08/29/2012 09:06 EDT | Updated 10/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Harper opens Ducks Unlimited centre in Aulac

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Aulac, N.B., Wednesday afternoon for the official opening of the Beaubassin Research Station.

The station is headed by Ducks Unlimited Canada and is used primarily for ecological research. Acadia University and Irving Oil are also partners in the facility.

Officials said the site will be the main Atlantic Canada area for Ducks Unlimited's research on wetlands and waterfowl. Harper also emphasized the historic nature of the site, Beaubassin, and the redevelopment of the Tonge’s Island National Historic Site.

The centre is on the historic site on the Tantramar Marsh near Sackville, which was once the capital of French Acadia.

"I am pleased to visit the Beaubassin area, where First Nations, Acadians and English peoples established themselves and played an important role in shaping Canada," Harper was quoted as saying in a media release. "The newly completed Beaubassin field research station is an exciting addition to the area, which will help generate ecological benefits for Canadians for years to come."

Harper unveiled a plaque paying tribute to Beaubassin’s history. The federal government did not contribute any funds to the new Ducks Unlimited research centre, according to a spokeswoman for Harper.

The centre studies salt-marsh restoration and its ability to buffer high tides and storm surges. Researchers say what they learn could be key in helping coastal communities withstand the effects of climate change.

Conserving wetlands is also important in stabilizing duck populations according to Ducks Unlimited. The station will also be used for historical research of the area.