James Bay, Nunavut
Boatswain Bay is a semi-circular bay in the southeast section of James Bay. Fort Rupert, Quebec is 40 km to the south. The offshore islands and waters of this site are part of Nunavut, while the mainland is part of Quebec. This site contains one of only two salt marshes on the Quebec side of James Bay. The land slowly rises from the sea, first in the form of mud flats, and then to two salt marsh habitats. The first saltmarsh is spikerush and the second is a mixture of sedges and grasses. The north end of the marsh, at 1.6 km in width is the widest part of the marsh. Further inland, beyond the IBA boundaries, willows and spruce dominate.
This part of the waterfowl-rich James Bay coastline, hosts large numbers of Canada Geese, Brant, and Snow Geese in the spring. In a 1972 survey, over 14,800 Canada Geese, 3,000 Lesser Snow Geese and 535 Atlantic Brant were recorded. Geese also use the bay in the fall; Brant are particularly numerous with 2,474 birds recorded in 1972. This is 2% of the current population of Atlantic Brant, assuming no significant change in the Brant population.
Large numbers of American Black Ducks stage, moult, and nest in the area, and shorebirds migrate through in good numbers as well. Specific numbers for these species are unknown.
Although there are no local land-use problems affecting Boatswain Bay, it is not known if the enormous La Grande Rivire hydro development has negatively affected the east coast of James Bay. Sedimentation and salinity patterns may have been altered by the irregular outflow of the river. This area has been recognized as a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site by the Canadian Wildlife Service.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status