North America, Europe and Asia have engaged in peat extraction for several centuries.
In Canada, peat is extracted primarily for horticultural purposes. Peatlands provide ecological goods and services such as:
- water storage
- carbon storage
- water filtration
- wildlife habitat
In Alberta, peat operations are defined in the Conservation and Reclamation Regulation. This is part of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA). A peat operation is any opening or excavation in the ground’s surface or subsurface used to do the following with peat or peaty substance:
- opening up
This definition of peat operations includes any associated infrastructure.
Peat operations in Alberta are regulated by the EPEA, Water Act and Public Lands Act. Associated regulations also play a role.
The requirements for Conservation and Reclamation Plans for peat operations on private and public land can be found at: Requirements for Conservation and Reclamation Plans for Peat Operations in Alberta.
Applying for a peat operation
Certain approvals are required before commencing peat operations.
Water Act approval
All peat operations require a Water Act approval.
For more information, see the Water Act Approval Factsheet.
Public lands approval
A public lands surface-material lease application is also required for peat operations.
For more information, see: Peat.