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All water in Alberta is owned by the province, regardless of whether it occurs on public or private land. Activities impacting water in wetlands are regulated under the Water Act. Before any activity within a wetland (or any other water body) is initiated, such as the creation of drainage ditches, infilling or alteration due to the construction of a road, Alberta Environment must be contacted for approval.
In some cases, additional authorization may be required under other provincial and federal legislation. For projects requiring environmental impact assessments under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, proponents are required to describe and map any wetlands in the project area, discuss the impacts of the proposed project on any wetlands and their proposed mitigation measures.
Under the Public Lands Act, the Crown owns the bed and shores of semi-permanent and permanent wetlands, giving Alberta Sustainable Resource Development an opportunity to protect wetlands as well. Wetlands may also be protected locally when designated as Environmental Reserve lands through the Municipal Government Act.