Alberta Environment and Parks have developed numerous Directives, Guides, and Tools for preparing regulatory applications around wetlands. Qualified Wetland Science Practioners (QWSP's) and Interim Wetland Science Practitioners (IWSP's) will be required to be familiar and proficient with all new Directives, Guides, and Tools and apply them in the preparation of regulatory submissions.
Alberta Wetland Identification and Delineation Directive
The purpose of the Alberta Wetland Identification and Delineation Directive is to improve the accuracy and consistency in wetland delineation. The Directive must be used to identify and delineate wetlands to be impacted and to determine replacement ratio cost for wetland replacement. The Directive applies to all wetlands, not just those of high value, however the Directive does not apply to ephemeral water bodies (i.e., Class 1 Steward and Kantrud). The wetland identification and delineation process should be conducted as early as possible in the project planning stage.
Alberta Wetland Assessment and Impact Report Directive
A Wetland Assessment and Impact Report (WAIR) is a required component of any application to impact wetlands and must be prepared by a QWSP or IWSP. The QWSP must complete a wetlands assessment that includes the wetland identification, classification (AWCS), and delineation, relative wetland value (ABWRET-A), species surveys, and any other necessary surveys (project dependent). The field work component of the wetland assessment must be completed within the growing season (April - October). Field work completed outside of the growing season will not be accepted by AEP. The WAIR directive includes a checklist of information that must be included in the report as part of the wetland application.
Alberta Wetland Mitigation Directive
This Directive gives direction and criteria for implementing the mitigation hierarchy (Avoid, Minimize, Replace). The Directive reiterates the strong preference for avoiding all impacts to wetlands and for proponents to give evidence for avoidance. If avoidance is not possible proponents should then minimize these impacts. The last option a proponent should pursue for mitigation is wetland replacement. The Directive outlines 3 mechanisms for replacements; through an wetland offset registry (not yet available), in lieu fee, or permittee-responsible replacement. A Replacement Proposal must be submitted with an application is wetland loss is unavoidable.
Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool - Actual (ABWRET-A) Guide
ABWRET-A is an instruction manual of standardized methods for assessing the relative value of wetlands. ABWRET allows for the rapid assessment of some of the important natural functions of wetlands and assigns the wetlands a value category based on the results of the assessment. A QWSP is required to assess the relative value of the wetland using the Alberta Wetland Rapid Evaluation Tool during the field assessment of a wetland. The data gathering by the QWSP is submitted to AEP where a support technician generates the off-site indicator scores to determine the wetland value category: A, B, C, or D. The category assists AER and the applicant in decisions about wetland avoidance, minimization, replacement, and replacement ratios. The purpose of this standardized approach is to provide consistency, transparency, and comparability for assessing wetland functions and determining wetland value. ABWRET-A guides are available for both the White Area and the Green Area.
Guide for Assessing Permanence of Wetland Basins
The purpose of the Guide for Assessing Permanence of Wetland Basins is to provide a standardized methodology for assessing the permanent of wetlands. Wetlands determined to be permanent using this guide are likely to be crown claimable under Section 3 of the Public Lands Act. Applicants are required to determine the potential ownership of wetlands in their project area and submit the results of the permanence assessment for review to AEP. A Qualified Wetland Assessment Practitioner (QWAP) is required to complete the permanence assessment using this guide.