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YESAA provides for the assessment of projects and plans that might have effects (negative and positive) in the Yukon. Assessments are done by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB). This is a neutrally-conducted process where environmental and socio-economic concerns from the public and assessors can be made and considered in the decision-making process. It gives the public, First Nations and non-government organizations an opportunity to provide comments and recommendations.
YESAA legislation mandates the assessment of potential effects of proposed activities. As part of the assessment, recommendations are made to the relevant decision-making bodies (federal, territorial and/or First Nation governments). The regulatory bodies either accept, reject or vary the recommendations with a rationale in a decision document. These recommendations must be followed for the project to proceed.
Forestry projects generally trigger an assessment under YESAA when a harvesting project is greater than 1000 m3 and when a road is constructed. Any project that covers an area between 1000 m3 and 20,000 m3 is assessed under YESAA at the designated office (local) level. A project greater than 20,000 m3 is assessed at the Executive Committee level.
Forestry roads that are scraped or bladed often require an assessment. Most often such roads are assessed at the designated office level. The harvesting activities along with the roads or may be assessed together or separately.