Skip to content or main menu

Wetlands Alberta

Engaging Albertans to conserve and protect wetlands


Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet.

You are here: Protection » Tools for Wetland Protection

Tools for Wetland Protection

Wetland conservation is made possible through a network of strategies, partnerships and programs that have been developed over the last few decades in Alberta. These include:

Alberta’s Wetland Policy

Under the provincial Water for Life strategy, a new wetland policy and supporting implementation plan was developed in 2013–2014. The purpose of the policy is to reverse the trend of wetland loss, ensure the wise use and management of this resource, inventory provincially significant wetlands, create wetland education initiatives, and support wetland restoration projects. Click here for more information.

North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP)

Canada is a signatory of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan – an international action plan to conserve migratory birds and their habitats throughout North America. In Alberta, focus has been on conserving and restoring wetland and upland habitats through the Alberta NAWMP Partnership. The program utilizes a number of tools to implement conservation across the province, such as land acquisition, wetland and upland restoration, and conservation easements.
Learn more about NAWMP in Alberta.

Protected Areas

Careful stewardship of wetlands through protected area designation can help safeguard highly sensitive or significant areas for the future. For example, an Ecological Reserve preserves and protects natural heritage in an undisturbed state for scientific research and education. A Natural Area preserves and protects sites of local significance and provides opportunities for low-impact recreation and nature appreciation activities. For more information, check out Alberta Parks.

Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a legal agreement under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), in which a landowner can choose to preserve the land’s natural value (e.g. wetland value), either indefinitely or for a specific period of time. Learn more about about conservation easements.

Ecological Gifts

The Ecological Gifts program is a federal program in which private and corporate landowners can make donations of ecologically sensitive land (e.g. wetland areas), or interests in these lands, and receive tax benefits. For more information, visit The Canadian Ecological Gifts Program.

Municipal Bylaws

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) guides and empowers municipalities to make urban and rural land-use development decisions through the creation of land-use bylaws. By-laws can be used to prohibit or regulate developments that may negatively impact wetlands. The MGA also provides for the creation of Municipal Reserve and Environmental Reserve lands, which may offer some protection to wetlands. To learn more about the MGA, visit Alberta Municipal Affairs. For more information about municipal bylaws, contact your local municipality.