Press Release: June 30 re: Wetland Agent

For Immediate Release:

On June 28, 2017 Camrose County contacted the Minister of Environment, the Premier and Local Provincial MLA’s to request a meeting to discuss the Wetland Restoration Compensation Directive. 

The Alberta Water Act requires that a municipality either replace or provide compensation for any impact on a wetland area if a development, like a road, cannot be constructed without impacting a wetland.  According to Alberta Environment “Compensation requires applicants to pay into a fund established for wetland restoration work.”  This applies to all municipalities, both rural and urban across Alberta. 

Replacement of wetlands is required to align with the Wetland Restoration Compensation Directive, a document the Alberta Government has repeatedly promised to release over many years, but is still not available.  This leaves the only option as compensation to Ducks Unlimited, the only provincially approved Wetland Agent.

In the past, to address the lack of wetland restoration directive, Camrose County has been permitted to hold the Restoration Funds in a Reserve Account while waiting for the Directive.  Camrose County established this Wetland Restoration Reserve in 2009 and has paid the required amount into this fund whenever County Road Rehabilitation Projects impact adjoining wetlands.  However, the County has now been notified that no wetland permits will be issued for road construction unless a payment is made to a qualified wetland restoration agency.  Currently, and for at least the last 12 years, the ONLY approved Wetland Restoration Agent in Alberta is Ducks Unlimited. 

Camrose County Council strongly believes that a forced payment of ratepayer tax dollars to any single private organization is a travesty and is wrong. 

Camrose County Road Infrastructure is critical for the safety and livelihood of the residents of Camrose County.  It is imperative that the Provincial Government allow construction to continue.   The proposed rehabilitation of Township Road 480 is now on hold indefinitely, as the options offered by Alberta Environment are “pay Ducks Unlimited, or wait for the directive to be released”.  Camrose County Council does not support a provincial mandate to provide public funds to a single private organization.

Camrose County is committed to the restoration of wetlands areas within the County, and to the rehabilitation of our rural road infrastructure.  County Council urges the Province to appoint alternative Wetland Agents or allow funds to be held in a reserve pending the Directive.