North Saskatchewan regional planning

Development of this plan will support land and natural resource management to achieve long-term economic, environmental and social goals.


Regional planning sets out a new approach for managing our lands and natural resources to achieve our province's long-term environmental, economic and social goals.

The planning takes a phased approach that begins with gathering and assessing information, input and advice, followed by receiving feedback and drafting the regional plan, and ends with finalizing and approving the plan. The Land Use Secretariat leads the process for developing regional plans for government. Alberta Environment and Protected Areas contributes to regional plan development and implementation with content related to environmental and resource management outcomes for air, land, water and biodiversity.

For more information on regional planning see: North Saskatchewan Region Land Use Planning

Land, resource and environmental management must continue even when a regional plan is not in place. Therefore, sub-regional and local planning initiatives will continue as needed.

Regional environmental management frameworks

Regional environmental management frameworks help manage the long-term cumulative effects of development and activities on the air, water and biodiversity. The frameworks:

  • include regional outcomes and objectives
  • identify indicators to help understand conditions of the environment
  • set regional threshold values, including triggers and limits
  • establish a management response if triggers or limits are exceeded
  • outline monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements

This proactive management approach helps ensure negative trends are identified early and reduces the risk of exceeding regional ambient limits.

Surface Water Quality Management Framework for the North Saskatchewan and Battle Rivers

The Surface Water Quality Management Framework for the North Saskatchewan and Battle Rivers was released in 2022, building upon the numerous initiatives for cumulative effects management within the region.

The regional-scale framework establishes an approach for monitoring and managing the cumulative impacts of human activities on water quality in both the North Saskatchewan and Battle rivers. The framework:

  • establishes a regional objective for surface water quality
  • identifies key indicators of water quality
  • sets surface water quality management thresholds for the suite of indicators (i.e., triggers, limits, and if appropriate in the future, targets)
  • identifies a management response process that will be initiated, if an indicator exceeds a threshold
  • creates an integrated and robust management approach that is consistent amongst the province’s land use planning regions
  • describes roles and responsibilities for relevant groups

Edmonton metropolitan region

A key sub-region within the North Saskatchewan region is the Edmonton metropolitan region. This key region includes the Industrial Heartland, which is home to world-scale oil and gas refineries, chemical and petrochemical facilities.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board represents 13 municipalities surrounding the City of Edmonton and regional municipalities with populations of 5,000 or more. Nested within the region is the Industrial Heartland, which is an area zoned for heavy industrial development.

To view a map of the region, see: Capital Region/Industrial Heartland Cumulative Effects Program Map.

Cumulative effects management in the Edmonton metropolitan region (formerly called the Capital Region) is important, as there are many different uses, pressures and values. Edmonton area regional environmental management frameworks are cumulative effects management tools that:

  • outline specific environmental outcomes
  • provide strategies and targets for managing growth pressures

For more information, see: Cumulative Effects Management System within the Industrial Heartland and Capital Region

Sub-regional environmental management frameworks

Multi-stakeholder forums

Two regional multi-stakeholder committees advise Alberta Environment and Protected Areas on the frameworks. The Capital Region Air Quality Management Framework Oversight Advisory Committee and the Water Management Framework Advisory Committee, which meet quarterly to continue advising government as their respective frameworks are implemented. Stakeholders include:

  • industry
  • municipalities
  • environmental non-government organizations
  • provincial government

Reports, studies and fact sheets