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Jurisdictional Considerations: Where does my property line end?

 If you’re considering making any changes to your shorefront property or land near water, there may be some things you need to consider.

Does your property border on a water body?

Did you know that most properties along lakes, rivers and creeks extend only as far as the "bank" and not to the water's edge?

Shoreline Graphic.jpg

The bank (Ordinary High Water Mark) is where upland vegetation ends and aquatic vegetation starts. The land from the bank to the water (exposed bed) is known as the shore and is owned by the province.

If you're planning to alter the shoreline of your property, always consult before you construct.

1. Contact your local municipality to find out if, for example:

  • local regulations and development approvals are needed for working in a riparian area

  • an environmental or municipal reserve exists between your property and the waterbody.

2. Your activity may also require provincial approval. To find out if this is the case, learn more about Shorelands Approvals and Regulations:

Many jurisdictions and users have a role in maintaining the health

of riparian areas across Alberta. 


Municipal and Provincial Government oversee regulations for water and riparian areas.

Other Roles:

  • Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) and other Water Stewardship Groups (WSGs) partner with all levels of government to help manage riparian lands

  • Industry, forestry and agricultural producers are also important stakeholders and managers of riparian lands.

  • Indigenous communities: Indigenous peoples are the original stewards of the lands and waters within their traditional territories. In Alberta, First Nations manage riparian areas on their federal reserve lands and Métis Settlement members manage riparian areas on their provincial settlement lands.


Image: AEP and Alberta Water Council.

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