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  • This map displays an assessment of groundwater quality risk for the agricultural area of Alberta. Agricultural activities that may have an impact on groundwater quality include livestock, crop production and agrochemical use. These activities along with the physical characteristics represented by aquifer vulnerability and available moisture were combined to produce this map. The classes shown on the map were ranked from 0 (lowest risk) to 1 (highest risk). This resource was created in 2005 using ArcGIS.

  • The data represents the annual total precipitation in Alberta over the 30-year period from 1971 to 2000. A 30-year period is used to describe the present climate since it is enough time to filter our short-term fluctuations but is not dominated by any long-term trend in the climate. Annual total precipitation refers to rain, snow and other forms of moisture such as hail. Annual precipitation is greatest in the mountains and decreases at lower elevations. In the agricultural areas of the province, 50 to60 percent of annual precipitation generally occurs during the growing season, mostly as rain.Precipitation in any month can be extremely variable with the variability of precipitation being greater in southern Alberta than in the Peace River Region and central Alberta. However, long-term (30-year) data provides a reliable indication of what to expect in any given location. Climate information is used as a long-term planning tool, in selecting a location for a farm or planning a cropping program. Crop producers generally look at the most likely weather conditions rather than the extremes because the key inputs and decisions are made well in advance of achieving results. By combining knowledge of the agricultural operation with knowledge of what is likely to happen (climate), the producer can then decide on the acceptable level of risk due to adverse conditions. This resource was created using ArcGIS

  • The data represents an assessment of biodiversity risk for the agricultural area of Alberta in 2002. Biodiversity risk refers to the loss of biological diversity, or the variety of plant and animal life in agricultural landscapes. This map, created in ArcGIS, tries to show where biodiversity could be threatened, such as in areas with significant habitat that coincide with areas of greater agricultural economic activity. Biodiversity is believed to affect the overall health of the environment.

  • This map displays an assessment of soil erosion risk for the agricultural area of Alberta. Loss of protective residue cover through cultivation will increase the potential risk of soil erosion. The vulnerability of the soil to erosion combined with the intensity of cultivation determines the degree to which the soil may be at risk. The classes shown on the map were ranked from 0 (lowest risk) to 1 (highest risk). This resource was created in 2002 using ArcGIS.

  • The data represents the density of wetland habitat in the agricultural region of Alberta in 2002. Wetlands are depressional areas that are wet for a long enough period that the plant and animals living in them are adapted to, and often dependent on, living in wet conditions for at least part of their life cycle. In drier areas of the province, wetlands tend to be more intermittent, while in wetter areas, wetlands tend to be more persistent. Topography also affects the occurrence of wetlands. Hummocky landscapes allow for pooling of water in depressions, while landscapes with longer slopes (e.g. the foothills) generally have better defined surface drainage patterns. A wetland in influenced by the interaction between the wet area, the wetland margin and upland area.Wetlands provide important habitat for waterfowl and many other types of wildlife. Wetlands reduce the impact of flooding, provide erosion control, purify water by removing sediment and nutrients, and contribute to groundwater recharge. This resource was created using ArcGIS.

  • This map displays the risk of soil degradation by water in the agricultural region of Alberta. Water erosion is a concern because it reduces soil quality by removing soil particles and nutrients, and reduces water quality if these particles are carried into nearby water bodies. The map uses five classes to describe the water erosion risk on bare, unprotected mineral soil: negligible, low, moderate, high and severe.This resource was created using ArcGIS, originally published as a print map in 1993 .

  • The data represents the relative cultivation intensity in the agricultural area of Alberta. Cultivation intensity refers to the frequency of cultivation associated with the following management systems: no till, conventional tillage and summerfallow. It is an estimate of the degree to which cultivation contributes to wind and water erosion. The classes shown on the map are ranked between 0 (lowest) and 1 (highest).This map was created in 2002 using ArcGIS.

  • The SCA Map of Alberta reflects the integration of inherent agroclimatic conditions that exist across Alberta with soil development, use and management practices. The SCA boundaries coincide to a large degree with recognized climate zones in Alberta. These boundaries also generally agree with accepted ecoregion boundaries. In the agricultural portion of Alberta, SCA’s correlate strongly with soil zone lines with further subdivisions reflecting recognized agroclimate zones.

  • The data, created in ArcGIS, represents an assessment of air quality risk for the agricultural area of Alberta in 2005. Agricultural activities that may have some influence on air quality manure production (odour) and cultivation intensity (particulate matter). The airsheds of the agricultural region of Alberta are considered to be uniform in their physical susceptibility to risk from agricultural activities. Air quality risk is a useful measure for those concerned about health, safety and nuisance issues related the quality of air in agricultural areas. Awareness of where agricultural activities related to livestock production and intensive cultivation are located, may be useful for people with health or nuisance related concerns. Blowing soil can cause respiratory problems and can reduce visibility on roads and highways. Dust from farm traffic can be a concern during peak agricultural activity, such as harvesting or manure hauling. Frequent strong odours can be unpleasant nuisance for neighbours. In areas of greater air quality risk, environmental farm planning can help to address the issues and provide solutions. Practices including pen/barn maintenance, method of manure application, manure storage, composting, adjusting, feed rations and reducing or eliminating tillage can be looked at in an environmental farm plan.

  • This map displays the distribution of the main soil types found within the province of Alberta. The distribution pattern of soils in Alberta is strongly linked to climate and parent materials. Climate affects the location of different soil groups. The driest area in southeastern Alberta is represented by the presence of Brown Chernozems. As one proceeds north and west, the soils and associated vegetation reflect the increase in available moisture.In Alberta, Organic soils generally occur in association with Luvisolic soils. These soils form under wet conditions where the organic layer (greater than 30% organic matter) accumulates faster than it decomposes. The organic layer varies in thickness from 40 to 160+ cm, and under natural conditions, the water table is at or near the surface. In some areas of the province, Organic soils may be artificially drained and used for agricultural production. This resource was created in 2002 using ArcGIS.