WHEREAS Alberta Environment is responsible for regulating activities such as wetland mitigation and development projects that affect Crown owned water bodies and naturally occurring wetlands under the authority of the Water Act; andWHEREAS under the Water Act, the municipality requires an application approval process under the Provincial Wetland Restoration/Compensation Guide (2007) for any activity such as road construction that may impact wetlands. In addition to the approval application, the municipality is required to hire a qualified Wetland Aquatic Environment Specialist (QWAES) to file a Wetland Impact Assessment Form and a mitigation plan with the Application for Approval or License under the Water Act form; andWHEREAS the municipality is required to pay compensation for the wetland restoration agency such as Ducks Unlimited Canada to restore drained or altered naturally occurring wetlands as approved by Alberta Environment; andWHEREAS in our findings, the Provincial Wetland Restoration/Compensation Guidelines burden the municipality with more applications/assessments, advertising requirements, increase in costs and delay in road construction through small sloughs/wetlands with minimal loss or impact on the soil, vegetation and wildlife habitat;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Province of Alberta to exempt municipalities under the Water Act/Provincial Wetland Restoration/Compensation Guide for constructing rural roads through small sloughs/wetlands where the loss of the slough/wetland is less than 1 hectare in size.
The County of Minburn No. 27 is straightening a roadway in the following three areas which involves constructing portions of the roadways through small sloughs and/or wetlands.1. Slough/wetland in SW 30 & NW 19-51-11-W4M. This will result in having to construct a portion of the roadway through two small sloughs. It is estimated that approximately 0.49 hectares of slough area will be filled in by the proposed road grade (1210 sq.m. & 3725 sq.m.). The proposed road will be located within the existing 20 meter right of way. Ducks Unlimited Canada reviewed the area and have come up with a plan for the compensation for the loss of the slough/wetland areas in the amount of $2,900.2. Slough/wetland(s) in SE 33 & SW 34-52-12-W4M and a slough in NE 28 & NW 27-52-12-W4M. It is estimated that approximately 0.36 hectares of slough area will be filled in by the proposed road grade (2000 sq.m. & 1600 sq.m.). The proposed road will be located within the existing 20 meter right of way. Ducks Unlimited Canada reviewed the area and have come up with a plan for the compensation for the loss of the slough/wetland areas in the amount of $2,150.3. Slough/wetland(s) in SE 16 & SW 15-48-8-W4M and a slough in NE 9 & NW 10-48-8-W4M. It is estimated that approximately 0.83 hectares of slough area will be filled in by the proposed road grade (2435 sq.m. & 5835 sq.m.). The proposed road will be located within the existing 20 meter right of way and from reviewing the air photos of the area there is evidence that there was a road grade through the two sloughs. Ducks Unlimited Canada reviewed the area and have come up with a plan for the compensation for the loss of the slough/wetland areas in the amount of $4,950.The lost area multiplied by a compensation factor of 3 multiplied by $2,000 per hectare total $10,000 for the projects. Ducks Unlimited Canada anticipate providing restoration sites within 20 km of the impact area restoring 5.0 hectares using the replacement ration of 3:1 in accordance with established protocol with Alberta Environment.
As part of Alberta’s Proposed Wetland Policy consultation process, the AAMDC has expressed its concerns regarding potential impacts of the new policy on municipal operations. This includes a concern related to costly compensation requirements when building roads through designated wetland areas even if it is the most feasible and safest place to do so. The AAMDC has no current resolutions pertaining to this issue.
The Government of Alberta is currently reviewing the Proposed Wetland Policy, as submitted by the Alberta Water Council. The Association supports the development of a new wetland policy and has endorsed the proposed policy going forward to the Minister of Environment. The AAMDC will continue to advocate the intent of this resolution through its role on the Alberta Water Council and its collaboration protocol with Alberta Environment.