Parkland County recognizes the vital role wetlands play in biological diversity, water quality, and flood mitigation. It is estimated that Alberta has lost between 60 to 70% of wetlands located within settled areas. In 2016, Parkland County completed a Wetland Inventory & Historical Loss Assessment. The study estimated that over 37, 000 hectares of wetland loss has occurred in Parkland County between 1950 and 2013.  

To help address the impacts of historical wetland loss, Parkland County is working with the province under the Wetland Replacement Program (WRP), to restore and replace wetlands, where practical. 

These projects will be used to help achieve sustainability goals such as flood and drought mitigation, biodiversity improvements through increased wildlife habitat and water quality.

 Project Updates

Edinburgh Park Subdivision Wetland Replacement Program

The County has completed its first wetland construction project under the Wetland Replacement Program within the Edinburgh Park Subdivision and planting will take place in the spring. The project included a four-hectare permanent wetland connected to the County‚Äôs drainage system. Areas were excavated to shift open water away from a nearby road. This was done to create permanent wetland area and prevent further damage to the road that has been previously washed out from intense storms. The constructed wetland is expected to create educational opportunities, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce the impacts of drought and flooding. 

 

Whitewood Sands Shoreline Restoration
Project Plan

The bioengineering techniques shown on the Project Plan were used to help treat the eroding banks and unstable slopes along the Wabamun Lake shoreline on either side of the temporary access point at the south end of Sunset Avenue. These techniques involve the use of living plant materials to help reduce the risk of erosion, while also providing beautification benefits to the shoreline area.

Although there is still a risk of potential ice heave damage in the future, especially while the plantings and stakes are taking root, having native trees and shrubs (woody vegetation) along the shoreline area significantly reduces the risk of major damage from wave action, heavy rainfall, and ice movement.

Case studies have shown that ice damage is much more severe in areas that lack native woody vegetation. This is because the extensive deep root systems of native woody vegetation helps hold the soil and shoreline in place.  The current turf grass has shallow roots that are not able to hold soil in place, resulting in increased slumping, undercutting and erosion of the shoreline.

In addition to improvements in the stability of the shoreline, this plant material will also help to absorb polluted runoff from the upland area before it moves into the lake.  Cuttings will also be installed along the ditch bordering Sunset Avenue to help slow down and increase the infiltration of water moving along the steep slope toward Wabamun Lake. Again, this will help to reduce erosion and run-off occurring toward the bottom of the slope.

 

What's Next?
Parkland County staff will regularly monitor the project and provide supplemental water and maintenance as needed. The protective fencing will be kept in place for a minimum of one year to prevent wildlife damage. 
Background
  • On June 14, 2022, an information session was held that provided details on a shoreline restoration project planned to take place this fall in the Whitewood Sands Subdivision.
  • One of the main concerns that was voiced during the information session was not having enough space for recreation activities. As such, the planting area has been reduced in the final plans, while accounting for additional feedback received during the information session.