Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area - Kananaskis Country
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Environmentally Significant Areas of Alberta

Updated Data & Map

Environmentally Significant Areas in Alberta:  2014 Update is an update of the 2009 Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) of Alberta, and the 2010 Aquatic Environmentally Significant Areas of Alberta.

The report and associated mapping products are available for use by provincial and municipal land-use planners, industry, consultants, environmental organizations, academic institutions, and others, as an information tool to support municipal, regional, and provincial scale planning initiatives.

ESAs are:

  • Important to the long-term maintenance of biological diversity, soil, water, or other natural processes, at multiple spatial scales.
  • Areas that contain rare or unique elements or that include elements that may require special management consideration due to their conservation needs.

It is important to note that ESAs do not:

  • Consider how these areas are being, or how they should be, managed or conserved.
  • Represent natural resource policy, areas requiring specific management objectives, or comprehensive status reporting.
  • Represent government policy, and do not necessarily require or confer legal protection.
  • Replace other indicator-specific mapping and planning tools, such as wetland inventories, caribou range maps, and species at risk recovery plans.

ESAs are intended as an information tool – not as a regulatory tool.

The GIS output product of the 2014 update consists of the summed ESA scores for each quarter section in Alberta.

Please consult the accompanying report, in order to interpret the 2014 ESA GIS data.  The process for the 2014 product used different methodology than previous releases of ESAs.

Metadata (FGDC format) has been embedded in the data, for more information.

GIS data comprising Indicators for Criterion 3 and 4 are available upon request.

For further information regarding the Environmentally Significant Areas in Alberta, please contact Wendy Proudfoot.

Historical ESA

Environmentally Significant Areas – Provincial Update 2009 was an update of the 1997-98 ESAs of 
Alberta data and map.

The original ESA studies in Alberta were done from 1983-1996.  A provincial review and synthesis of ESA work was completed in 1997-98.