Finding Our Special Places

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to many important and sensitive wildlife habitats. The iconic puffin, the fish that swim our rivers, and the shorebirds that visit our coastlines each fall are just some of the things that make our biodiversity special.  

Wetlands, estuaries, and beaches are interesting habitats that typically support higher concentrations of wildlife, and have long been the focus of our program. In a two-year project supported by WHC that is now drawing to completion, we have spent time identifying these habitats in our province.

Working in close partnership with the NL Wildlife Division, we have completed an inventory, database, and map of special wildlife habitats found across our province, with a special focus on birds. We have drawn together various current and historical sources of data (such as the Sensitive Beaches in NL report from the former Protected Areas Association of NL, the CPAWS NL Special Marine Areas Guide, DFO’s eelgrass mapping research, Ducks Unlimited Canada research and reports, the Atlantic Canada Shorebird Survey, Atlantic Canada’s Natural Heritage Areas, Tingley’s 1992 Inventory of Selected Waterfowl Sites in Newfoundland, public data sources such as eBird, and many more government, NGO, and other data and documents.


It is our hope that this project will serve to highlight Newfoundland and Labrador’s special places, and that it may, in some cases, guide future awareness or conservation efforts so that our province’s special places can be cherished, and conserved well into the future. 


Purple sandpipers are a unique and hardy bird that breed in the tundra and winter along our coastlines.

Our tidal wetlands are important for biodiversity, mitigating climate change, and supporting bird populations. 

Habitats on the Edge:
our living freshwater shorelines

Many of the Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreements that conserve habitat in municipalities, include pond edges, also known as buffers. This habitat on the edge is very much alive, and has been identified by biologists as important habitat for a diverse number of wildlife species.

There are many reasons to keep our living freshwater shorelines intact, many of which benefit homeowners and property.

  • Can help to stop the effects of erosion

  • Decrease siltitation into freshwater habitat

  • More natural vegetation supports better air quality

  • Helps native pollinator and invertebrate populations

  • Acts as a wind break against snow and blowing winds

  • Nursery for fish and waterfowl

  • Promotes growth of native plant species, which reduces invasives

  • Shields against noise pollution

  • Keeps flood waters from infiltrating property

  • Creates a natural privacy screen

  • Shoreline plants can help remove heavy metals from our water

  • Increased biodiversity

  • Shoreline plants can help to filter and clean our water

  • Stores carbon and mitigates climate change


How can you help? Keep it wild!
Please leave trees and plants in place around our shorelines. Keep at least 15 meters of natural vegetation around all of our ponds, streams and wetlands in our province. This 15 m buffer is required by our Lands Act.


Stewardship Association of Municipalities works with our members to conserve wetlands and other habitats within municipal boundaries. But what is a wetland? and how can we identify these special places in our communities? 

Wetlands are just that, wet land! They are areas of land that are either permanently or seasonally covered by water. The wetlands in our province are diverse and can be divided into 5 different classifications: Bog, Fen, Marsh, Pond (Shallow Open Water), and Swamp. 


Habitat Resources

Uplands and Forests

The forests of Newfoundland and Labrador are the most eastern part of the Boreal Forest Region of North America. Canada has 28% 

Boreal Forest Map_CWS.png

of the world's boreal zone which is equal to 552 million hectares. 

The boreal zone is home to an extensive range of mammals, insects, fungi, and micro-organisms. According to Natural Resources Canada the Canadian Boreal Forest is home to 150 species of birds. 

The boreal forest also plays a very important role in
mitigating climate change. 

NL's boreal forest is dominated by a handful of tree species including balsam fir and black spruce. Hardwoods do not form a major component of the forest in this province. However, White Birch and Trembling Aspen are significant components of mixed 

and hardwood stands throughout the Island. We use upland refer to the forest edge along a wetland complex. These areas are there two ecosystems overlap creating special habitat that can support a wide range of species. Uplands near wetlands are also common habitat for songbirds, who use both the wetland and the upland habitat.

Boreal Forest Resources

© 2019 by Stewardship Association of Municipalities Incorporated