A province-wide Alberta wetland policy has been under development for at least seven years. Albertans expect that the final policy will acknowledge the true ecological value of wetlands. It is critical that any new policy ensures that wetlands are protected proactively; a key step in doing so is to require developers to avoid and minimize impacts, and to compensate for damage with the goal of ensuring no net loss of wetlands in Alberta. This is especially important on Crown lands, as oilsands development will cause significant loss and alteration of wetlands unless there are sound wetland management policies and guidelines in place.
This backgrounder discusses these important elements in wetland policy.