Perspective Matters: Wetland Assessments

Every spring we get swamped with a slough of requests to delineate the boundaries and evaluate the condition of wetlands throughout Alberta. What makes a wetland a wetland is a surprise to most people who, when asked, imagine cattails and mallard ducks swimming in open water. In fact, although open-water wetlands are an important class of wetland, they aren’t the only one, or even the most common, or most threatened. Technically speaking, wetlands are actually defined by soil and vegetation characteristics, which is handy because if we had to depend on the presence of open-water and ducks, we would be missing the majority of wetlands in Alberta. Seasonal and temporary wetlands are just as important from an ecological perspective, especially to the organisms that depend on them, and they offer humans ecological services such as flood prevention, and natural water purification.

This is not news to the Alberta Government, as evidenced through the Alberta Wetland Policy, which recognizes the importance of conserving wetlands, and outlines detailed requirements for assessing their size and condition prior to activities that might disturb them.

Delineating wetlands and evaluating their condition is a lot more complicated than you might think, but luckily, our team of professionals have had quite a lot of practice. Wetlands are a core part of our business, and we take the management of them very seriously. Still, you’ll forgive us, won’t you, if we have al little fun while we are doing it?