All energy sources affect the environment in some way. Hydroelectricity is a long-standing and proven energy generation solution. In order to store the energy we need for our cold, dark winters, hydroelectric projects create a water storage reservoir which has impacts on the surrounding ecosystem, traditional and heritage use of the locale, local land tenure, and local communities. A hydro facility is a renewable energy source with little direct greenhouse gas emissions, but it is recognized that the reservoir footprint and reservoir drawdown can be significant and must be carefully considered.

The socio-economic and environmental effects report provides a high level analysis of the potential positive and negative effects on the six priority sites. The high-level analysis is meant to assist decision makers in comparing the sites relative to each other by highlighting key areas of concern and potential benefits.

This report is not an environmental assessment and the level of screening and research conducted in a formal YESAA process is many years away. Socio-economic effects must reflect community and stakeholder values and therefore are difficult to assess at this phase of work. Much more work must be done on a specific site to determine the positive and negative effects and how communities and stakeholders will value and interpret various impacts.

Fish and fish habitat impacts are rated high for all sites but one in the study. This reflects the nature of storage projects and the need to thoroughly study, understand and mitigate their effects on the environment.

Based on the evaluation in this study, Two Mile Canyon and Detour Canyon appear to offer some key advantages with respect to wildlife, habitat and potential socio-economic effects; however few studies of this nature have been done in this area. At this stage in planning, each of the six sites remain viable locations for a new hydroelectric project. The advantages and disadvantages highlighted in this study represent the positive effects that could be enhanced and the negative effects that will require attention through all subsequent phases of work.


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