A delta is a deposit of sediment at the mouth of a river that accumulates as the river flows into a standing body of water such as a lake or ocean. Because sediment tends to be rich in nutrients, deltas become fertile wetlands inhabited by diverse wildlife. Among the largest deltas in Canada are those of the Mackenzie and Saskatchewan rivers, as well as the Peace-Athabasca Delta (where the Peace, Athabasca and Birch rivers meet). Certain deltas offer advantageous access to natural resources and maritime transportation, but development projects are often controversial due to the ecological importance of these environments.
British Columbia is Canada's most westerly province, and is a mountainous area whose population is mainly clustered in its southwestern corner. BC is Canada’s third-largest province after Québec and Ontario, making up 10 per cent of Canada’s land surface. British Columbia is a land of diversity and contrast within small areas. Coastal landscapes, characterized by high, snow-covered mountains rising above narrow fjords and inlets, contrast with the broad forested upland of the central interior and the plains of the northeast. The intense "Britishness" of earlier times is referred to in the province's name, which originated with Queen Victoria and was officially proclaimed in 1858.1
Bonavista Bay is an inlet on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland between Cape Freels and Cape Bonavista. Roughly 65 km wide, it contains a large number of densely forested islands that shelter the mainland from northeasterly winds and create hundreds of kilometres of virtually landlocked waters.
Saanich Peninsula, BC, forms part of the Nanaimo Lowlands, along Vancouver Island's east coast. It extends from Sidney in the north to Victoria in the south, and is 33 km long and averages 4 km in width; 90 per cent of its perimeter is fronted by sea. The dominant geographical features are Mount Newton and Saanich Inlet.
The Sechelt Peninsula, approximately 350 km2, is part of a popular cottage area and yachting centre in British Columbia known as the "Sunshine Coast." Isolated from nearby Vancouver, BC, by Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains, its coast is linked by ferries with Vancouver via Horseshoe Bay and with Powell River via Saltery Bay.
Canada has the longest coastlines of any country in the world (60 180 km excluding islands, 202 080 including all measurable islands). Canadian coastal waters support valuable biological resources (eg, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, marine mammals and seaweeds) and are important for transportation, recreation and the mineral and hydrocarbon resources in the seafloor beneath them.