See Yukon state of the environment reports

Yukon State of the Environment Interim Report 2019 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.

2019 report

The State of the environment interim report 2019 includes information and analysis based on data available at the end of the 2018 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 full report.

Highlights

Climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions
  • 2016 emissions were up 2.6% since 2009. However, from a peak in 2011, emissions were lower in 2016 by 13%.
  • Transportation accounted for 62% of Yukon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2016.
  • Yukon's total GHG emissions were 0.08% of the national total in 2016.
Arctic sea ice
  • Approximately 300 km3 of sea ice is lost every year. Remaining sea ice is becoming younger and thinner.
Temperature
  • Over the past 50 years, winters have warmed by an average of 4ºC.
  • Yukon’s annual average temperature has increased by 2ºC, twice the global rate.

Air

Levels of particulate matter
  • In 2016, Whitehorse had the lowest concentrations of fine particulate matter in urban areas across Canada.
Organic pollutants in air
  • Air concentrations of 2 pesticides, hexachlorocyclohexane and endosulfan, are decreasing at Little Fox Lake.
  • 10 new flame retardants that are not regulated in Canada were detected in air at Little Fox Lake. Air samples from 2015 to 2018 are currently undergoing chemical analysis.

Water

Snow accumulation
  • The amount of water in snowpacks has increased an average of 3% per decade at 14 long-term snow survey stations.
  • 2016 and 2017 experienced below-average snow throughout Yukon.
Increasing water levels in lakes and rivers
  • Most river stations have measured increased water flows in the winter months when water is usually lower.
Yukon River ice break-up at Dawson City
  • Ice break-up on the Yukon River at Dawson City now occurs more than 7 days earlier on average than in 1896.
  • 8 of the 10 earliest recorded break-up events at Dawson City have occurred in the past 30 years.

Land

Population
  • In 2016, there were 0.1 people per square kilometer in Yukon.
  • From June 2017 to June 2018, the total Yukon population increased by 816 people, or 2.1%.
Community and local area planning
  • All 8 Yukon municipalities have official community plans.
  • 8 local area plans were in place in 2018.
  • Local area planning processes are currently underway for Marsh Lake, Fox Lake, Tagish, Alaska Highway West, and Fish Lake.
Recreational land use
  • Between 2015 and 2016, 82 new Government of Yukon campsites were added across the territory.
  • These include additional campsites at the Marsh Lake, Wolf Creek, Twin Lakes and Tombstone Mountain campgrounds and Conrad Campground on Tagish Lake.
  • This has resulted in a 20% increase in the number of campsites within 200 km of Whitehorse.
Waste handled at the Whitehorse Waste Management Facility
  • In 2017, Whitehorse residents sent an average of 710 kg of waste to the landfill. This is an increase from 610 kg in 2016.
  • The increase mainly came from construction and demolition waste like the demolition of FH Collins.
  • 27% of waste was diverted from the Whitehorse landfill through recycling and composting in 2017.

Fish and wildlife

Species-based management plans
  • The Government of Yukon and the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board have developed a draft conservation plan for grizzly bears in the territory.
  • The draft plan presents a 25-year vision for grizzly bears in Yukon, and provides guidance to achieve this vision.
Density of snowshoe hare
  • 2006 and 2017 were the last peaks in the snowshoe hare cycle.
  • Currently the hare population cycle is in a decline phase.
  • The peak population of the snowshoe hare cycle has been declining in the Kluane area since 1973.
Number of spawning Chinook salmon
  • In 2017, the spawning conservation target for Yukon River Chinook was met for the 6th time in the last 10 years.
Monitoring wild sheep and goat health
  • M. ovipneumoniae (m. ovi) testing has been completed for 244 thinhorn sheep and 1 mountain goat between 2015 and 2018.
  • The m. ovi bacterium was not detected in any of these tested animals.

Earlier reports

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