IBA Restigouche River Estuary
Dalhousie, New Brunswick
Site Summary
NB001 Latitude
48.074° N
66.470° W
0 m
150.83 km²
mud or sand flats (saline), inlets/coastal features (marine)
Land Use:
Fisheries/aquaculture, Tourism/recreation, Urban/industrial/transport
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Industrial pollution, Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Nationally Significant: Waterfowl Concentrations
Conservation status: IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
Restricted access for IBA coordinators
Login name: Password:


View in mobile

Site Description
The Restigouche River Estuary, which is located on the south side of the Gaspe Peninsula, eventually widens into Chaleur Bay on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The boundary between the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec is located down its middle.

Locally, the site can be identified as the area between McLeods Siding to the west, the west wharf of Dalhousie to the east, and extending north to the Quebec shoreline. The width of this area varies from four to six km and is approximately 15 km in length.

The river estuary is generally shallow with an average depth of less than three to four metres. A deeper channel is located down the middle. Much of the substrate on the south side of the Estuary is comprised of submerged mud flats that have concentrations of mussels and other marine life. The water is of sufficient salinity to support a diversity of marine life.

The Restigouche River Estuary is identified as an Important Bird Area primarily due to the number of Black Scoters that stage there during spring migration. During the last few years over 11,000 Black Scoters have been observed in the Estuary between mid to late April and the end of May. It has been reported that the birds arrive within 24 hours of ice-out and consistent numbers remain until the end of May (i.e., there is no gradual buildup or decline). This number of birds represents between 3% and 14% of the eastern North American population (the status and size of the population is poorly known).

In addition to Black Scoters, the Estuary is also used as a staging area by Surf Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers and (to a lesser degree) Common Mergansers. During the breeding season at least five pairs of Osprey make use of the Estuary with Common Eiders also using it as a feeding area.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Barrow's Goldeneye 2014 - 2015 FA 42 - 140
Barrow's Goldeneye 1998 WI 110
Black Scoter 1996 - 1997 SP 11,000
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
The port of Dalhousie regularly handles oil, mining concentrates, chemical products from the local chemical plant, and large shipments of paper products. The paper mill currently discharges little or no pollution directly into the water. No conservation measures are currently in progress.

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