IBA Beaches of Pokemouche and Grand Passage
Inkerman, New Brunswick
Site Summary
NB006 Latitude
47.664° N
64.772° W
0 - 5 m
24.71 km²
mixed woods (temperate), tidal rivers/estuaries, mud or sand flats (saline), bog, inlets/coastal features (marine)
Land Use:
Fisheries/aquaculture, Tourism/recreation, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Extraction industry, Hunting, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (potential)
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Site Description
This site is located on the east shore of northeast New Brunswick, about 20 km southeast of the town of Caraquet and 20 km northeast of the town of Tracadie. The town of Inkerman is located just 2 km to the west. The site is characterized by a system of barrier beaches and dunes that shield several bays and salt marshes from the ocean. It is comprised of two main sections: Grand Passage beach in the north and the Plover Ground (north region) beaches and sand dunes to the south. All of these beaches are wide and sandy with the upper portions being colonized by early successional species such as Short-liguled Ammophila.
This system of beaches, barrier dunes, and bays supports a significant portion of Atlantic Canadas breeding Piping Plover (near globally threatened, nationally endangered) population. Over an 11-year period (1987 to 1997) an average of 20 adult Piping Plovers was recorded at this site. During the 1991 International Piping Plover Census, 25 Piping Plovers were recorded in total (4.9% of the Atlantic Canada population). When the areas were re-surveyed during the 1996 International census, 9 birds were observed, which represented 2.1% of the Atlantic Canada population for that year. Within the site, Piping Plovers are most commonly found at Grand Passage beach, with an average of about 15 birds observed per year.

Grand Passage has been noted for high concentrations of Black Ducks, with as many as 300 individuals observed during the spring nesting season, although no nests have yet been confirmed. Shorebirds, such as Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs are common at Plover Ground during fall migration.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Piping Plover 2014 - 2016 FA 7 - 9
Piping Plover 2004 - 2014 SP 5 - 9
Piping Plover 1987 - 2017 SU 4 - 41
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
As with many other Piping Plover beaches in the Maritimes, one of the most significant conservation issues is recreational beach use. At Plover Ground, beach users often inadvertently disturb the nesting birds, which often leads to nest abandonment and reduced productivity. The Piper Project is a special project of the New Brunswick Federation of Naturalists. Its objectives are to protect and educate the public about coastal ecosystems, especially Piping Plover habitat. In consultation with the Canadian Wildlife Service, for over a decade, Project Piper has been completing annual Piping Plover surveys at this site. This has led to the identification of the main beaches as Core Sites in the New Brunswick Piping Plover Atlas. Project Piper has also started a program with symbolic fences, and educational programs.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Birds Canada