Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar (Photo by NCC)

Malbaie Salt Marsh sandbar (Photo by NCC)

Important sandbar in the Gaspé Peninsula protected by NCC

March 13, 2018
Percé, QC


Welcome news for striped bass, Atlantic salmon and 200 bird species that use Malbaie Salt Marsh

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced that it has protected a crucial area on the Gaspé Peninsula. The group has acquired 37 hectares (91 acres), including two kilometres of shoreline, in the Malbaie Salt Marsh ("barachois").

The property is located in the lagoon and on the sandbar that separates the Malbaie Salt Marsh from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the town of Barachois, near Percé.

This beautiful site will remain accessible to area residents, as well as tourists, while being protected for the long term.

This new property adds to the 164 hectares (405 acres) already protected by NCC throughout the Malbaie Salt Marsh.

A key environment for threatened species

The sandbar of the Malbaie Salt Marsh is made up of dunes, beaches and a strip of coastal forest. It provides an important protective barrier and behind it is a wetland area of great diversity.

This site provides feeding habitat for Atlantic salmon (the southern Gaspésie–Gulf of St. Lawrence population), a species of special concern according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The salmon swim up the brackish waters of the barachois to spawn further upstream in the Malbaie River.

The endangered American eel, a threatened species, and the striped bass, a species of special concern according to COSEWIC, feed within the rich lagoon.

The Malbaie Salt Marsh and its sandbar, where more than 200 species have been observed, are also recognized as an Important Bird Area

It is breeding and feeding habitat ground for the yellow rail, a species of special concern according to COSEWIC. The yellow rail is designated as special concern under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

It is also home for the Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow, a species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable under Quebec's Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.

Combining conservation and public accessibility

Due to its spectacular scenery and strategic location in the St. Lawrence River, the property is very popular for recreational activities, such as hiking, bird watching, cycling and sport fishing. The Malbaie Salt Marsh is recognized by amateur fishermen as one of the best striped bass fishing sites in Quebec.

NCC is committed to ensuring that this property remains accessible to the public for these activities. In order to avoid excessive degradation of the natural environment and the disturbance of wildlife, a property management plan will be made. NCC will implement the plan to monitor activities that could have a negative impact on these fragile environments.

These will be identified in consultation with the representatives of the various users of the Malbaie Salt Marsh, as well as with the municipality of Percé. NCC and will aim to maintain the quality of the site in the long term.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada would like to thank the following donors without whom the protection of this property would not have been possible: the Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program; the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Fondation de la faune du Québec.


“Our government congratulates the Nature Conservancy of Canada for its work in the conservation of 37 additional hectares of lagoon and beach at Gaspésie through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Projects such as these connect people with nature and help to protect Canada’s natural heritage.” ~ Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast, including 40,000 hectares (98,942 acres) in Quebec. To learn more, visit

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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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x6240

Andrew Holland
National Media Relations Director
Office: 1-877-231-4400 | Mobile: 506-260-0469

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