Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary | Access and Activities | Map of the Area | Summary Table | Contact Information

Photo of Areal view of Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Photo: Christine Lepage © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Areal view of Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

The Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, west of the city of Nicolet. Bordering Lake Saint-Pierre, the sanctuary stretches along this widening of the River from Île Moras to the east all the way to la Longue Pointe in the west. This low elevation site extends over 2.5 kilometres in width and is almost entirely water-logged during spring flooding. The MBS encompasses the property of the Department of National Defence.

The sanctuary was established in 1982 to protect waterfowl. This 2937 hectare protected area is characterized by a series of different habitats, changing from wet grasslands to swamps and marshes as the land nears the water. Consisting primarily of river bulrush, the marsh near the lake remains submerged at all times. Beyond this permanently flooded zone, the area becomes gradually dryer as summer approaches, giving way to a plant-rich herbaceous meadow of Bluejoint Grass, Reed Canarygrass and Tufted Vetch. The shrub layer is formed of Silver Maple, Speckled Alder and willows. In 1988, Ducks Unlimited developed a 140 hectare marsh within the boundaries of the sanctuary in order to improve the waterfowl habitat.

Importance of the Migratory Bird Sanctuary

The Nicolet MBS is an important staging area for waterbirds and also a prime location for waterfowl nesting along the St. Lawrence. In the spring, the entire flooded area attracts an impressive number of geese, as well as a large number and a great diversity of dabbling ducks. During fall migration, over 8000 dabbling ducks use the sanctuary as a staging area, as do Canada Geese and several other species of waterbirds.

During nesting season, several species of ducks, including Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal and Ruddy Duck all share the sanctuary. Other bird species seen in the summer season are Killdeer, Least Bittern, Spotted Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Black Tern, American Bittern, Swamp Sparrow, Sora, Common Yellowthroat and Wilson's Phalarope.

Access and Activities

MBSs are established for the protection and conservation of migratory birds. Activities that could harm migratory birds, their nests or their eggs are prohibited.

MBSs can be and have been established on private, provincial, territorial and federally owned lands. Access to each MBS varies by site and is at the discretion of the landowner and land manager.

Where MBSs are located on federal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the management and protection of migratory birds, nests, eggs and habitat. Where MBSs are located on provincial land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests, while the chief game officer of the province is responsible for the management of habitat. Where MBSs are located on private or municipal land, Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the protection of migratory birds and their nests. Habitat management is the responsibility of the landowner.

The standard prohibitions under the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Regulations apply to Nicolet MBS: hunting migratory birds is prohibited, and no person shall disturb, destroy or take the nest of a migratory bird or have in his or her possession a live migratory bird, or a carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird, except under the authority of a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada or unless specifically authorized by the Regulations. Possession of firearms or other hunting appliances is prohibited, and dogs and cats must not be allowed to run at large.

Access denial or restrictions imposed by the owners of land within the MBS may also apply.

For more information on entry, activities and permits in MBSs, please visit the Management and Activities section of the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries website. For more information on protected areas managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada in Quebec, please contact the regional office.

For greater certainty, nothing in this document shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Map of the Area

Long description of the map

Map showing the location of Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary relative to Quebec, Île Moras, Rivière Nicolet and Lac Saint-Pierre. The map shows the boundaries of the sanctuary, which covers a portion of Lac Saint-Pierre and extends inland. The scale of the map is in kilometers.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary 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.

Summary table

Summary table for Nicolet Migratory Bird Sanctuary
CategoryInformation
Protected Area designationMigratory Bird Sanctuary
Province or territoryQuebec
Latitude/longitude46 °12' 00" N 72° 40' 00" W
Size in hectares (ha)2937 ha
Date created (Gazetted)1982
International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) management categoryIa - Strict Nature Reserve
Additional designations
Main habitat typeSeries of different habitats: aquatic, river bulrush marsh, swamp, woodland and wet grassland
Key bird speciesLeast Bittern, Sora, Ruddy Duck and Common Gallinule
Other speciesBirds: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalarope, Black Tern, American Bittern, Swamp Sparrow, and Common Yellowthroat Amphibians and reptiles: SnappingTurtle, Leopard Frog and Green Frog. Mammals: Raccoon, Muskrat, Snowshoe Hare, Red Squirrel, Northern Flying Squirrel, White-tailed Deer Plants: River Bulrush, Reed Canarygrass,
Red Ash, Bluejoint Grass, Tufted Vetch, Silver Maple, Speckled Alder and Willow spp.
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)Least Bittern
Management agencyCanadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
801-1550, avenue d'Estimauville
9250 - 49th Street
Québec, Quebec G1J 0C3
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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