Fort Norman, Northwest Territories
The Brackett Lake area of the Northwest Territories lies just north and east of the community of Fort Norman and the Mackenzie River. Brackett Lake and Brackett River are in the centre of the site, while part of the Great Bear River forms the southern boundary.
The lands here are low-lying and often boggy - Black Spruce bogs, heath shrubland and raised peat bogs are the most common habitat types of the region, but sedge meadows are also found lining the shores of lakes and ponds. Moose, Black Bear, Muskrat and Beaver are common mammals and River Otter occur in the Loche and Brackett rivers.
The forests and wetlands of the Brackett Lake area provide excellent habitat for breeding ducks - the density of ducks sometimes reaches that of the Mackenzie River Delta. In the early 1970s, densities of breeding ducks, thought to be mostly scaup, were in the order of 31 birds per km² in the Brackett Lake area and 5 birds per km² in the surrounding forest. This translates into roughly 5,000 to 10,000 breeding ducks.
Later in the season, thousands of staging ducks, geese, and swans use the area. Although the records are a few decades old there is no reason to suspect that waterfowl use of the area has diminished since then. Five thousand Greater White-fronted Geese have been recorded around the shorelines of Brackett Lake, and single flocks of 500 have been seen. Because the population of White-fronted Geese has fluctuated over the years it is difficult to know what portion of the population currently uses this area. However, it may be that 2% the Canadian population stages here. Also, 1,500 Tundra Swans (of uncertain origin; possibly from both eastern and western populations) and 12,000 ducks have been recorded in the Brackett Lake area in the fall.
Although numerous species of shorebirds, such as Long-billed Dowitcher, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Lesser Yellowlegs, stage in the Brackett Lake area in the fall, the magnitude of usage is not known.
There are no known threats to the birdlife of the Brackett Lake area. Although molting waterfowl are sensitive to disturbance and the terrain of northern lowlands can be fairly easily altered through vehicular use, there is no reason to suspect that either of these problems exist in this wilderness area.
The importance of this area has been recognized previously by the International Biological Programme, and by the Canadian Wildlife Service as a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat Site.IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status