Watersheds provide the ecological systems, food systems, and water that support human life. Human activities affect the health of watersheds, and watersheds need to be monitored to ensure their continued functioning. Alberta's watersheds are diverse, each subject to a variety of human activity and all of them under a number of different political jurisdictions. Consequently, watershed management is a complex task requiring leadership from all levals of government, partnership with corporations, and participation from the public.
The Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) for the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta, provides recommendations and a management plan to ensure long-term sustainability of water resources and meet the three strategic goals of Water for Life: Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability (2003). Through discussions with stakeholders and the public, the NSWA identified major issues surrounding watershed management. The Integrated Watershed Management Plan addresses these issues by describing specific actions; by identifying which jurisdiction is responsible for taking that action; and by providing an implementation strategy that incorporates voluntary and statutory activities. The IWMP is an advisory document for jurisdictions interested in managing the North Saskatchewan River watershed in Alberta.