Wetlands are lands saturated with water long enough to promote:
- formation of water-altered soils
- growth of water-tolerant vegetation
- various kinds of biological activity adapted to a wet environment
Alberta Wetland Policy
The Alberta Wetland Policy maintains the value of wetlands to the environment, society and economy through:
For more information on the policy, supporting documents and tools, see:
Permanent and naturally occurring bodies of water
The Crown owns the bed and shore of permanent and naturally occurring bodies of water, including wetlands on private property. Section 3 of the Public Lands Act outlines the legal aspect of this ownership. Short-term or seasonal surface water in wetlands is not considered a permanent body of water.
What is the bed and shore of a body of water?
Section 17 of the Surveys Act states:
… the bed and shore of a body of water shall be the land covered so long by water as to wrest it from vegetation or as to mark a distinct character on the vegetation where it extends into the water or on the soil itself.
Crown ownership assessments
The provincial government is responsible for claiming ownership to the bed and shore of a permanent and or naturally occurring body of water within a wetland. However, a surface water permanency assessment can be done in advance. It is submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) when requesting a Crown ownership assessment. Only assessments on wetlands that contain semi-permanent or permanent surface water should be submitted.
For information on assessing surface water permanency see: Guide for Assessing Permanence of Wetland Basins.
To request a Crown ownership determination: