Welcome to Foothills County

Selected Common Environmental Issues

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Common Environmental Issues

Burning Conservation Easements Qualified Conservation Organizations
Environmental Contamination Environmental Emergencies Litter
Noise Pollution Pesticide Use Protection of Rivers Lakes and Streams
Recreational Use of Public Lands Waste - Land Fills Water Quality and Monitoring



Foothills County passed the Foothills Fire Services Bylaw Foothills Fire Services Bylaw 18/2015. This bylaw outlines the purpose of Foothills Fire Service and enables the appointment of a Fire Chief. It also gives the FIre Chief the mandate to establish a fire prevention program. The by-law also addresses fire permits in a general manner. To view a copy of the Foothills Fire Services Bylaw click here.

According to the County's fire bylaw the requirement for fire permits is in effect for the full year in each and every year. Any person lighting a fire, other than a campfire or a fire contained in a Municipality approved incinerator, must have a valid fire permit. Fire permits can be obtained free of charge online from the County of Foothills or a Fire Guardian. For more information about our Online Burning Permits or Fire Guardians - click here.

Anyone in receipt of a fire permit must inform the 911 Dispatch Centre at 1-800-808-3722 one hour prior to igniting the fire.


Conservation Easements

A conservation easement is a method of limiting certain types of uses or preventing development from taking place on a piece of property now and in the future, while protecting the property's ecological, scenic or open-space values. Any registered owner of land can establish a conservation easement. This includes private citizens, corporations, municipalities and the provincial government. Conservation easements do not apply to unpatented Crown lands.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada defines a Conservation Agreement (also called a conservation easement, covenant or servitude) as follows: "a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and conservation organization that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. "

Unlike other securement methods that require the landowner to sell or donate their property to a conservation organization, conservation agreements allow private landowners to continue to own and use their land and even to sell it or pass it on to heirs.

Conservation easements are made possible by sections 22, 22.1, 22.2 and 22.3 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (S.A. c. E- 13.3) ("EPEA"). Under EPEA "qualifying organizations" include the provincial government, a municipality, and nongovernmental registered charities formed to hold conservation land interests and complying with other EPEA requirements.

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Some Qualified Conservation Organizations:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada's leading national land conservation organization. They are a private, non-profit group that partners with corporate and individual landowners to achieve the direct protection of natural areas by securing properties (through donation, purchase, conservation agreement or the relinquishment of other legal interests in the land) and the long-term stewardship of those properties.

Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. One of the ways they do this is through conservation easements. They are a qualified conservation organization.

Alberta Land Trust Alliance

Alberta Land Trust Alliance is a not-for-profit charitable organization who's mission statement is as follows: "To represent the land trust community and build capacity in land trusts to conserve diverse and ecologically important landscapes in Alberta. "


Other Useful Links:


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Environmental Contamination

Environmental Contamination is defined by Alberta Environment as: "The introduction of a substance into the land, soil or water so that their quality and function are adversely affected."

Release, disposal, and remediation standards for contaminants on land are regulated by several government departments in Alberta: Alberta Environment, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, and the Natural Resources Conservation Board (for confined feeding operations). Environment Canada coordinates a National Pollutant Release Inventory with detailed information on selected substances released into Canada's environment.


Environmental Emergencies

To report an environmental emergency or file a complaint, call the Alberta Environment Environment Hotline at 1-800-222-6514 toll-free. This is a 24-hour emergency line and your anonymity is guaranteed.
The Alberta Environment Support and Emergency Response Team (ASERT) monitors and responds to environmental emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.



Foothills County does not have its own littering bylaw. However, Littering on roadways in the County is prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Section 179(1):

179(1) No person shall dispose of waste on a highway except in a container placed for the purpose of collecting it.

On primary highways (that is highways with a single or 2-digit number e.g. Hwy #2 or Hwy #23) The RCMP are charged with enforcement of this Act. On secondary highways (3-digit numbered highways e.g. Hwy #543 or Hwy #773) or local roads, the County's Municipal Enforcement department are empowered to enforce the Act.

With respect to litter on private property, the County has enacted a Community Standards Bylaw. This bylaw addresses nuisances, noise and unsightly properties. It was created due to the high number of complaints surrounding these issues. This bylaw is generally enforced on a complaint basis.

