Let's take care of our land of plenty!

The Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development Group's (PCSDG) mission is to engage citizen participation towards the sustainability of Cocagne watershed communities
Serge LaRochelle, project manager, Bernadette Goguen, co-chair, Denise Maillet, presenter, Wiebke Tinney, coordinator

March 12, 2019

Cocagne - Denise Maillet, a biologist for Bird Studies Canada, gave a presentation January 30, 2019 at the Maison de la santé of Cocagne outlining the importance of marshes for humans and animals alike. You can watch the video of the presentation on our YouTube channel here (presentation in French).


Denise explained the ecological functions of wetlands, namely providing habitats for migratory birds who live, feed or nest on shores. Shorebirds need these important places to stop during their long migrations to refuel. They can land on sites like the Cormierville marsh.

She spoke of a phenomenon called “the coastal squeeze”. The rise of sea levels puts pressure on
marshes and mudflats which are sent further inland by rising waters. Rigid structures along roads, rock fill for example, prevent these environments from migrating inland.

The presentation led to a discussion on the importance of restoring and conserving wetlands. Here are some of the views exchanged:

Behind a salt marsh, there’s a freshwater marsh.If we mess with the freshwater marsh (e.g., fill), the salt marsh can’t progress inland as the sea levels rise. The carbon stocked in the affected freshwater marsh is then released, and the benefits of the freshwater marsh are lost.

Boulders will erode over time, so it isn’t the best solution. Following the coastline from Saint-Thomas to Cocagne, you can see three quarters of the houses have rocks along the coast. Fifteen years ago, only about 20% of NB’s coastline was rock filled; now it’s over 50%. And rock filling is mostly used to protect roads.

In the Cormierville marsh, erosion is making the dune recede. I set up swallow birdhouses about 30 feet from the coast (they serve as markers). Now, the space between water and birdhouses is diminishing.

I like the way rock filling was done on a property on the Cormierville marsh. They moved the sand to cover the big boulders. Now beach grass is growing among the rocks in the sand and on the land behind it.

Beach grass, or Ammophila, is like an iceberg. You can only see the top, but the network of roots growing under the sand is extensive. It can be quite resistant. In the sand, water doesn't stay long and there aren’t a lot of nutrients. But people walking on it 4 or 5 times can kill it.

In the Cap-Pelé region, they anchor dead fir or spruce trees along the dunes where sand accumulates. The dead trees gather more sand. They can then plant beach grass. Their roots retain sand and help stabilize the dune.

Coastal wetlands and estuaries aren’t immune to the effects of climate change and human influence.
Alexandre Boudreau, L’Étoile : Changements climatiques : que faire pour sauver les estuaires?

Local refreshments were served: apples from La Fleur du Pommier orchard, crackers with goat cheese from Champ Doré farm in Grande-Digue, and salmon from Bathurst, followed by coffee from Downeast Coffee in Notre Dame. Bon appétit!

Sea levels rose quite a bit with January’s heavy rainfalls.
Resident of Saint-Thomas

Talks on solutions for climate change are taking place in 2018– 2019. Discussions on various themes will fuel a climate change adaptation plan for the Cocagne River watershed.

Bird Studies Canada
Vision H2O
Ecology Action Centre Living Shorelines
Helping Nature Heal


  • According to Denise Maillet, it is possible to preserve wetlands. “We can start by realizing we’re lucky to have the wetlands we have left. Many people want bigger lawns, but every time we cut [into the marshes], we remove any benefits they would provide our land in the future.”
  • Julie Cormier from Vision H2O explains that using dead spruce or fir trees to stabilize dunes can work in areas where sand already accumulates, but nothing is guaranteed. “In May and June, we put them out on the beach by tying them down on the sand. It’s important to anchor them properly so the sea doesn’t take them away. It requires a lot of physical labour, but for areas with large beaches where sand already gathers, it works well.”
  • Rosmarie Lohnes from Helping Nature Heal will hold a workshop in Shediac Cape on March 16, 2019, to demonstrate natural techniques for coastal restoration. For more information, contact the GDDPC at 576-8247.
Copy of logo coul horizon GDDPC smallFFE

Upcoming activities

March 30, 2019 Saturday - FORUM ON AGRICULTURE value our agricultural sector

A more detailed schedule of the day is under development, organized by the Kent Regional Service Commission (KRSC)
Acadieville Community Center
For more information :
Maurice Maillet, President, (506) 744-0727, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Roger Richard, Member of the Organizing Committee (506) 775-2807, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 14, 2019 Sunday - Teachings on planting calendar and the 4 elements

with Rosmary Tayler, from Earth Haven Learning Center
10am to 3pm
Notre Centre, 468 Route 530, Grande Digue NB E4R 5K3
$ 30 dinner included, $ 50 for 2 people from the same household, $ 20 student
Please register and pay to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Interac transfer)

April 27, 2019 Saturday - Actions for the Earth

9am to 5pm

9 to 12am Shoreline clean-up in Cocagne
Meeting in front of the Pelican restaurant
Material and dinner provided!

1 to 2:30pm Workshop Identification of local trees
with Rémi Donelle, meeting at 4599 route 530 in Grande-Digue.
+ Plant your own butterfly garden
with Louis-Émile Cormier and Stuart Tingley

3:30 pm to 5 pm Presentation on energy efficiency of houses
with Robert Robichaud, NB Power Advisor
+ Participate in the energy efficiency program with PCSDG
Location remains to be confirmed.

Ours Partners


The Pays de Cocagne in pictures

The Pays de Cocagne in pictures