How regional plans are connected with integrated resource plans

Land use planning in Alberta relies on a hierarchy of tools of plans. The top-level plans are regional plans that set the desired outcomes for the province’s air, land, water and biodiversity. Under the regional plans are topical or place-based plans that identify how the regional plan will be implemented for a specific goal or area.

Integrated resource plans are one such approach to apply the regional plans in defined regions or landscapes.


Regional planning in Alberta

The regional planning approach in Alberta is guided by Alberta’s Land-use Framework (LUF). This strategic approach to land use planning divides the province into seven regions that are loosely based on the watersheds in the province.

The Land-use Framework has been the approach that guided regional planning in Alberta since 2006.

Each regional plan is intended to give direction for the subregional, municipal and local plans that are already in place or that will be developed in the future. The objective of this approach is to guide the economic, environmental and social goals of the region.


Hierarchy of planning documents

The Land-use Framework sets out the hierarchy of planning documents. At the top are the regional plans, and the subsequent plans must align with the goals of the regional plans. This means that all local or subregional plans must be written and implemented to be consistent the broad goals set out by the regional plan.

Integrated resource plans (IRPs) are one type of local plan that must comply with the regional plan. Regional integrated decisions (RIDs) are plans for smaller-scale regions or more urgent issues.


Integrated Land Management in Alberta

Integrated land management (ILM) is a land use planning approach for the management of public land and resources. It is a strategy to manage government-owned land and related natural resources with the goal of reducing the human-caused disturbances.

To implement ILM, integrated resource plans are created to define the goals for the public land and associated natural resources in a region. The goal of the plans is to manage the impact of human use and balance economic, social or environmental targets.

Government departments apply an ILM when they make decisions for the use, operations and development of a region that has an IRP.


When ILM is triggered

In most scenarios, ILM is triggered when there are overlapping uses of a region. When a landscape is balancing economic, environmental and social uses, then ILM can assist in balancing complex or competing interests.


Goals of ILM

ILM recognizes that a landscape rarely has a single use. The complex or competing uses require a unified plan in order to maximize priorities and reduce disturbances.

The four goals of ILM are:

  1. Together we share the land
  2. We create a plan for the use of our land
  3. We use shared knowledge to build common understanding
  4. We all practice stewardship

Using these four goals, ILM assesses existing and proposed activities, along with the potential benefits and effects. The basis for decisions is the best available data and information, with a recognition that management is an ongoing and adaptive process.


ILM and the Land-use Framework

The Land-use Framework sets out the goals for land use throughout the entire province. To assist with public land management and promoting consideration for effective land use practices, ILM sets out the plan and strategies for specific regions.

Government departments that are involved in public land management can use ILM to guide their decisions and take into account complex or competing values.


Resources for integrated land management

Overview of Integrated Land Management in Alberta
Summary of integrated land management and more resources from the Government of Alberta.

List of IRPs and RIDs in Alberta
Current integrated resource plans and regional integrated decisions in Alberta.

Integrated Land Management Tools Compendium
Management plans, technologies, government programs, and recommendations to support integrated land management.


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