Arctic Secrets – Mackenzie Delta: The Mackenzie Delta is an Arctic network of channels and islands at the mouth of Canada’s largest river. It’s home to the ancient Inuit, as well as a variety of highly specialized wildlife, including the sonorous sandhill and majestic peregrine falcon. Follow them as they contend with a rapidly changing climate.
Embark on a journey into the world’s most unforgiving arctic zones, where land and ice are inseparably joined. Swim through the mammoth Mackenzie Delta, or explore the great tundra of Nunavik. These hostile regions yield little for the hardy wildlife and local Inuit tribes that wait patiently for an all-too-brief summer.
Arctic Secrets – Mackenzie Delta
The rich biological diversity of the Mackenzie Delta region, with large populations of fish, fur-bearing mammals, caribou and waterfowl, is because of the complex interactions among the region’s various components. In order to predict the effects of change, it’s important to better understand how the components of an integrated system interact.
One example of such interaction is the fresh water fish migration between the lakes of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula and the Mackenzie Delta. The health of this population is partially controlled by the hydrological conditions in these two apparently unrelated portions of the delta region, as well as the conditions controlling the low-salinity freshwater plume required for migration through the coastal sections of the Beaufort Sea.
As with many northern ecosystems with interconnected lakes and rivers, the Delta region is expected to be sensitive to climate change and variability: in fact, the entire Mackenzie Basin has experienced significant warming over the last 30 years. In this context, ongoing studies at Environment Canada are aimed at improving the understanding of the Delta system and the natural variability in its climate/hydrology during the last 30 years, and at developing possible techniques for predicting future changes.
Nunavik comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada in Kativik, part of the Nord-du-Québec region. Covering a land area of 443,684.71 km2 (171,307.62 sq mi) north of the 55th parallel, it is the homeland of the Inuit of Quebec. Almost all of the 13,181 inhabitants (2016 census) of the region, of whom 90% are Inuit, live in fourteen northern villages on the coast of Nunavik and in the Cree reserved land (TC) of Whapmagoostui, near the northern village of Kuujjuarapik.
Nunavik means “great land” in the local dialect of Inuktitut and the Inuit inhabitants of the region call themselves Nunavimmiut. Until 1912, the region was part of the District of Ungava of the Northwest Territories.