A Review of Policies and Practices
As part of the Battle River Watershed Alliance’s dedication to the development of the Watershed Management Plan (WMP), policy research and development will be undertaken for each of the main watershed management components. This report is the background policy research for the wetland component of the WMP.
To develop effective policies and guidelines encouraging compliance on a voluntary basis, knowledge of the policies, guidelines, and monitoring resources that exist as potential support measures is crucial. Policies and guidelines set out by various sectors that affect wetlands on the international to the local level are outlined and discussed. Many policies pertain to beneficial management practices for the agricultural sector, addressing economic drivers of wetland loss, and support for wetland restoration and conservation is paramount.
Currently, most municipalities in the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds do not have wetland management plans, polices, or bylaws. Most programs and policies pertaining to wetlands occur at the provincial/state and federal level through several different ministries. The majority of these programs and policies focus on addressing agricultural wetland challenges, with emerging assistance for municipalities.
Some international agencies and governments have developed polices and recommendations regarding wetland management policies, plans, and programs. With a changing climate comes increased uncertainty as well as increasingly extreme weather. Wetlands play an important role in managing water in extreme events by reducing the severity of those events while keeping the health of the landscape. As such, these can be used to create policy recommendations specific to the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds.
Wetland management is not a new concept, especially to agricultural producers who manage ongoing challenges. Wetlands offer naturalized solutions to waste and storm water issues in growing urban areas. Selecting regionally appropriate management methods and monitoring effectiveness of those methods through the adaptive management process is the most effective way to promote implementation.
Ongoing education to address differing societal values in relation to wetlands is needed as strategic restoration and conversation efforts continue. From landowners and the public, to government commitments and polices, all need to be held accountable and empowered to ensure wetlands continue as an important part of our watershed.
Coming Soon: BRWA's Wetland Management Implementation Guidelines
Other Resources for Wetland Management:
North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) in Alberta: http://www.abnawmp.ca/
North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) in Alberta: Guide to Making Wetlands Work in Your Municipality
Alberta Environment and Parks Wetland Policy: http://aep.alberta.ca/water/programs-and-services/wetlands/alberta-wetland-policy.aspx
Aquality Wetland Policy Website: http://www.wetlandpolicy.ca/