Wetlands are low-lying areas of land covered by water for sufficient time to support aquatic plants and animals for part of all of their life cycle. More specifically, the Alberta Wetland Policy defines wetlands as:

"…land saturated with water long enough to promote wetland or aquatic processes as indicated by poorly drained soils, hydrophytic (water loving) vegetation, and various kinds of biological activity that are adapted to the wet environment."

Wetlands are highly diverse, productive ecosystems that provide a host of ecological services and form an integral part of Alberta's diverse landscapes.

In Alberta, wetlands have been subject to direct alteration, degradation and loss due to human development activities on the landscape, including:

  • agriculture and urban expansion
  • forestry
  • oil and gas exploration and development
  • mining

The Alberta Wetland Policy:

  • facilitates an informed and considered approach to wetland management across all areas of the province
  • provides the required tools and knowledge systems to support the provinces wetland management needs into the future