James Bay, Canada – October 8th, 2008
James Bay is a southeastern extension of the Hudson Bay, bordered by the Canadian province of Quebec to the East, and the province of Ontario to the West. It is also the southernmost area of the Arctic Archipelago Marine ecozone, and its eastern shores make the western edge of the Canadian Shield (a large, geological shield covered by a blanket of soil extending over half of Canada) in Quebec.
The landscape near the eastern shores is characterized by rocky, hilly terrain with boreal forest. On the other hand, the terrain around the western shore consists of tundra lowlands. Much of this region is part of the Polar Bear Provincial Park.
James Bay is fed by hundreds of rivers, which all tend to be wide and shallow in the area close to the bay known as the James Bay Lowlands, and steeper and narrower upstream as they come off the Canadian Shield. In the main image, we can see the colorful mixture of the sediments flowing into the bay from the many rivers and the green algal bloom along the shoreline.
In our first close-up we can clearly see the sediments and algal bloom around Akimiski Island, the largest island in James Bay and a coastal wetland with mudflats, tidal marshes and tidal mudflats. Although it is currently uninhabited, the island has a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The sediments and nutrients flowing into James Bay from freshwater streams and rivers sustain the wetlands of the island, making it a rich habitat and an important feeding ground for many species of migratory birds.
In the second image detail, we can see the sediments flowing out from the mouths of the Albany River (upper left) and the Moose River (lower right). The Albany River is the longest river in Ontario: 980 kilometres (609 mi) long and navigable for 400 kilometres (249 mi). It has a drainage basin of 135,200 square kilometres (52,201 sq mi). The Moose River, on the other hand, has a drainage basin of 108,500 km² and a mean discharge rate of 1370 m³/s. The area around its mouth is home to another important Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
In the final image detail, we can observe a cluster of islands that form the Belcher Islands archipelago. The archipelago is actually comprised of 1500 small islands.