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Natural Environment

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 Wetlands Insititute.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Tidnish River Area [sic], Chignecto Canal Area, November 5, 1931.

Tantramar river and marsh in winter.

photo of road and barns.
river at low tide.

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