Environmental Management System
Alberta’s current environmental management system is intended to minimize the impacts of development on the environment. This system is supported by provincial policy and legislation which are implemented using a full range of both regulatory and non-regulatory tools.
A number of key pieces of legislation include:
Alberta Land Stewardship Act
Provides a means by which government can give direction and provide leadership in identifying the objectives of the province, including economic, social and environmental objectives.
Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
Provides for the assessment and regulation of activities to minimize their environmental impacts, based on principles including continuous improvement and pollution prevention.
Provides for the allocation and use of Alberta’s water resources and the protection of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.
Emissions Management and Climate Resilience Act
Enables regulation-making authority to govern specified gas emissions, mandates reporting requirements for any person who releases specified gases in Alberta, and establishes the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Fund to support initiatives that either reduce specified gas emissions or improve Alberta’s ability to adapt to climate change.
Public Lands Act and Public Lands Administration Regulation
Provides for the setting of land disturbance standards and land conservation tools in support of biodiversity management.
Provides for the sustainable management of Alberta’s forests, including a legislated requirement for reforestation.
Provides for harvesting limits and designation and recovery of species at risk.
Provincial Parks Act
Plays an important role in protecting natural diversity and intact habitat for supporting biodiversity, in addition to ensuring a wide range of recreation opportunities and tourism experiences.
General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulation
Provides for harvesting limits.
Mines and Minerals Act
Governs the management of rights in Crown-owned minerals, including the levying and collecting of bonuses, rentals and royalties.
In addition to legislation, a number of strategies — such as the Clean Air Strategy, Water for Life, Alberta’s Plan for Parks and the Land-use Framework — provide high level direction about air, water, land and biodiversity management goals and how Alberta will achieve these goals. More detailed operational policies take their direction from these higher level strategies and legislation, and translate them into more clearly defined expectations.
On behalf of all Albertans, the Government of Alberta also delivers and supports many programs that benefit the environment. Several of these are delivered in partnership with individuals, organizations, the private sector and other governments. Examples include species at risk recovery programs, invasive species management and management practices to minimize biodiversity impacts. Of particular significance, the government encourages the forest and energy sectors to engage in integrated land management practices in an effort to co-ordinate their operations and minimize the land disturbance footprint. Furthermore, Alberta is committed to progressive land reclamation to help ensure environmental and land management objectives are met.
In order to understand the effectiveness of Alberta’s environmental management tools, the region’s air, water, land and biodiversity are monitored, evaluated and reported on. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting initiatives and programs in the region are conducted by the Government of Alberta as well as by such as the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute.