See Yukon state of the environment reports

Yukon state of the environment interim report 2021 cover

State of the environment reports provide updates on research and monitoring efforts for climate change, air, water, landscape and fish and wildlife in the territory.

The reports also:

  • give early warning and analysis of potential environmental problems;
  • chart the achievement of the objectives set out in the Environment Act;
  • give baseline information for environmental planning, assessment and regulation; and
  • help guide future decision-making.

Under Yukon’s Environment Act, the Minister of Environment must table:

  • a full state of the environment report in the legislature every 3 years; and
  • interim reports in the years in-between.

2021 interim report

The Yukon state of the environment interim report 2021 includes information available at the end of the 2020 calendar year. Collecting and analyzing data can take a long time. Some data can take several years to be analyzed and become available.

Read the interim report

Highlights

Climate change

Trends in greenhouse gas levels

  • The Yukon’s greenhouse gas emissions went up 23.7% between 2009 and 2019.
  • 783.2 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases were emitted in 2019.

Arctic sea ice extent and volume

  • Approximately 280 km3 of sea ice is lost every year.
  • Remaining sea ice is becoming young and thinner.

Long-term temperature variation

  • Precipitation in the Yukon has increased by about 6% over the past 50 years.
  • Since 1948, annual temperatures in northern Canada have increased by 2.3°C. Temperatures are rising most rapidly in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Air

Levels of particulate matter

  • Overall, Yukoners enjoy good air quality, with levels of fine particulate matter in Whitehorse remaining some of the lowest across urban areas in Canada.

Water

Water quality

  • Over the last several years, the Yukon River upstream of the Takhini River has consistently received the highest Water Quality Index (WQI) score in the Yukon. WQI indicates the status of water quality and the suitability of streams to support aquatic life.

Yukon River ice breakup at Dawson City

  • In Dawson City, the Yukon River breakup occurred on May 3, 2020, around 5 p.m.

Land

Population of the Yukon

  • From June 2019 to June 2020, the total Yukon population grew by 794 people, or 1.9%.

Waste handled at the Whitehorse Waste Management Facility

  • In 2019, Whitehorse residents sent an average of 570 kg of waste to the landfill. This is down from 620 kg in 2018.
  • 33% of waste was diverted from the Whitehorse landfill through recycling and composting in 2019.

Presence of alien and introduced species

  • As of November 2020, an estimated 228 alien species have been identified in the Yukon, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and fungi.

Fish and wildlife

Density of Snowshoe Hares

  • Snowshoe Hare numbers have undergone a cyclical decline throughout the Yukon from a peak in 2016-2018.

Number of spawning Chinook Salmon

  • In 2020, the spawning escapement goal for Yukon River Chinook Salmon was not met, with an estimate of just under 31,000 fish reaching their spawning grounds in the Yukon.
  • This is the second time the spawning escapement goal was not met since 2013.

Monitoring wild sheep and goat health

  • Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae was not detected in the 443 thinhorn sheep and 10 Mountain Goats tested between 2015 and 2020.

Earlier reports

Before 2012, reports were named by year of data collected, not year of publication.