By Eraina Hooyer
Alberta’s land is facing increased stress as the population of the province continues to increase and the economic activity on the land is rapidly growing.
The Alberta government has implemented a draft Land Use Framework to help tackle the growth pressures that are facing the province.
The Land Use Framework was recently discussed by the Battle River Watershed Alliance board of directors and will be requesting a presentation from the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development to help give more information.
The government of Alberta has done an 18 month consultation process taking into account the ideas of thousands of Albertans including landowners, stakeholders, municipal leaders and planners, First Nations, transportation and energy associations, conservation, environmental and recreational groups.
Wayne Ungstad, board member, believes that the Land Use Framework has the potential to bring a positive outcome.
“It will hopefully create ties between all the different groups,” said Ungstad. “Every group is separate right now and they are great departments that need to come together.”
The Framework is looking to find an approach to manage public and private lands and natural resources to better Alberta economically and socially.
The Framework complements Alberta’s water and air policies, what uses are permitted on land, how they are done and how they clearly impact Alberta’s watersheds and air sheds.
There are three outcomes that are desired from the framework. The government hopes that the framework will make for sustainable prosperity supported by the land and natural resources. This will include developing the province’s natural resources, promote innovation, global competitiveness and the balanced and responsible use of natural resources.
Another desired outcome is to have a healthy ecosystems and environment including maintaining or enhancing soil and soil fertility, protecting surface water and focusing on the quality of air, water, land and biodiversity.
It is also hoped that the third outcome will be to have livable communities and recreational opportunities including preparing communities to adapt to a changing climate and preserving natural landscapes.
The watershed board meets each month to discuss watershed issues. Their current focus includes the establishment of a watershed committee, their State of the Watershed report, the Signs of Life watershed entry signs project and support for the Caring For Our Watershed project.