In January 2007, Integrated Environments Limited and O2 planning + Design Inc (IEL-O2) were retained by Alberta Environment to assess the importance of ecosystem goods and services (EGS) in southern Alberta. The EGS assessment will provide important background information in support of developing the Southern Alberta Landscapes (SAL) regional strategy and will identify areas of further investigation and study regarding the importance of EGS in southern Alberta. The geographical scope of the assessment includes the Alberta portions of the South Saskatchewan River Basin, the Grassland Natural Region, and the Cypress Hills.
The Phase 1 report summarizes the responses of more than 165 organizations and individuals thought to be addressing issues important to ecosystems in southern Alberta. In addition, phase 1 includes an annotated bibliography of information relevant to EGS and highlights areas where information is currently lacking.
The objectives of the EGS Assessment are to: a) inform people about ecosystem goods and services and how they are important to economic production in southern Alberta,
b)help people understand how land use decisions and human activities impact these services,
c) determine what landscape patterns are required to sustain the ongoing
delivery of ecosystem goods and services and,
d) undertake a gap analysis to identify
directions for further study and investigation.
Society’s well-being, to a large extent, is underpinned by a wide range of Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGS) that are provided by natural assets. These include:
provision of clean air and water;
water storage and flood control;
carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas regulation;
pollination of crops and native vegetation; and
the fulfillment of cultural, spiritual, and recreational needs.
Building on previous work, this report contributes to this process by identifying indicators of natural asset conditions, linking these indicators to ecosystem services, and suggesting a methodology for assessment in a land use planning context.
The Ecosystem Services1 pilot is part of the longer term Ecosystem Services Roadmap intended as a tool under the Cumulative Effects Management Framework to help inform trade-off decisions and assure more robust decision-making. The Ecosystem Services pilot team was mandated to demonstrate the use and replicability of the ecosystem services to support department priorities.
The Ecosystem Services (ES) program within Alberta Environment and Water (AEW) has been advancing the use of an ES approach within the Department and Government of Alberta since 2007. The Ecosystem Services approach Pilot on Wetlands (ES pilot) is part of the department’s 10-year ES road map; its completion and results are considered a progression in understanding and applying an ES approach to support decision making.
This report summarizes the socio-cultural studies completed during the ES Pilot. The socio-cultural work completed does not necessarily capture all potential cultural services and/or benefits that may be associated with the wetland under investigation or wetlands across Alberta. While attempts were made to be comprehensive in the selection of cultural services and benefits to investigate, as well as methods selected and analysis undertaken, there may be other cultural services or benefits, or other conceptualizations of these services and benefits, relevant to the study site.
This report focuses on assessing the carbon storage associated with class 3 (seasonal), class 4 (semi-permanent), and class 5 (permanent) wetlands in the Sheppard Slough Drainage Catchment. The Ecosystem Services pilot is part of the longer term Ecosystem Services Roadmap intended as a tool under the Cumulative Effects Management Framework to help inform trade-off decisions and assure more robust decision-making.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies were used to model water storage and flood control functions as well as related beneficiaries and ecosystem services of wetlands in the Shepard Slough study area east of Calgary. The water storage model used a raster-based computer script using LiDAR inputs combined with a rating curve to estimate water storage capacity volumes for each wetland in the study area. The flood control model used eight separate predictor variables of wetland flood control functions.
The Socio-economic Sub-team is one of the sub-teams in the Pilot tasked to conduct economic valuations of wetland ES in the study area. This technical report was prepared for the ES Pilot team members, technical professionals, and other target groups/individuals with interests in economic valuation. This valuation research also served to build knowledge and capacity in economic analysis techniques within the department. This report documents the approaches undertaken by the Socio-econ Sub-team to conduct economic valuations and deliver major deliverables and to discuss the links of economic valuation to wetland decision making.
There is a critical need for regional scale assessments of wetlands for ecosystem services. This study reports on a regional scale assessment using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) technologies for water purification services provided by wetlands in Shepard Slough, the study area for the Ecosystem Services Approach Pilot on Wetlands Project.