Shorelands refer to the beds and shores of all Alberta’s permanent and naturally occurring bodies of water, including:
Lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands cover approximately 2.5% of Alberta’s landscape. Adjoining each water body are sensitive regions of land called the nearshore area. This area is broken down into three distinct management zones.
- shallow submerged lands within a body of water
- sunlight can penetrate
- very biologically diverse
- the area between the water edge and the bank (i.e. the ordinary high water mark)
- forms the shores of the water body
- vegetated area between the shore zone and the uplands
- directly influenced by the water body
The province owns and manages:
- beds and shores of permanent and naturally occurring bodies of water
- riparian areas where the adjoining land is owned by the province, such as:
- forested regions of Alberta
- leased public lands in the settled area
Private lands often border provincial water bodies. To manage sensitive provincial shorelands and riparian areas on private land, public land managers work co-operatively with:
- other resource management agencies
Activities that occur in nearshore areas of water bodies– vegetation changes, chemical application, septic systems – trickle down and affect lake, river, stream and wetland environments.
Both private land owners and the Crown share a responsibility for maintaining the health of shorelands and adjacent riparian zones in order to keep stream, lake and wetland ecosystems healthy.