While Canada may be renowned for the beautiful landscapes and ice-capped mountain peaks, it also holds some of the worlds largest rivers. The river is an ecological hive of a vast number of species from fish to migratory bird life. The river banks are teeming with muskrats, moose, beaver and wood frogs. The springtime is a time in nature that brings its own wonders to the Mackenzie River. This is the time that the Beluga Whales have their calming season in the area, a phenomenon to behold. While the river in all its glory, is spectacular, the treasures it yields are even more breathtaking.
The Basin And Delta
This monstrous water system spans 4241 km and is ranked the second largest in the world second only to the Mississippi River in the US. The drainage basin measures a whopping 1.8 million square kilometers, the largest throughout Canada. A black spruce covers the alluvial sand islands that fan the basin. The delta, which is bordered in the west by the Richardson mountains and in the east by Caribou Hills, is 80 km wide. The trees found here are large and are often used as fuel or as building material for wooden structures. Melting ice plays a tremendous role in the composition of the Mackenzie River.
The vast array of animal species that grace the river waters and shore are put in peril by environmental factors. Climate change and contaminants in the water over long distances pose a devastating risk. Thinning ice and irregular flooding are a cause of major concern. The thawing of permafrost has the potential of uncovering drilling waste attributed to the invasive exploration for gas and oil. This waste will contaminate the environment and could become a deadly factor. Mercury flowing through the waters are detrimental to the species who consume it. It is spread to the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea via the Mackenzie River, putting more at risk.