IBA Point Lepreau/Maces Bay
Bay of Fundy/Baie de Fundy, New Brunswick
Site Summary
NB020 Latitude
45.105° N
66.520° W
0 - 10 m
102.39 km²
tidal rivers/estuaries, mud or sand flats (saline), open sea, inlets/coastal features (marine), coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine)
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research, Fisheries/aquaculture, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Oil slicks, Urban/industrial development
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Waterfowl Concentrations, Continentally Significant: Congregatory Species, Shorebird Concentrations, Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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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).
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).

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Black Scoter 2018 FA 3,725
Black Scoter 1996 - 2019 SP 2,893 - 35,037
Common Eider 1996 SP 10,143
Purple Sandpiper 2014 SP 200
Purple Sandpiper 1974 WI 525
Red-throated Loon 1996 - 2019 SP 315 - 3,222
Semipalmated Plover 1990 FA 3,200
Surf Scoter 1996 - 2018 SP 5,854 - 15,389
Waterbirds 1996 SP 65,000
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
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.

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