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Musquash Estuary - A Protected Treasure

Learn more about the Musquash Estuary marine protected area.


This is the Musquash Estuary - one of Canada's protected treasures.

Estuaries are among the world's most productive ecosystems.

Diverse and unspoiled, this waterway is vital to the health of the Bay of Fundy and a home to a diversity of plant life and thriving communities of fish, birds and other wildlife.

The Musquash Estuary is a Marine Protected Area, situated just a few minutes southwest of Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Musquash Estuary is a shallow tidal ecosystem that winds a path to the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic.

Musquash is unique among the Bay of Fundy's estuaries due to its size, extensive salt marsh and natural state.

Freshwater mixes with saltwater in the estuary, creating fertile conditions for an abundance of plant and animal life.

As the estuary weaves its way to the Bay of Fundy, the shoreline changes dramatically.

In the upper reaches there are low-lying grasslands, called salt marshes that filter sediment and pollution and protect the shoreline from erosion.

In the shallow Musquash Harbour area there are large tidal flats that provide a habitat for a diversity of plants, fish species, and rare birds.

At Musquash Estuary's seaward boundary into the Bay of Fundy there is a narrow and deep entrance between two rocky headlands and many cobble beaches.

Here, the rocky shores and stands of marine plants protect fish from the power of the waves and provide an abundance of food.

With each season the Musquash Estuary is transformed and reveals a new richness and beauty...

Over two decades ago, with many of the original salt marshes in the Bay of Fundy area altered or destroyed by human activity, it became clear the Musquash Estuary needed protection.

As the largest ecologically intact estuary in the Bay of Fundy and one of only a few remaining that has not been significantly impacted by human development, it supports many marine species and important habitats.

Conservation organizations, a local fishermen's association, provincial and federal governments and the local community worked together to protect it.

In 2006, the Musquash Estuary was designated as Canada's sixth "Oceans Act Marine Protected Area." Today Musquash is well cared for through government and grassroots initiatives and partnerships.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages the Marine Protected Area, including part of its intertidal lands, while most of the surrounding lands are protected and managed by conservation organizations and the Government of New Brunswick.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada plays an important role in monitoring the health of the Musquash Marine Protected Area through water sampling, fish surveys, and habitat mapping.

Scientific studies examine such subjects as juvenile fish diversity and the resilience of the local organisms and habitats.

The Musquash Estuary is open to the public for recreational kayaking, boating, canoeing and hiking.

Hikers enjoy an extensive network of trails and a local conservation organization and its volunteers take pride in maintaining them regularly. And every summer, enthusiasts gather to enjoy the Musquash Paddle, an event organized by a local conservation organization.

The Musquash Estuary is truly one of Canada's treasures - an example of unspoiled natural beauty and a vibrant ecosystem.

And as a Marine Protected Area, Canadians can take pride in knowing that the Musquash Estuary will be preserved for generations to come.

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