Property development and ecological conversation – a fine balance

Project Info

City of Edmonton

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


In Edmonton, Canada, Golder has helped the local municipal authority, The City of Edmonton to better understand the impact of two large-scale residential property developments on the Big Lake watershed – a nationally-recognized ecosystem – and recommended the mitigation measures that could balance preservation of the natural area with development of the proposed neighbourhoods.

Like many cities, pursing economic and population growth while conserving the natural environment is a finely tuned arrangement. In this case the area at risk includes wetlands with abundant biodiversity, a wide range of ecosystems and ecological processes, including hosting rare avian and aquatic species.

The City of Edmonton sought Golder’s expertise to conduct an integrated surface water and groundwater assessment, and consider the ecological sustainability of this natural environment against the potential adverse impacts of a residential development.

Golder completed a first-of-a-kind for detailed ecohydrological study of stormwater-influenced wetlands for the City of Edmonton, including the evaluation of engineering implications for storm pond design to manage run-off in more sustainable ways.

Based on the technical and quantifiable outcomes of this study, and Golder’s conceptual mitigation designs, the City has directed the developers to take specific actions to bring the proposed neighbourhoods and natural area into harmony.

The study proposed ‘leaky’ stormwater ponds in conjunction with adaptive wetlands monitoring to conserve wetlands. If implemented, this will be a paradigm shift to stormwater pond design and wetlands assessment in Edmonton and Alberta.

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