Alberta has announced its new wetland policy to minimize wetland loss and degradation, while maintaining a balance between environmental conservation and continued economic development. The policy provides a strategic direction to management of the wetlands.
The policy will focus on four outcomes, according to the Province:
- Wetlands of the highest value are protected for the long-term.
- Wetlands and their benefits are conserved and restored in areas where losses have been high.
- Wetlands managed by avoiding, minimizing, and if necessary, replacing lost wetland value.
- Wetland management considers regional context.
The Alberta Wetland Policy (pdf) will determine the value of a wetland by assessing a number of factors, including its relative abundance on the landscape, supported biodiversity, ability to improve water quality, importance to flood reduction, and human uses. The assigned value of each wetland will inform the fashion in which it is managed.
The policy also mandates that where wetlands may be impacted by development, avoidance and minimization should be exercised by the developer, and that where impacting the wetland cannot be avoided and permanent loss is incurred, wetland replacement is obligatory.