After a very long wait a new wetland policy for the province was released yesterday. The policy is a step forward in managing Alberta’s wetlands as it is the first time a policy applies to the Green Area (public land) of the province. Beyond that only time will tell if environmental outcomes are supported at all by the policy. There is simply too much wiggle room in the policy to validate it as an effective mechanism to protect wetlands of significant biodiversity and ecosystem function. The lack of certainty for environmental outcomes certainly doesn’t bolster social licence arguments about the sustainability of activities in Alberta.
First, there is no overarching goal to maintain wetland area (as espoused by the non-consensusof the Alberta Water Council) let alone to maintain or restore wetland function. Rather the stated policy goal is to “sustain the benefits they provide to the environment, society and economy.” Interpret that as you will.
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