Year of compilation: 2001
Large numbers of nesting shorebirds have also been documented in the Rasmussen Lowlands. During the 1976 study it was estimated that the Lowlands supported about 500,000 shorebirds - mostly Red Phalaropes (40%) along with White-rumped Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, American Golden-Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Surveys undertaken in 1994 and 1995, however, documented much lower numbers of Red Phalaropes, Black-bellied Plovers, and American Golden Plovers. Estimates for other shorebird species were not significantly different from those generated in the 1970s. The number of shorebird species nesting on the Lowlands is higher than at most other Arctic sites where shorebird studies have been completed.
The Rasmussen Lowlands are also significant in the context of biome-restricted species assemblages. In total, 36 species have been confirmed as breeders. Of this number almost two-thirds have breeding ranges largely restricted to the Tundra biome. In all, the Rasmussen Lowlands support breeding populations of 21 out of the 33 species that have been identified as largely restricted to the entire Tundra biome. Within the Lowlands, some of the more abundant biome-restricted species include: Greater White-fronted Goose, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red Phalarope, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Lapland Longspur.
The escarpment bordering the Lowlands supports a large population of nesting Peregrine Falcons (ssp. tundrius - nationally vulnerable). In 1995, 80 pairs were recorded (possibly as much as 6% of the national population).
On the basis of wildlife studies completed in response to the Polar Gas proposal, the Rasmussen Lowlands were designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1982. In 1984, they were also identified as a Key Habitat Site for Migratory Birds.
More recently, the Rasmussen Lowlands have been identified as a priority for studies to determine their suitability as a National Wildlife Area. Currently the Rasmussen Lowlands are the only Ramsar site in the Northwest Territories that does not have legal protection.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rasmussen Lowlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/02/2023.