About wetlands

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

They play an important role in sustaining healthy watersheds by:

  • protecting water quality
  • providing water storage and infiltration
  • providing habitat for wildlife, fish and plants
  • sustaining biodiversity

Wetlands in Alberta are estimated to host some 400 species of plants, some of which are listed as rare, threatened or endangered in the province.

Human use of wetlands

Wetlands also provide the basis for a wide variety of human activities, including:

  • ecotourism
  • importance to many First Nation and Métis people for cultural and traditional uses
  • recreational pursuits

Wetlands are also important to agriculture and forest industries and play a significant role in wildlife conservation program. Peatlands in the province also support peat harvesting (that is, making peat moss) for the horticultural market.

A precious resource

It is estimated that Alberta has lost between 60 to 70% of the wetlands in the settled areas. Wetlands are now being seen as something we need to retain and even enhance as they are recognized as a key component to maintaining healthy farms, acreages and communities.

Alberta's Wetland Policy plays an important part in both recognizing the value of wetlands and retaining them on our landscapes.

Wetland partners

Wetland Replacement Program (WRP)

The WRP works with municipalities and non-profits partners to re-establish wetlands by providing resources for collaborative restoration projects across the province.

Under the Alberta Wetland Policy, the WRP is will offset wetland area lost due to activities on the land. A priority of the Alberta Wetland Policy and WRP is to replace wetlands within municipalities and watersheds that have had the highest amount of lost wetland area since 2015, as well as in areas of high historical loss.

Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan Partnership (Alberta NAWMP)

The Alberta NAWMP conserves and protects Alberta's wetland resources and associated upland habitat. With the support, resources, knowledge base and experience of its partners, Alberta NAWMP employs a unique and successful approach to wetland and waterfowl conservation.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC)

DUC's conservation efforts are part of a bigger conservation approach that spans across Canada, the United States and Mexico. DUC is a part of Alberta NAWMP and their international conservation program is aimed at restoring waterfowl populations to average levels enjoyed in the 1970s.

Resources

Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan Partnership
This site highlights the programs, policy, science, and accomplishments of the Alberta NAWMP.

Alberta Wetland Policy
Review the full text of the policy.

Ducks Unlimited Canada – Education Page
Discover excellent resources to help youth learn about wetlands and waterfowl.

Wetlands Alberta
Find relevant information to help Albertans conserve and protect wetlands.

Wetlands: Webbed Feet Not Required
This education kit for Grade 5 Teachers combines a variety of hands-on, interactive materials with inquiry based learning.

Was this page helpful?

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

You will not receive a reply. Do not enter any personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, or emails.

Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca. If you require a response, please go to our Contact page.