marine areas contain intertidal reef ledges bordered by mud flats, and a few shallow inlets. Several islands are also present including New River Island, and The Brothers (Salkeld Islands). Intertidal reefs and waters extend about 10 km south from the point into the Bay of Fundy. The shoreline is low and rises gradually, with low cliffs and reefs exposed at low tide. The tidal range is 6 to 8 m (not as dramatic as the tides of the upper bay).

Birds

The intertidal ledges of Maces Bay are recognized as an important spring staging area for migrating Brant. As many as 2,000 birds have been recorded staging here, although the numbers recorded are generally in the range of 1,000 (about 1% of the estimated eastern North American ssp. hrota population).

Data collected during the late 1970s and early 1980s suggests that the site is especially important for Semipalmated Plovers (possibly as much as 6.6% of the world's estimated population) and Least Sandpipers (over 3% of the world's estimated population). Other shorebirds that concentrate at this site during the fall migration include Semipalmated Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Black-bellied Plover, Sanderling, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Greater Yellowlegs. Large numbers of wintering Purple Sandpipers have also been recorded at this site with some estimates being in excess of 500 birds (just over 5% of the eastern North American wintering population.

In addition to this site's importance for staging geese and shorebirds, Point Lepreau functions as a major concentration point for thousands of migrating waterfowl that travel along the north coast of the Bay Fundy during the spring. Systematic coverage from April 11 to May 5, 1996 yielded the following estimates: Red-throated Loon (3,222); Common Eider (10,143); Oldsquaw (1,305); Black Scoter (35,037); Surf Scoter (15,389); and White-winged Scoter (617). In total, over 65,000 sea ducks migrated past the point, with the number of Black Scoters being particularly interesting (from 17.5 to possibly as much as 44% of the estimated eastern North American population). Wintering Harlequin Ducks from the eastern population (designated as nationally endangered) have also recorded at this site with estimates of ten or more birds being present.

The islands in Maces Bay (New River and The Brothers [Salkeld] islands) support a large colony of about 1,000 pairs of nesting Common Eider (just over 1% of the Atlantic ssp. dresseri population).

Conservation Issues

New Brunswick Powers nuclear plant and an automated lighthouse are stationed at the end of Point Lepreau. Access to the point through the nuclear station lands is restricted and thus disturbance of birds at the end of the point is limited; there is more potential for disturbance within Maces Bay. As with all coastal sites, oil spills pose a potential hazard. Although the migrating sea ducks do not stage at Point Lepreau, the large concentrations are of conservation concern since the ducks funnel through such a small area.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Black Scoter
Number Year Season
3,129 - 3,6172017Spring
16,567 - 35,0371996Spring
Surf Scoter
Number Year Season
4,030 - 15,3891996Spring
Semipalmated Plover
Number Year Season
3,2001990Fall
Red-throated Loon
Number Year Season
2,893 - 3,2221996Spring
Purple Sandpiper
Number Year Season
2002014Spring
5251974Winter
Waterbirds
Number Year Season
65,0001996Spring
Common Eider
Number Year Season
1,9881998Summer
4,983 - 10,1431996Spring
2,1641996Summer
2,0321995Summer