The release of a new made-for-Alberta field guide, developed and published by DUC’s Boreal Program, is equipping residents with practical resources about wetland habitats in their backyard.
In 2015, the province of Alberta implemented the Alberta Wetland Classification System (AWCS), which promotes a consistent understanding of wetlands and is aligned with legislation and policies that may affect wetlands, such as the Water Act, Public Lands Act, and the Alberta Wetland Policy.
DUC’s new Alberta Wetland System Classification Field Guide is based on the AWCS but offers a more accessible, visually appealing, and portable format. The field guide showcases 24 detailed factsheets for each wetland class, form, and type, and includes information on landscape location, soil, water, and vegetation characteristics for each.
An entire section of the guide has been dedicated to common wetland plants. The vegetation-based classification key and common species guide provides tips and photographs of the plants at various life stages and a confirmation of the types of wetlands the plant occupies.
Funding and support for this project was provided by Alberta Innovates’ Water Innovation Program, the Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan Partnership, the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture and DUC.
In late 2021, the field guide was named the winner of the Peggy Thompson Publication Award, which is presented annually by the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists to recognize high standards of achievement in publishing biological information conveying an understanding of the concepts and application of biological sciences.
The Alberta Wetland Classification System Field Guide is a win for wetlands in Alberta as it will serve to improve wetland identification and classification – the first step in avoiding or minimizing potential impacts to these critical ecosystems.