Wetland Assessment and Impact Reports (WAIR)
The goal of the Alberta Wetland Policy is to conserve, restore, protect and manage Alberta’s wetlands to sustain the benefits they provide to the environment, society and economy. To achieve this goal, wetlands are managed by avoiding and minimizing adverse effects, and, where necessary, replacing permanent loss of wetland area. The Wetland Mitigation Hierarchy informs the management approach to wetland impacts in Alberta:
- Avoidance – The primary and preferred response is to avoid wetlands
- Minimization – Where avoidance is not possible, proponents are expected to minimize impacts on wetlands
- Replacement – As a last resort, and where avoidance and minimization efforts are not feasible or prove ineffective, wetland replacement is required
The replacement value for a wetland is dependent on the relative value it receives from the regulator. A wetland receives a score from “A” to “D”. “A” is assigned to the wetlands with the highest value and it comes with a replacement ratio of 8:1, “B” has a replacement ratio of 4:1, “C” has a replacement ratio of 2:1, and “D” a replacement ratio of 1:1. Proponents can fulfill their replacement obligations through any combination of the following options:
- Make a payment to the in-lieu fee program. A third party will expend these fees on replacement actions to restore, enhance or construct a wetland.
- Undertake permittee-responsible replacement, where the proponent restores, enhances or constructs a wetland, either in advance of – or soon after – permanent wetland losses have been incurred.
Omnia personnel have extensive experience with the Alberta Wetland Policy and have completed numerous Wetland Assessment and Impact Reports following the new directives that were implemented in 2015.