Johnsons Mill's, NB (Photo by NCC)

Johnsons Mill's, NB (Photo by NCC)

NCC expands globally important Bay of Fundy conservation area

September 6, 2017
Johnson's Mills, NB


Key land purchase announced on World Shorebirds Day

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is increasing its efforts to protect migratory shorebirds in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by conserving key habitat in the Bay of Fundy. The not-for-profit, private land conservation group has purchased an important 13-hectare (32-acre) coastal site at Johnson’s Mills (near Dorchester, NB), which expands NCC’s existing shorebird reserve to 227 hectares (562 acres). 

The Johnson’s Mills conservation area is a renowned haven in the upper Bay of Fundy for many species of shorebirds, in particular the semipalmated sandpiper. Tens of thousands of semipalmated sandpipers rest and feed here midway through their marathon late-summer migration from the Arctic to South America. Their long-term survival depends on the conservation of the area’s mudflats and roosting beaches, where the sandpipers feed and rest before their three-day, non-stop journey to their wintering grounds.

NCC’s latest conservation announcement marks World Shorebirds Day as well as the 30th anniversary of the Upper Bay of Fundy’s designation as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Site of Hemispheric Importance. Johnson’s Mills is also internationally recognized as part of the Shepody Bay Ramsar site. 
The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to thank the family of the late Emma and John Johnson for working with NCC to conserve this property. The new conservation area features Acadian forest, more than 270 metres of Bay of Fundy shoreline and mudflats, and provincially significant salt marshes. The wish of the Johnson family was that the land be protected for wildlife for the long term.

Approximately 30 per cent of the global population of semipalmated sandpipers stopover in the Bay of Fundy while on their southern migration. Other shorebirds commonly observed at Johnson’s Mills include semipalmated plover, least sandpiper, white-rumped sandpiper and black-bellied plover. NCC’s lands also provide crucial habitat for two species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA): the red knot and peregrine falcon.

This Nature Conservancy of Canada project was generously supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act), the Gosling Foundation and many individual donors also supported this conservation project.


“The Nature Conservancy of Canada thanks the Government of Canada and all the donors who contributed to this new project. By doing so, you have helped us safeguard another piece of this very special Bay of Fundy wildlife habitat. Together, we are making a global impact for shorebirds, which are facing serious threats.”

Denise Roy, Conservation Representative, Nature Conservancy of Canada

“We are proud to support the Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program in their work to protect an additional 13 hectares of vital shorebird habitat in the Bay of Fundy. This program shows what we can achieve when we work together towards our conservation goals.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


• Since 2000, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has owned and operated an interpretive centre at Johnson’s Mills, which is open to the public during the summer. It is a popular destination for both tourists and local nature and birding enthusiasts. Donations towards this facility and continued stewardship of these lands are greatly appreciated.

• Semipalmated sandpipers weigh 20 grams when they first arrive in Johnson’s Mills from the Arctic. The birds must double their weight during their three-week stopover in order to survive their migration south.

• Some of the funding for this conservation project was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a U.S. Act passed by the United States Congress in 1989 to conserve North American wetland ecosystems and waterfowl. For more information, visit

• The Upper Bay of Fundy, which includes NCC’s Johnson’s Mills site, was the first Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site designated in Canada and the second one in the world after Delaware Bay in the United States. Today, there are six designated sites in Canada and a total of 97 WHSRN sites in 15 countries. Collectively, these conserve more than 14.8 million hectares (36.7 million acres) of shorebird habitat.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. This includes 29,500 hectares (73,000 acres) in the Atlantic provinces.

The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership to accelerate the pace of land conservation across southern Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) manages the program. Federal funds are matched by contributions raised by NCC and its partners. Habitat conserved under the NACP enhances natural corridors and other protected areas.

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Kathryn Morse
Director of Communications - Atlantic Provinces

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