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About Grand Lake Meadows

Grand Lake Meadows is the largest freshwater marsh/wetland in the province of New Brunswick. The region consists primarily of a broad flat floodplain and wetland meadow, with elevations ranging from sea level up to ~16 meters.

Digital Elevation model. Source: Geobase.ca

Grand Lake Meadows is classified as a Class II Protected Natural Area by the government of New Brunswick. This classification protects the area from development and allows ‘low impact’ recreational activities.

Grand Lake Meadows is known for its diverse ecology and its abundant wildlife. This diversity is due to three factors:

  • The presence of Grand Lake
  • Extensive floodplains
  • The presiding water levels over the growing season [GNB, 2013].
  • Grand Lake is the largest open body of water in New Brunswick being a total of 20 miles long and 7 miles wide [Nason, R. 2013]. This large body of water acts as a heat sink: moderating local temperatures, creating the warmest climate in the province, and extending the growing season [D’Arcy, M, 2008].

    Grand Lake Meadows is considered a floodplain wetland because on any given year approximately 85% of the area is inundated by seasonal floodwaters [Dickinson, P.J, 2008]. In addition to the seasonal flooding, tides displace water and cause flooding in Grand Lake Meadows.

    What's a wetland?

    A wetland is a land area that is permanently (or seasonally) saturated with water. As a result of this excess water a wetland has a unique ecosystem. The soil found in a wetland is saturated and air is excluded from the pores in the soil. This leads to anaerobic bacteria, (typically) higher organic matter, and therefore the ability to support aquatic plants. Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystem and are home to a wide range of plants and animals. There are several wetland types which have been identified in the area of Grand Lake Meadows (Roberts 1992):

  • forested
  • emergent marsh
  • shrub swamp
  • aquatic bed
  • unconsolidated bottom
  • Wetlands are important resources and there is great need to preserve them for:

  • climate moderation
  • flood control
  • nature
  • shoreline stability
  • water purification
  • wildlife
  • Humans have also flocked to this land because of:

  • The abundance of waterways (for transportation & fishing)
  • Animals for food
  • Materials for making tools
  • Rich soil for harvesting crops
  • The earliest recorded settlers (in the 1600s) were the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq peoples.

    Where is Grand Lake Meadows?

    Grand Lake Meadows project area is located in Sunbury and Queens counties in New Brunswick. In the image (on the right) below:

  • A: Western most extent of study area
  • B: Across Portobello Creek National Wildlife Area
  • C: Main Thoroughfare: French Lake to Maquapit Lake
  • D: Lower Thoroughfare: Maquapit Lake to Grand Lake
  • E: Jemseg River
  • F: Study area along the St. John River north of Gagetown Island
  • G: Study area follows the St. John River
  • Overview Study Area



    Plants and animals found in Grand Lake Meadows


    Burr Oak


    Green Ash

    Green Ash



    white ash

    White Ash

    Silver Maple



    Speckled Alder





    Striped Maple

    Striped Maple

    Red Osier Dogwood

    Red Osier Dogwood

    tree images from: http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/forestry/treeid/ Trees_Of_Acadian_Forest2.pdf and http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/trees/handbook/th-3-99.pdf

    Muskrat Otter Beaver
    Mink Shorttail Weasel Raccoon
    Red Fox Moose White-tailed Deer
    Skunk Woodchuck Eastern Chipmunk
    Grey & Red Squirrel Black Bear Porqupine
    Yellow Perch White Sucker Golden Shiner
    Chain Pickerel Brown Bullhead Pumpkinseed
    American Eel Gaspereau Yellow lamp mussels
    Blue & Yellow spotted Salamander Eastern Newt Red-spotted Newt
    Dusky Redback Salamander Two-lined Redback Salamander Four-toed Redback Salamander
    American Toad Gray Treefrog Spring Peeper
    Bullfrog Green Mink Pickerel
    Leopard Frogs Snapping Turtle Painted Turtle
    Wood Turtle Garter Snake Redbelly Snake
    Smooth Green (Grass) Snake Ringneck Snake
    Black Ducks Mallards Mergansers
    Pin Tails Golden Eyes Wood Ducks
    Shovellers Ring Necked Ducks Canvasbacks
    Buffleheads Blue & Green Winged Teal Black Terns
    Osprey Bald Eagles Great Blue Herons
    Warblers Northern Oriole, Bitterns....
    Mosquitos Dragonflies Damselflies
    Butterflies Moths

    For more information regarding the wetland - including information regarding the marshes and forested lands, birds and other species, please go to: Grand Lake Meadows

    Click here to find out about historical activites at Grand Lake Meadows.

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    Content last updated 2013. University of New Brunswick, Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering Department