IBA Grand Bay West to Cheeseman Prov. Pk.
Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland
Site Summary
NF038 Latitude
47.607° N
59.234° W
0 - 10 m
40.33 km²
sedge/grass meadows, tidal rivers/estuaries, mud or sand flats (saline), open sea
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Oil slicks, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Threatened Species
Conservation status: Provincial Park (including Marine)
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Site Description
The Grand Bay West and Cheeseman Provincial Park beaches are located at the southwest corner of Newfoundland, near Port-aux-Basques. Cheeseman Provincial Park is located at the western edge of the site, while the Grand Bay West beaches cover the central and eastern sections of the site. Together, they form a beach system that spans approximately 8 km of coastline, with a few small rocky sections being interspersed, and a low rocky peninsula being located near the eastern end. The beach is variable in width, but is mostly between 50 and 100 m wide. Some small sand dunes are also present. Cheeseman Provincial Park is the first park that thousands of tourists encounter after they exit the ferry that links Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.
The beaches of Grand Bay West and Cheeseman Provincial Park provide nesting habitat for the globally vulnerable and nationally endangered Piping Plover. In 1996, 18 Piping Plovers were recorded at this site, representing 4.2% of the estimated Atlantic Canada population (based on the 1996 International Piping Plover Survey). Between 1995 and 1998, an average of 17 adult Piping Plovers was observed by the Newfoundland Wildlife Division at this site.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Black-headed Gull 2013 SU 6
Piping Plover 2006 - 2014 FA 4 - 9
Piping Plover 1992 - 2019 SU 4 - 21
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
Large numbers of tourists and residents use the beaches at this site. At present, the Grand Bay West beaches have no protective status, although the area is being considered for a provincial reserve. The residents of nearby Port-aux-Basques use the beaches for typical leisurely activities (walking, swimming, picnics, etc.). All-terrain vehicle (ATV) usage is also frequent. Such recreational activities have the potential to destroy Piping Plover nesting habitat and can also lead to nest abandonment. A guardianship program has been implemented, utilizing students through the Conservation Corps Green Team. The Southwestern Mountain and Marine Zone Development Corporation supervised the student effort. So far, the students have been helpful in protecting Piping Plover nests from the curious public, and ATVs. In 1998, a viewing platform, equipped with a telescope (donated by WWF), was constructed to allow park visitors at Cheeseman to view the nesting Piping Plovers without disturbing them.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Birds Canada