On August 22, 2012, the government of Alberta publicly released the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP), which covers approximately 93,212 square kilometres of northeastern Alberta. The LARP includes management frameworks that limit certain environmental impacts on air, land and water quality, and that establish thresholds for further investigation of those impacts. The LARP also provides for the development of a Biodiversity Management Framework by 2013, which will set biodiversity targets for the region’s vegetation, aquatic life and wildlife.

It will act as a guide for future resource decisions. The LARP is the first of seven anticipated plans formed under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act. According to the government, the LARP is intended to (i) improve integration of industrial activities on the landscape; (ii) encourage timely reclamation of disturbed lands; (iii) manage air and water quality and biodiversity through specified management frameworks to support human and ecosystem needs; (iv) create new and sustainable conservation areas to support local biodiversity; (v) strengthen and develop physical infrastructure to support economic and population growth; (vi) increase opportunities for recreation and active living; and (vii) include Aboriginal peoples in land-use planning.

For further information, please see the LARP.