The Mayo River as viewed from the Mayo power plant.The Yukon Water Board approved emergency amendments to Yukon Energy’s water licence for Mayo Lake after significantly low water levels in the lake forced the crown corporation to seek the water licence amendments. ( Submitted/Yukon Energy)

Yukon Energy granted amendments to its water licence for Mayo Lake

The company has been ordered to create a drought plan and monitor fish

The Yukon Water Board has approved emergency amendments to Yukon Energy’s water licence for Mayo Lake.

Significantly low water levels in the lake forced the crown corporation to seek the amendments. The water board granted its approval Aug. 15.

Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall said in an Aug. 20 interview residents of Mayo have likely already noticed water levels of the Mayo and Stewart Rivers already decreased as water flows from Mayo Lake were reduced soon after the amendments were granted.

“We made the change on Friday,” he said.

Officials sought the emergency amendments in an application submitted Aug. 1.

Under the changes, Yukon Energy can reduce its water level of the lake to 663.25 metres above sea level, the minimum required to support fish habitat downstream of the lake.

The water level throughout August is typically more than 665 metres above sea level, according to records for 10 of the last 14 years.

The lake’s water level was at 663.49 metres above sea level on Aug. 20.

With Mayo Lake not refilling as it normally does through the summer, less water is available to flow through the lake to support fish habitat downstream in the Mayo and Stewart Rivers.

The corporation has a responsibility to protect fish habitat near its facilities and had already taken measures to minimize the power generated at its Mayo site in an effort to save as much water in the lake as possible, Hall said in a previous interview.

Included in the emergency amendment are clauses that Yukon Energy must submit a low water level response plan and a fish mitigation monitoring plan by Dec. 31, 2020.

The low water level response plan would outline action to be taken in the event of a drought at the lake, while the fish mitigation and monitoring plan would outline the low water response and impacts for all fish species in Mayo Lake and the river system.

Hall said Yukon Energy had not proposed the plans in its submission for the amendments, but will begin working on both in the coming weeks.

“It makes sense,” he said of the reports.

The Dec. 31, 2020 deadline for both reports provides substantial time for that work to be done, Hall said.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

What the ‘new normal’ looks like for now

As the Yukon slowly reopens, this is what it looks like at restaurants and other businesses

Many continue to opt for take-out as dining rooms reopen

City considers options for more patio space

Yukon government suspends phone program for vulnerable women after data overage issues

The Yukon government suspended service without warning last month to cell phones… Continue reading

Campgrounds reopening June 4

Yukoners are asked to stick to their “double-bubble” households, respect social distancing… Continue reading

Yukon government has valid claim in Wolverine mine bankruptcy, judge rules

“This application arises because of an irresponsible mining venture in the Yukon”

City tickets 50 on day one of return to parking meter enforcement

A total of 50 parking tickets were issued June 1 by the… Continue reading

Driver charged in 2019 Whitehorse pedestrian death

A driver has been charged in relation to the 2019 death of… Continue reading

Council holds off on designation decision for portion of the tank farm

Decision comes in light of notice of violation to project proponent

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week. June… Continue reading

Pilot Station salmon sonar to go ahead this season

The Pilot Station sonar, located near the mouth of the Yukon River… Continue reading

Renovations start at LePage Park

The Yukon Historical and Museums Association has started a resurfacing project for… Continue reading

Contract awarded for mixed-income housing project

The Yukon government has awarded a $16.8-million contract to build the mixed-income… Continue reading

Most Read