There currently exists some significant (and several minor) data and information gaps for the indicator relating to Land Cover and Land Use.
The focus of the indicator for Land Cover and Use will be on:
- Fragmentation of the landscape and habitat
- Undisturbed Native (and semi-native) Vegetation Coverage, Patches and Connectivity, and hydrologic drainage
While the data sets and layers to be used for this indicator are still being determined, the goal is to eventually include impacts associated with soil loss, and forestry and stream crossings.
Land Use Management and Water Quality
One of the key SEAWA initiatives is land use management in relation to water quality. As such, future efforts and programs will emphasize education, implementation of best management practices, and targeted development with a focus on:
- Low Impact Development Education: Take a lead role in helping to educate municipalities and developers on the basic principles of low impact development and encourage developers to utilize these practices in the overall design.
- Low Impact Development and Municipal Approvals: Incorporate elements of low impact development Best Management Practices and performance monitoring into the overall development design of new residential and commercial developments.
- Manure Application and Setbacks: Continue to educate producers on manure application and setback distances with respect to water bodies as outlined by the Agriculture Operations Practices Act. Research the effectiveness of different application techniques to reduce runoff of manure into receiving water bodies.
- Cattle Grazing in Riparian Areas: Encourage landowners to implement grazing strategies to reduce the degree and impact of cattle grazing on riparian habitat along rivers and creeks (for grasslands, forested areas and protected areas).
- Riparian Buffer Zone Protection: Adopt riparian setbacks in all new developments.
- Soil Erosion: Include erosion and sediment control measures for construction sites in all development plans submitted to municipalities or management agencies (e.g. Alberta Transportation). A requirement for an inspection of the development site by a professional should be included. Continue efforts to reduce erosion from trails, recreation sites or other activities. Erosion and sediment control plans must be developed and implemented for construction sites with any connection to surface water. A requirement for environmental inspection of the development site during (and following) construction (by a qualified professional) should be included.
- Runoff, Erosion and Effective Impervious Areas: Review the 1) effective impervious area targets, 2) reach-specific runoff volume targets, and 3) erosion control targets for all new developments; to meet water quality objectives.
- Runoff and Soil Erosion: Review the effectiveness of existing forestry guidelines (e.g., stream crossings, riparian protection, road maintenance) on water quality. Erosion control targets should be developed and implemented for reaches without a target.
- Effective Impervious Areas: Develop effective impervious area targets for all new developments based on the overall goal of trying to achieve pre-development rates and volumes entering the streams or rivers. Enhanced stream and storm water flow monitoring at various points throughout the system is needed to assist in the identification of the impervious and runoff targets.
Read more… about Trees and Plants in the SSRSB
Alberta Land Use Framework
The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) was developed over three phases of consultation with Albertans, a wide variety of stakeholders, municipalities, government and advice from the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council. Regional planning is an ongoing, collaborative process. Once a regional plan is developed and effective, it is implemented as a part of a larger integrated resource management system. A regional plan is reviewed every five and 10 years to evaluate its ongoing effectiveness and relevance to the region.
Read more… about the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP)