Report highlights development threats on Canadian watershed

Hannah Hoag, reporting for Nature:


Without better governance, a robust science programme and stronger regulations for extractive industries and hydroelectric developments, Canada’s massive Mackenzie River basin could continue to face destroyed landscapes and massive bills for environmental clean-ups, an international panel of experts warns in a report issued today.

The Mackenzie River is the longest river in Canada, pouring 10.3 million litres of fresh water, the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools, into the Arctic Ocean per second. Its ecosystems are mostly intact. They provide breeding habitat for migratory birds and include wetlands, boreal forest and carbon dioxide–absorbing peat lands, but they are at risk under warming climate scenarios and natural-resource development.