THE GITGA'AT TERRITORY

Ecosystems

Gitga’at Territory is characterized by its rugged coastline, dramatic glacier-capped peaks, large intact coastal temperate rainforests and steep fjords and large, scattered lakes and river systems.

The Territory contains two broad ecological regions: 1) the outer mainland coast and islands and 2) the Coast Mountains.

The mainland coast and islands contain slow-growing cedar and hemlock forests. The dense undergrowth is typical of a coastal temperate rainforest with salal, ferns, bunch berries, skunk cabbage, Labrador tea, and Devil’s club. There are also thimble berries, salmon berries, huckleberries, and wild cranberries.

The rugged Coast Mountains are further inland, and reach up to 3000 metres. They are heavily forested up to medium elevations and have deep channels, moulded by glaciation and sculpted by wind and water activity.

Unique and sensitive ecosystems in Gitga’at Territory include the alpine, floodplains, estuaries, tidal marshes, spray zones, limestone and karst geologies, freshwater wetlands, kelp and eel grass beds, and rock bluffs.


Climate

The climate in Gitga’at Territory is coastal. Ocean temperatures and prevailing westerly winds result in large amounts of precipitation and bring regular storms, particularly in winter. Mild winters and cool summers prevail, with average temperatures of 15.5 °C. in July and -2.2 °C. in January. This combination of mild and wet conditions support the lush, diverse vegetation typical of the coastal temperate rainforest.


Wildlife

Gitga’at Territory is home to a large variety of birds, fish, invertebrates, and terrestrial and marine mammals.


Terrestrial Mammals: Grizzly bears, Black bears (including the Kermode or “Spirit” bear – a subspecies of the black bear), Mountain goats, Moose, Black-tailed and Mule deer, Wolves, Wolverines, Beavers, Fishers, Marten, Mink, Porcupines, and Skunks.
Marine Mammals: Orca whales, Humpback whales, Gray whales, Minke whales, Sea lions, Seals, Porpoises, and Dolphins.
Marine Species: Salmon (Pink, Coho, Chum, Chinook and Sockeye), Halibut, Clams, Crabs, Shrimp/Prawns, Mussels, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Abalone, Oolichans, Herring, Steelhead, Trout, Groundfish, Flatfish, Codfish, and Rockfish.
Birds: Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Ravens, Loons, Ducks, Marbled Murrelets, Kingfishers, Stellar’s Jays, and a variety of other migrating birds including swans and geese.

 

 

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