Upper Athabasca 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 in the Upper Athabasca region see: Upper Athabasca 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 Upper Athabasca River

The Surface Water Quality Management Framework for the Upper Athabasca River was released in 2022. Together with the Surface Water Quality Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River, the entire Athabasca River is monitored and managed under the guidance of a water quality management framework.

The regional-scale framework establishes an approach for monitoring and managing the cumulative impacts of human activities on water quality in the Upper Athabasca River. 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

Land management plans

Luscar and Gregg River mines

Luscar and Gregg River mines are in the historic coal branch on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains near Hinton. Government of Alberta worked with stakeholders and First Nations to develop the Luscar and Gregg River Land Management Plan that was approved in 2012. The plan provides clarity and certainty for future management of the Luscar and Gregg River mines area. The intent of the plan is to provide direction for appropriate access, protection, and use of the reclaimed lands, including objectives regarding conservation of habitat and wildlife populations, protection of watersheds, and reasonable and appropriate public access to provide education, recreation, and ecotourism opportunities. The plan:

  • phases in certain land uses and public access over a number of years
  • protects reclamation efforts by allowing them time to be successfully established
  • will result in future economic, recreational, and ecological benefits

For more information, see: Luscar & Gregg River Mines Land Management Plan.


Connect with regional staff for more information about the Luscar and Gregg River Mines Land Management Plan:

Email: [email protected]