Waterways, Estuaries & Fjords

© Grant Callegari/Hakai Institute

High rainfall, humid air and melted mountain snow in the spring fills countless lakes, streams, wetlands and rivers that flow down to the sea throughout the Great Bear Rainforest. The exposed outer coast has an intricate shoreline with narrow channels and steep-walled fjords that provide ecologically complex estuaries, calm inlets and pocket coves.

On the surrounding islands and coastline, many small streams weave their way through the forest and empty into the ocean. These streams, some of which are no longer than a kilometer or two, help form and transport nutrients to watersheds which support the return of spawning salmon.

Neekas Creek, a small stream near Bella Bella, has up to 60,000 chum salmon spawning per kilometre of stream, likely the highest density in the province. This creek, along with the many other waterways, estuaries and fjords feed the sea, all of which support a rich diversity of marine life and land mammals from salmon, herring and eulachon to invertebrates and rockfish to killer whales, seabirds, bears and wolves.

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