Some of the Province's most productive waterfowl breeding and staging areas are either owned by or are under management control of major corporations. The corporate stewardship program was initiated to assist these corporations in the conservation and wise use of these important areas.
The Upper Humber Wetlands Complex is one of the most productive wildlife areas in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It contains the highest inland breeding duck density on the island of Newfoundland and provides valuable staging habitat where waterfowl can gather together to build up energy reserves before continuing on their migration. Each year hundreds of migrating birds (primarily American Black Duck, Green Winged Teal, Ring Necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, and Canada Geese) utilize this area.
The Humber River, which flows through the Complex, has the largest (estimated 40,000) Atlantic Salmon population of all rivers in insular Newfoundland. It provides nearly 9,000 angler days of recreational activity annually and accounts for a harvest of about 4,000 salmon annually.
The Humber Caribou herd migrates between Gros Morne National Park and the Upper Humber Wetlands Complex. Recent years have seen an increase in caribou overwintering in this area. Healthy populations of moose, furbearers and non-game species are also concentrated in this area.
Because of the Upper Humber's high densities of wildlife populations and its quality wildlife habitat, it has been given one of the highest priorities requiring protection in the "Newfoundland and Labrador Habitat Protection Plan for Migratory Birds" (1987).
Much of the wetland habitat was a result of a dam which had been constructed by Bowater Pulp and Paper Co. for use in the transportation of logs destined for the pulp and paper mill in Corner Brook. The flooded area behind the dam resulted in approximately 400 hectares of prime wetland habitat. Waterways are no longer used for the transport of logs and thus there was no longer any need for the company to maintain the dam. This valuable wetland habitat was in jeopardy.
In May of 1992, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Ducks Unlimited Canada, as partners in the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture, signed a Corporate Stewardship Agreement with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited. Through this agreement approximately 25,000 hectares of wetland and associated upland habitats have been set aside for the purposes of wetland conservation. The Newfoundland and Labrador Inland Fish and Wildlife Division of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation in cooperation with the Upper Humber Wetlands Complex Management Committee will manage the stewardship area during the term of this agreement.
The signing of this agreement opened the way for an ambitious wetland conservation project, the replacement of the old dam.