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AER – Alberta Wetland Policy Implementation Session

The Alberta Wetland Policy issued by the Alberta Government in September 2013 brought a new approach to managing wetlands in Alberta. Since 2013 the AER and AEP have held wetland policy implementation sessions for industry and consultants to gain insight on the how the government will be applying the new policy. Below are some of the key points discussed during the session on Nov. 27, 2017.

There are three regulatory mechanisms which will be used in wetland management:

  1. Water Act – main regulatory mechanism
  2. Public Lands Act
  3. Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

There will some exemptions from having to complete a wetland assessment if your impact area is within one or more of the listed areas below and was approved before July 4, 2016:

  1. EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) local area study
  2. WA (Water Act) approval boundary.
  3. EPEA (Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act) approval boundary
  4. PLA (Public Lands Act) disposition boundary.

Up till now the wetland policy has been implemented in parts with some aspects being added over time. According to AER and AEP representatives at the session, as of January 2, 2018 the Alberta Wetland Policy will be in full effect. The AER and AEP presenters discussed in more detail a number of the new tools that are being used and will be coming online in the near future for the different stages.

ABWRET – D (Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool – Desktop)

  • The desktop tool will be used to support wetland replacement requirements for minimal, permanent impacts on wetlands.
  • The tool is expected to be available early in 2018 and until it is available the ABWRET – A tool is to be used.

ABWRET – A (Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool – Actual)

  • Required whenever an activity impacts a wetland

Wetland Assessment and Impact Form (WAIF)

  • Part of Stage 2 in the Alberta Wetland Policy
  • Streamlined wetland assessment for lower risk activities in Table 2 of the WAIF
  • Required for public land access crossing wetlands with a defined bed and bank
  • Required for water monitoring wells and programs impacting wetlands
  • Can be completed year round

Wetland Assessment and Impact Report (WAIR)

  • Part of Stage 2 in the Alberta Wetland Policy
  • Full wetland assessment for higher risk activities not outlined in Table 2 of the WAIF
  • Requires field work and can only be conducted during the growing season

For more information on the Alberta Wetland Policy and how it will impact you please contact us at


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