The Alberta Water Council submitted a comprehensive wetland policy and implementation recommendations to the Alberta government yesterday, aimed at helped the province develop and finalize a wetlands policy. Recommendations focus on protecting Alberta’s wetlands by managing impacts; setting objectives; encouraging stewardship; and building knowledge and capacity.

In 2005, the Alberta Water Council formed the Wetland Policy Project Team, composed of government, industry and environmental representatives. The team was tasked with developing a provincial wetland policy and implementation plan that the Council could recommend to the provincial government. “It is critical to make certain that wetlands, like other natural resources, are sustained for future generations with initiatives that support the Water for Life strategy,” says Gord Edwards, executive director of the Alberta Water Council.

Alberta Water Council Recommendations for a New Wetland Policy and Alberta Water Council Recommendations for a Wetland Policy Implementation Plan have been submitted to the minister of environment for his consideration. The Council expects it will take the minister some time to complete a thorough review and respond.

“I look forward to reviewing the wetland policy and implementation recommendations provided by the Alberta Water Council. I am confident that the time invested by participating sectors has resulted in well-thought out, balanced options on managing wetlands,” says Rob Renner, minister of environment. He added that while the group did not reach consensus on all of the recommendations, he was certain that the implementation phase would alleviate concerns from any particular sector.

David Pryce, VP Operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers comments, “This policy recommendation reflects a significant collaborative effort to provide guidance on how wetlands should be valued and managed in concert with other provincial policy objectives. There are many areas of agreement amongst the stakeholders and industry supports the establishment of definitive policy to guide planning and decision-making. We believe this policy should enable a flexible and balanced approach to decision-making by the government. Work remains on how that policy will strike an appropriate balance and on defining appropriate implementation tools.”

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