Situated at the upper end of the Bay
of Fundy, straddling the modern-day border between the Provinces of
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Tantramar Marshes area form one of
the largest tidal saltmarshes (20,230 hectares) on the Atlantic coast
of North America. The marshland zone consists of broad expanses of flat
lowlands. Barely above mean sea level, the marshes exhibit deep silts
deposited by centuries of tidal flooding. Flanking and interspersing
the marsh are pronounced upland ridges that rise some 30-50 metres above
the marshes. The low elevations and the long history of tidal flooding
of the marsh floor also means that natural drainage is poor creating
shallow lakes and bogs, some of which carry an extensive cover of sedges
and expanses of tree cover such as hackmatack (Tamarack or Eastern Larch).
Slow moving, deeply incised meandering rivers form an important part
of the landscape, all of which provides a rich and productive habitat
for wildlife and the great populations of migratory birds that stop
on the marshes as they fly between summer habitats in Northern Canada
and winter habitats in more favourable climate zones to the south. The
grasses that dominated the marshes before they were replaced by European
settlers were necessarily salt tolerant species such as cord grass (Spartina
altinaflora) which formed a growth pattern that bound the silty soils
tightly together, stabilizing the surface against excessive erosion.
Within the tidal zone on the seaward edges of the marsh, and in the lower
tidal reaches of the streams flowing from the marsh, the exceptionally
high tides characteristic of the Bay of Fundy produced a remarkable nursery
and habitat for many species of freshwater and estuarine life. For more
on the scientific study of this environment visit the Coastal
Click on the image to enlarge.
© 2004 Mount Allison University
Sackville, New Brunswick
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This project was made possible -in part or entirely - through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.