Consistency and Accountability in Implementing Watershed Plans in Alberta: A jurisdictional review and recommendations for reform

Consistency and Accountability in Implementing Watershed Plans in Alberta: A jurisdictional review and recommendations for reform

1/29/2010

 
Collaborative watershed planning has been adopted across much of North America as the method of managing water and land in an integrated fashion. The Government of Alberta joined the collaborative watershed management and planning movement in 2003. Collaborative planning has the potential to significantly alter land and water management in Alberta, so long as it is accompanied by an appropriate policy and statutory framework for implementation.
 
The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) conducted a jurisdictional review focused on comparing law and policy approaches to implementation of collaboratively produced and approved watershed management plans. The jurisdictions reviewed include Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Oregon, California, Washington, and the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. A literature review of published watershed partnership case studies and academic commentary was also conducted to identify characteristics of a law and policy framework to facilitate implementation of watershed plans.
 
The review identifies central issues that must be dealt with in a policy framework for implementation of plans. These issues include consistent integration of plans in decision-making in government agencies, municipalities and among the broader watershed community, the need for sustained and transparent funding, and the need for a regulatory backstop to deal with implementation failures. Statutory reform is recommended to ensure that watershed plans are consistently applied, that accountability for outcomes is maintained, and to promote a robust and progressive planning system.
 
Consistency and Accountability in Implementing Watershed Plans in Alberta: A jurisdictional review and recommendations for reform By Jason Unger, Staff Counsel, Environmental Law Centre December, 2009
 
 


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