As you probably heard, Yukon Energy is planning to build a second hydro dam infrastructure in Mayo Ã Mayo B. Another dam in this area could have dramatic consequences on fish and wildlife such as whitefish, trout and mammals.
Furthermore, the Roop Wetlands, believed to be hydraulically connected to Mayo Lake and used as water storage for the first dam, is already suffering from the annual 2.6-metre fluctuation caused by the first dam.
A second dam could cause further damage to the wetlands. Along with the Yukon Conservation Society, I am concerned about salmon habitat downstream of the dams. Since Yukon Energy is proposing to divert a section of the river through Mayo B’s new turbine, it will decrease the flow of a four-kilometre section of the Mayo River. In this section of the river, a certain flow is required for the Chinook spawning and rearing area. I am also worried about the ducks, geese and all of the benthic species living within this hydro system.
On the other hand, it has been proven that the Yukon has important wind power potential. Yet, wind-powered electricity is not a priority for Yukon Energy. Moreover, there are existing wind turbines that are not used. Haeckel Hill is an example. Wind turbines should be encouraged because they produce more electricity in winter, which is when the demand for electricity is higher. On the contrary, hydro dams have a reduced flow in winter, producing less electricity. Generally, windmills have a lower environmental cost. In the case of the Haeckel Hill wind turbine, it has been proven in a five-year study that bird migratory routes are in the valley below the site. Yukon Energy should definitely develop more wind farms instead of building additional dams.
Of course, reducing our energy consumption should be the first priority. And to limit our dependence on fossil fuel as a source of energy, other renewable energy sources should be looked at, such as wind power. However, as we speak about reducing energy consumption for citizens, governments and boards do not stop giving licences to authorize mining across the Yukon.