Wetland Projects at Aquality

In 2003, the Government of Alberta released the Water for Life strategy, which aims for the sustainable use of water resources in the Province of Alberta. The three main goals of the strategy are:

  • The supply of safe and secure drinking water;
  • Healthy aquatic ecosystems; and
  • Reliable and high quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.

The strategy outlines how these goals can be achieved by implementing a shared governance structure, whereby the Government of Alberta and non-government stakeholders share the responsibility for the development and delivery of policy, planning and programs or services related to the sustainable use of water resources. TheAlberta Water Council and nine Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils have been created as a result of the Water for Life strategy. In addition, the number and sophistication of Alberta's Watershed Stewardship Groups has grown as well.

Since its inception in 2000, Aquality Environmental Consulting Ltd. has been involved in a number of wetland-related projects with various stakeholders of water resources across Alberta. These projects relate directly to two of the Water for Life strategy main objectives, the supply of safe and secure drinking water and healthy aquatic ecosystems. These projects include:

  • Assistance in the development of wetland and riparian zone policies;
  • Wetland identification, delineation and biophysical impact assessments;
  • Wetland compensation, mitigation and reclamation;
  • Assessing and monitoring the impacts of urban, agricultural and industrial run-off on wetland health and function; and
  • Developing models to protect riparian areas and wetlands.

For example, Aquality developed the Riparian Setback Matrix Model in 2007. This model is a science-based legally defensible model using characteristics such as vegetation, groundwater, slope and height of bank to determine the minimum distance required to protect a water resource, such as a lake, stream or river, from pollutants originating from various land use practices. This model has been adopted by a variety of jurisdictions, modified to suit local conditions and align with local policy goals.

In addition, Aquality has prepared Watershed Management Plans and State of the Watershed reports for numerous lakes and rivers across Alberta, including the North Saskatchewan River, Red Deer River, and Heart River as well as Pigeon Lake, Lac La Biche, Lac La Nonne and Moose Lake. These documents include, but are not limited to, detailed descriptions of the current state and values of wetlands in maintaining water quality and quantity and wildlife habitat in their respective watersheds.

Aquality endeavors to be a valuable resource for municipal governments, developers, industry, agricultural operations and concerned Albertans to address wetland-related issues and concerns.

To learn more about Aquality and the services we provide please visit our website at aquality.ca.