Since 2007, the Province of Alberta has been working with stakeholders to develop cumulative effects management frameworks that address intensifying pressures on air, land and water caused by population growth and economic and industrial development. In 2010, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development called upon stakeholders to develop an ambient air quality management framework for the Capital Region which covers a large portion of the Beaver Hills. The Capital Region Air Quality Management Framework set down strategies for managing growth pressures on air over the coming decades.

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Air Contaminants of Concern

This ambient air quality management framework addresses the complex issues of primary and secondary pollutants in the air. Primary pollutants are emitted directly from a source. Secondary pollutants are formed when other pollutants, such as primary pollutants, interact in the atmosphere. Air emissions in this region come from urban, rural, transboundary, agricultural, natural and industrial resources.

The are four main air contaminants of concern.

  • nitrogen dioxide
  • sulphur dioxide
  • fine particulate matter
  • ground level ozone

Each of the four contaminants has specific triggers and limits that determine management actions.


Monitoring is conducted by airsheds, municipalities, industry and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) in accordance with the Alberta Air Monitoring Directive. ESRD analyzes the ambient data collected from the current monitoring structure, calculates the annual average and the upper range of the hourly data for individual monitoring stations, and assigns an ambient air quality level to each station. The assessment takes into account any limitations of current technology and will adapt as the monitoring network in the Capital Region is revised and updated.

Air Quality Health Index

In 2011, the Province of Alberta, in partnership with Environment Canada, launched the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). This tool assesses the impact of air pollution on your health, listing a number from 1 to 10+ to indicate the level of health risk associated with local air quality. The higher the number, the greater the risk, and the stronger need to take precautions. The AQHI shares information in real-time and even provides a forecast for the next day. You can use the AQHI to plan your activities, if levels are high risk, you may want to move your activity indoors.

For more information on Monitoring and AQHI and

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