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Wetland Replacement Program in Alberta improves water quality, flood flow attenuation, and biodiversity

Since 2020, Associated Environmental has worked with various municipalities, including the County of Grande Prairie, Sturgeon County, Lac La Biche County, the Municipal District of Greenview, Parkland County, Strathcona County, and the Cities of Red Deer and Leduc, to complete wetland restoration and construction projects on behalf of the Alberta Environment and Protected Areas Wetland Replacement Program.

Kristen Andersen, Technical Specialist, Wetlands and Restoration, tells us, "We are the first consulting company to successfully complete projects under this new program. Currently, approximately 20 municipalities and three non-governmental organizations are enrolled in the program." Associated has been engaged by 12 municipalities and successfully completed 17 projects resulting in the restoration of over 65 wetlands.

The Wetland Replacement Program has evolved significantly since its inception. Kristen has provided input on Alberta Environment and Protected Areas wetland policy documents as a volunteer. Kristen also currently teaches a course in wetland restoration at the University of Alberta.

Having been involved since the beginning of the program, we were able to supply early examples of deliverables under the program. Kristen says, "Each restoration or replacement project presents unique issues and challenges that require innovative, dynamic solutions, including engaging with multiple stakeholders, navigating new legislation and funding programs, and working within land access and soil handling restraints."

As we completed the projects, we met these program objectives:

  • Improve the quality of runoff from the contributing drainage area
  • Provide flood flow attenuation
  • Improve habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, amphibians, reptiles, and bats
  • Increase educational opportunities and opportunities for the public to view wildlife
  • Increase habitat for pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths
  • Control non-native plants and restore habitat for a diversity of native plants
  • Demonstrate how wetlands may be restored without constructing a dam and without using a well, pipes, pump, diversions, or a water control structure

For more information about our wetlands and restoration services, please contact Kristen Andersen at andersenk@ae.ca.

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