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St. John River: The Sand and the Fury

The complex ecology of the Fundy tides

More on the St. John River:
St. John River:
The Good and the Bountiful

Cargo of Misery:
Disease and death stalk desperate newcomers

Company Town:
Boss Gibson's Marysville

Natural delicacy of the river valley

Fir Trade:
Forests are vital to New Brunswick's economy

Fries to Go:
Fast food for the world

Home Children:
Tragic chapter in our immigration history

Big Noise:
Foghorn is invented for Partridge Island

Return Flight:
Bald eagles recover old nesting sites

The Sand and the Fury:
The complex ecology of the Fundy tides

Starting Over:
Loyalists seek refuge from revolution

Vive la République !:
The unique cultural mélange of Madawaska

Twice a day, the Saint John River loses a struggle with the incoming tide. The river flow is forced to flow backwards through a narrow gorge known as the Reversing Falls.

The Bay of Fundy tides are the world's highest, rising as much as 16 metres. The funnel shape, volume, and depth of the Bay is responsible for the unusually powerful tides. The falls are evidence of the powerful push that forces the river to change its direction.

Scientists have determined that the powerful movement of water circulates nutrients and promotes high biological productivity. The Bay of Fundy is a vast web of delicate biological connections regulated by the tides.

At high tide, seabirds by the hundreds of thousands swoop down to fatten themselves on fish. When the tide goes out, it exposes fresh mudflats which teem with life. The birds turn their attention to tiny, squirming mud shrimp.

Whales and porpoises gather in the bay in summer to feast on herring. Biologists are worried by the number of whales that show propeller-damage to their tails. They have seen some whales suffer a slow, painful death from collisions with boat traffic.

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