Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems
A healthy aquatic ecosystem is an aquatic environment that sustains its ecological structure, processes, functions, and resilience within its range of natural variability.
(Alberta Water Council 2008)
Aquatic ecosystems include the full diversity of our rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands, as well as the groundwater systems that are linked to them. Understanding the diverse role played by aquatic ecosystems is necessary to developing knowledgeable, effective water management policies and to ensure appropriate action is taken to protect aquatic environments.
From the beginning, the Water for Life strategy approached the preservation of aquatic ecosystems in broad terms. Any attempt to examine or preserve aquatic ecosystems would occur within the social, economic, and environmental influences affecting Alberta.
Part of the role of the Water for Life strategy is to bring together cross-government knowledge about water. Much of the initial work under the healthy aquatic ecosystems goal involved identifying numerous complex issues and assembling existing information on ecosystem health in Alberta.
In addition to cross government cooperation, the Water for Life strategy also relies on partners who work co-operatively with the Government of Alberta to support the goals and key directions of the strategy. These partners include the Alberta Water Council, the Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils in each major watershed in Alberta, and Watershed Stewardship Groups located across the province.