Alberta Wetland Classification System 


The Alberta Wetland Classification System (AWCS) was released on June 1, 2015. The purpose of the AWCS is to provide consistency in the classification of wetlands in Alberta with a system that is tailored specifically to Alberta wetlands.  The AWCS  incorporates and merges information from existing wetland classification systems creating a classification system that is applicable across the province based on criteria specific to provincial flora and environmental, geological, and climatic characteristics in Alberta (Government of Alberta 2015).

There are five classes of wetlands under the AWCS: bogs, fens, marshes, shallow open water, and swamps. These classes align with the Canadian Wetland Classification System. The five wetland classes are divided into forms based on vegetation structure and the forms are further subdivided into types based on the length of time surface water is at or above surface level. The Steward and Kantrud Classification System is captured at the sublevel of wetland types. Overall wetlands in Alberta are divided into two broad groups under the AWCS: peatlands (bogs and fens) and mineral wetlands (marshes, fens, and shallow open water).


Government of Alberta. 2015. Alberta Wetland Classification System. Accessed online at: http://www.waterforlife.alberta.ca/documents/ClassificationSystem-Jun01-2015.pdf.