Ross River, Faro and Dawson City partner with YRC to map landscape hazards

For immediate release   |  Thursday, July 4, 2013

WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Research Centre (YRC) is leading the Yukon in climate change hazards planning. Three more Yukon communities have partnered with the YRC to study the effects of climate change on their future planning and development.

The Ross River Dena Council, the Town of Faro, the City of Dawson and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in are partnering with the Northern Climate ExChange at the Yukon Research Centre, the Yukon Geological Survey and the universities of Ottawa and Montreal, to undertake a two-year landscape hazards mapping project in their communities.

“Climate change has the potential to impact our infrastructure and our economy and with limited information on landscape hazards, we are very keen to work with the YRC and create a tool for future planning,” said the Honourable Heather Campbell, Mayor, Town of Faro.

Researchers will work with the communities to create a colour-coded map detailing permafrost, surficial geology and hydrology conditions, identifying areas that are low, medium or high-risk for landscape hazards. Landscape hazards include thawing permafrost, landslides, and flooding. Hazards maps are created through detailed assessment of landscape features and the use of ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tomography, and drilling permafrost cores to characterize permafrost.

Landscape hazards maps have already been created for the communities of Mayo, Pelly Crossing, Destruction Bay and Burwash Landing.

“The Yukon Research Centre has been instrumental in helping us plan and prepare for a changing climate. These hazards maps identified that our community is almost entirely built on permafrost and it is with this knowledge that we can make informed decisions for the future of our community,” said Chief Mathieya Alatini, Kluane First Nation.

Each project will employ surficial geologists and student field assistants from the Yukon Geological Survey and professors and students from the universities of Ottawa and Montreal.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has provided $188,000 in funding for the research project through the Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP). CCAP supports Aboriginal and northern communities to address the risks and challenges posed by the impacts of climate change.

The Northern Climate ExChange has recently created an eye catching comic (Kluane Region edition) of hazards mapping to illustrate the basics and importance of hazards mapping in Yukon’s changing climate. Please read for more information.

The three community landscape hazard maps will be completed in the spring of 2015.


For more information, contact:

Bronwyn Benkert
Research Coordinator
Northern Climate ExChange
Yukon Research Centre

Jacqueline Bedard
College Relations
Yukon College