Mapping Hydrologically Significant Areas

The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to map hydrologically significant areas across the watershed in 2019.

Water and land-use are fundamentally linked. This project used spatial data to identify areas in the watershed that, if conserved, could provide greater benefit to water quality, flood mitigation, and drought resiliency. Please visit the new interactive online portal to explore our watershed, hydrologically significant areas, and other key features.

Visit the interactive online map portal to explore landscapes in the watershed from a hydrological perspective

Mapping HSA

What is a hydrologically significant area (HSA)?

A hydrologically significant area is an area with natural assets that, if preserved in a natural state, provides beneficial hydrologic services like water provision, flow regulation, and water purification. An HSA is not a formal designation – instead, it is a term to help people understand the importance of landscapes through the lens of water. 

How can we use this information? 

The HSA maps are designed to be a decision-support tool for a variety of conservation and development activities. Examples of how the maps can be used include: 

  • Identifying lands that stewardship groups or land trusts may want to target for land conservation
  • Supporting municipal and provincial land-use planning
  • Providing a starting point for more in-depth discussions about water and land in a given area
Prioritizing Hydrologically Significant Natural Assets - Project Report


Details about the approach used to develop these maps and to engage stakeholders can be found in this report.