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Over time, several key events have occurred in the Athabasca watershed and elsewhere that have contributed to today’s system of water and watershed management in this basin. Although by no means comprehensive, we list some of these events below. If you have an event or initiative you would like to see added, please contact us at science@awc-wpac.ca.



Key Water Management Events in the Athabasca Watershed 


The Great Canadian Oil Sands project, the first oilsands project in Alberta, is initiated. 


Alberta Environment begins monitoring water quality in the oil sands region. 

1975 – 1976 

Weirs are constructed on the Rivière des Rochers and the Réveillon Coupé, outflowing channels linking Lake Athabasca to the Peace/Slave system.   

1993 – 1996 

The Peace-Athabasca Delta technical studies are produced. 




The 4 year Northern Rivers Basin Study is completed. 

The 5 year Northern Rivers Ecosystem Initiative is initiated.  

The Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement is signed and the Mackenzie River Basin Board is established. 


The Regional Air Quality coordination committee is reformed as the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association, the airshed council for the lower Athabasca 


The Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program, an industry-funded, multi-stakeholder environmental monitoring program, is initiated. 


The Cumulative Environmental Management Association is established as a multi-stakeholder organization to provide recommendations to manage the cumulative environmental effects of regional development on air, land, water and biodiversity. 


The Water for Life Strategy is released by the Government of Alberta. 


The Athabasca River Conference, organized by the Crooked Creek Conservancy, Athabasca University, and several other partners, is successful in raising awareness about water management in the Athabasca River. 


The Government of Alberta facilitates a Watershed Planning and Advisory Council Initiators Group to undertake planning for an Athabasca WPAC. 


The Athabasca Watershed Council is established and its first Board of Directors is elected. Between 2010 and 2012, the AWC releases several state of the watershed reports.  

2011 – 2014 

The Athabasca State of the Watershed Reports and Traditional Knowledge Summary were produced by the Athabasca Watershed Council. 


Several smaller regional monitoring programs were combined to create the Oil Sands Monitoring Program. 


The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan is approved by the Government of Alberta.   


The Lower Athabasca surface water quality management framework is approved and a monitoring framework is established. 


The Alberta-NWT Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement is signed. 


The Lower Athabasca surface water quantity management framework is approved and implemented. 


The AWC produced its State of the Athabasca River Watershed Summary report. 


The Athabasca Watershed Shorelines Initiative was started with a successful application to the Watershed Resilience and Restoration Program. 


Assessments of the Pembina River watershed shorelines were completed. 


The Lac La Biche Watershed Management Plan is approved by Lac La Biche County and its partners. 


Development of an Upper Athabasca Surface Water Quality Management Framework is announced by the Government of Alberta. 


The Athabasca Watershed Council approves and begins implementing the Athabasca Watershed Management Plan. 


An assessment of the Tawatinaw River watershed shorelines was completed.