• Cheryl Lucas

AB Wetlands Policy

The Alberta Government is in the process of a phased implementation for the new Alberta Wetland Policy. Application submissions under the policy for the White Area (settled region) began in June 2015. Initial expectations for submissions under the policy required for the Green Area (crown lands) was June 2016, but has recently been updated to be implemented and in effect on July 4, 2016. It is not currently known what the application process will look like for the Green Area, although, the application submission requirements may influence new and existing projects if activity planned potentially impacts a defined wetland.

Key consideration for the wetland policy implementation include:

  • Clear articulation of the Wetland Mitigation Hierarchy

  • Wetland replacement requirements

The Wetland Regulatory Multi-stage Process

Stage 1

Planning & Legislative Alignment

  1. Preliminary wetland ownership, identification and delineation, and value

  2. Legislative alignment

Stage 2

Wetland Assessment

  1. Identification and Delineation

  2. Classification

  3. Relative Value Actual (ABWRET-A)

  4. Species surveys and other studies

Stage 3

Application Submission

  1. Wetland Assessment and Impact Report (WAIR)

  2. Rationale for proposed impacts and evidence of Mitigation Hierarchy

  3. Minimization Plan

  4. Replacement Plan (if applicable)

Stage 4 (if applicable)

Restorative Replacement

Replacement design and monitoring plans (if applicable)

The Alberta Wetland Policy establishes a clearly defined certification system requirement for wetland assessment specialists. Professionals accredited under the Qualified Wetland Science Practitioner (QWSP) program, are required to assist applicants in progressing through all stages of the application process. As well, the Wetland Mitigation Hierarchy is applied to all stages of the policy.

It is probable increased project budgets and timelines will result when planning projects affected by defined wetlands.

More information and updates are available of the Alberta Environment & Parks website.


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