Managing wetlands in settled regions is a challenge. In fact, up to 70 per cent of wetlands in settled areas have been lost in the province. And the decline of wetland habitat continues.
The urgency to manage wetlands has created a library of resources dedicated to municipalities to ease the challenge. The Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan Partnership (NAWMP) provides resources for wildlife protection and wildlife conservation, including a comprehensive guide for Alberta municipalities
Here are the highlights from the guide for municipalities.
What wetlands are present?
An inventory of wetlands within a municipal boundary can be developed through existing resources. Most notably, the Alberta Merged Wetland Inventory is an online database of wetland locations and characteristics. Digging deeper, municipalities can complete their own inventories to complement the existing databases and track local indicators of wetland health.
Create a workplan to strategize and implement solutions
Before solutions can be implemented, the steps and strategies to reach the solution should be identified. A wetland conservation workplan reviews the actions a municipality can take and prioritize the actions to work towards immediately or in the future.
By identifying priorities, funding and resources can be managed and effectively used. And a workplan can assist municipalities in identifying gaps in staff capacity or budgets.
Consider the value that wetlands provide
Wetland conservation provides valuable functions – such as water filtration and floodwater retention. The management, protection and improvement of wetlands allows these function to continue or develop in the future, so a wetland vision should consider the benefits a wetland can provide in the years down the road.
Here’s what Alberta municipalities are doing
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association has outlined the wetland initiatives of Alberta municipalities – download the Resources and Municipal Examples of Wetland Management. From Airdrie to Strathcona County, there are tools and tips that range in function and geographic location.
Wetlands 101 online course
This e-course, Alberta Wetlands 101, helps professionals, citizens and land owners understand the complexity of wetlands and learn how the provinces supports the ongoing management of wetlands. Take this course online to go through videos and quizzes on the history, biology and management of wetlands in Alberta.