In 2005, the Alberta Water Council established the Wetland Policy Project Team to develop recommendations for a new wetland policy and corresponding implementation plan for the Government of Alberta. The development of a wetland policy and implementation plan was identified as a key action in the Water for Life strategy to help acheive the goal of healthy aquatic ecosystems. A complete description of the team's work is outlined in their Terms of Reference.
The Wetland Policy Project Team's work was supported by extensive consultation and ongoing discussion with the government, non-governement organizations and industry. A Wetland Workbook was used to solicit feedback from interested stakeholders, and resulted in a What we Heard report that informed the team's work. In June 2008, the team submitted their final documents to the Board of Directors for approval. The Board agreed to defer a final decision on the documents until September 2008 to allow members time to ratify the documents within their sector.
At the end of the allotted time period, two sectors indicated that while they supported most of the policy and plan, they could not fully support all of the idea and actions recommended by the project team.
When issues of non-consensus arise, the Council's process is to have the parties identify the particular items they cannot support and propose alternative solutions that would make them acceptable. That information is then distributed to Council members for review and, if desired, response. Response letters provide members an opportunity to state their thoughts on the alternatives being presented and ensures their views are also heard. In this case, a single response letter was received by the board. At that point, all of the information is then compiled into a package that is transmitted to the Minister of Environment with a request for him to please review the information and decide how to best proceed.
The wetland package was approved by the board and released to the public on September 18th, 2008.