Foothills County Municipal Enforcement can be contacted at 403-603-6300.


Noise Pollution

Foothills County Community Standards Bylaw addresses nuisance, noise and unsightly properties. Complaints relating to this bylaw may be directed to the Foothills County Municipal Enforcement.

Foothills County Municipal Enforcement can be contacted at 403-603-6300.


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Pesticide Use

The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (E.P.E.A.) controls the sale, use, application, handling, storage, transport and disposal of pesticides in Alberta.

Alberta Environment's Pesticide Management Program provides environmental protection by administering and enforcing Alberta's pesticide legislation under the EPEA. Pesticides in Alberta must be safely distributed, stored, used and disposed of. Alberta Environment conducts routine operation inspections and responds to public and industry complaints about improper pesticide management. Environmental monitoring data collected by the Department is reviewed, to provide early warning of potential pesticide problems which can be addressed through changes in management practices.

Alberta Environment's pesticide management program also gathers type and volume statistics from the province's vendors and users, using these data to develop monitoring programs and to compare pesticide sales and use in other parts of Canada and abroad.


Protection of Rivers Lakes and Streams

The protection of surface water which includes rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands falls under the mandate of Alberta Environment. The main legislation that gives this mandate is the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (E.P.E.A.) and the Water Act.

Under EPEA, the department regulates industrial and municipal point-source discharges to surface waters, protecting water quality in the receiving waterbody. The Water Act is more broad-based in the approach to water management and includes mechanisms to protect overall water quality at major watershed scales (e.g., provision for the development of surface water quality guidelines and site-specific objectives). Some lower-risk activities, such as temporary diversion of water or construction of water crossings, are managed by adherence to Codes of Practice.

Within the County of Foothills, the provincial protection of Rivers Lakes and Streams is augmented by the MD's Riparian Setback Matrix Model Guideline and associated Developers Guide which was approved by Foothills County Council in September of 2010.


Recreational Use of Public Lands

In 2003, the Alberta Government clarified the rules for recreational and exploration access on agricultural dispositions issued under the Public Lands Act, including grazing leases and farm development leases. The legislation balances the needs of the leaseholders to protect the land and livestock from harm with the rights of the recreational users for reasonable access.

As the holder of a grazing lease or farm development lease, leaseholders must allow reasonable access to the land for recreation. However, many leaseholders have legitimate concerns about certain recreational uses. There are circumstances when access is not reasonable and under which leaseholders may restrict access or specify conditions for using the grazing or farm development lease.

Under the regulations, the leaseholder may deny access, or apply conditions to access, when:

  • Access would be anything other than foot access, including bicycles, horse or other animal, or motor vehicles;
  • The proposed use would occur in a fenced pasture where livestock are present or on cultivated land on which a crop is growing or has not been harvested. (If livestock are not impacted by the visit, leaseholders are expected to provide access.);
  • Access to all or part of the agricultural disposition land has been prohibited due to a fire ban as determined by either the Provincial or municipal authority;
  • The proposed use would involve hunting at a location that is unreasonably close to a fenced pasture in which livestock of the agricultural disposition holder are present;
  • The proposed use is camping; or
  • The proposed use would be contrary to a recreational management plan.


Sustainable Resource Development - Recreational Access to Agricultural Public Land Contact and Access Condition Information interactive map


Waste - Land Fills

Landfills in Alberta fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial government through the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA).
There are both publically and privately owned landfills in Alberta. All must adhere to the Code of Practice for Landfills.

Alberta Environment created the Code of Practice for Landfills under the authority of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Landfills accepting 10,000 tonnes or less of non-hazardous waste per year must meet all its requirements. Landfills affected by this Code must comply with all requirements of EPEA , and register with Alberta Environmental Protection prior to commencing construction and operation of a landfill.

Foothills County along with several other municipalities operates the Foothills Regional Landfill Site through the Foothills Regional Services Commission. This site is located on Highway #783 (16th St. E) 5.5 km south of Highway #7.

Water Quality and Monitoring

Water quality and monitoring is under the jurisdiction of Alberta Environment. They currently have a Surface Water Quality Program that addresses the monitoring and protection of surface water. Most of Alberta's drinking water systems are regulated by Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Environment. First Nations, Federal lands and facilities are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.