Native grassland

Alberta’s government works together with industry, communities and citizens to protect and sustain native grassland.


To achieve air, water, land and biodiversity conditions that support healthy ecosystems, it is critical to manage the cumulative effects of human development on the environment. Stewardship requires a collaborative effort by everyone to achieve sustainable outcomes.

Policy direction is assured through education, outreach and programs. We also report conditions and trends. Partners in industry and communities are asked to use best practices and follow regulations that:

  • minimize the disturbance of land
  • reduce invasive species
  • manage at-risk landscapes

Grassland management strategy

To avoid losing native grassland in Alberta, we try to reduce how much those landscapes are disturbed. Historical and current policy for protecting native grasslands has been built on principles for minimizing surface disturbed as outlined in this threefold strategy: 

  1. Avoidance of native grasslands where possible, especially in critical ecological sites identified as extremely difficult to reclaim.
  2. Reducing area and impacts of industrial disturbance to the extent possible, and
  3. Developing practical methods that will allow eventual restoration of disturbed areas.

Our policies and practices

We use the following policies and practices to educate, build awareness and explain regulations:

Resources and tools

We work with experts and concerned citizens to help industrial users reduce how much native grasslands are disturbed. Together, we have created resources and tools that help them meet our guidelines.

To create these resources, we collaborate with:

Geospatial mapping

The Grassland Vegetation Inventory (GVI) Geospatial Layer maps the Grassland Natural Region of the province.

We use the GVI to:

  • manage rangelands
  • manage wildlife
  • manage wetlands
  • plan land use
  • reclaim native grasslands
  • It also shows industrial disturbances in less-environmentally sensitive areas.

Grassland plant guides

A variety of guides that outline what kinds of plants are native to different areas are provided. These guides can be used to identify the vegetation seen during site assessments. They can also be used to correctly replant industrial sites during reclamation.

These community guides are available at:

Recovery strategy guides

Guides are available that explain recovery strategies for grassland in different regions. They help with the following:

  • site preparation
  • best timing for restoration
  • equipment needed
  • what seed mixes to use
  • how to monitor recovery

Some of the recovery strategy guides are:

Partner resources

Look online at Grassland Restoration Forum and Prairie Conservation Forum for other useful resources, such as:

Grassland Conservation Tools Project

Learn about the types of grasslands conservation tools being used in jurisdictions across North America and how they could be used in Alberta to maintain, improve, enhance, restore, conserve and secure intact native grassland landscapes and habitats.

Intended users or audiences for this report include, but are not limited to:

  • Provincial and municipal government departments
  • Conservation, land trust and non-government agencies
  • Stakeholders and private landholders
  • Educational institutions

The summary report can be viewed at: Grassland Conservation Tools Project: Summary Report

Example tool web links in the report are current as of report date released.