Photo: Brian Jackson
Over the past 40 years, the Government of Alberta has been conducting environmental monitoring activities under the Environment Protection and Enhancement Act. As natural resource development activities have increased significantly in that time – particularly within the oil sands region in northern Alberta – the province has recognized the need to strengthen its monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities, especially in terms of understanding the cumulative effects and impact on the environment.

The Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD) is responsible for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on key air, water, land and biodiversity indicators. The division’s mandate is to provide open and transparent access to scientific data and information on the condition of Alberta’s environment, including specific indicators as well as cumulative effects, both provincially and in specific locations.

EMSD provides provincial environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting:

  • Based on sound science and evidence.
  • Presented in a timely, open and transparent manner.
  • Respects and incorporates community and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from First Nations and Métis people.

This includes providing the information necessary to understand cumulative effects, and to inform the public, policy makers, regulators, planners, researchers, communities, and industry.

The role of environmental monitoring and science is to provide proactive, objective reporting of scientific data and information on the condition of Alberta’s environment, including:

  • Baseline environmental monitoring.
  • Cumulative effects monitoring.
  • Data evaluation and management.
  • On-going condition of environment reporting in all regions of Alberta.
  • Credible data, evaluation, knowledge and reporting to inform policy and regulatory decision-making.

EMSD is currently developing its projects and research to align with key initiatives in Alberta’s environmental monitoring framework. Please see the Activities page for more information about environmental work within Alberta.