Under the provincial Water Act and the Alberta Wetland Policy, any activity that affects the bed and shore of a temporary, seasonal, or permanent wetland needs to be assessed by a Qualified Wetland Science Practitioner (QWSP).
This assessment must be done using the Alberta Wetland Rapid Assessment Tool (ABWRET), a standardized provincial protocol for doing field evaluations. This assessment is used to determine a relative wetland value score and to document how the proposed work may affect or help the condition of any wetlands.
As part of the process for getting a Water Act approval, the results of the wetland assessment must be submitted to the government in a Wetland Assessment and Impact Report (WAIR) or Wetland Assessment and Impact Form (WAIF). The WAIR/WAIF must include a description of the proposed work, the relative value of the wetlands that were assessed, and details of the proposed approach to habitat replacement. In addition, the WAIR/WAIF must include information about whether the Crown has claimed the bed and shore of the water bodies under Section 3 of the Public Lands Act.
Fiera Biological has done over 100 wetland assessments in Alberta over the past five years. This work has included working with our clients during the pre-planning stages to determine whether it’s possible to avoid wetlands—through to field assessment and reporting, and finally, to approval submission and acquisition.
As a result, our team has experience working with a wide range of clients on a variety of projects, and we have well-established and productive working relationships with government regulators across the province. This experience, along with our reputation for doing high quality work, means that our team can efficiently and effectively navigate the regulatory approvals process for our clients.