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What’s in your Stewardship Toolbox?

Posted September 18, 2017 by LSC

How can a group or municipality achieve the best and most needed environmental outcomes for their projects with limited resources available? That’s where INFFER™ comes in. Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is the single accredited provider of INFFER™ in Canada. Read on to learn how and why INFFER™ is one fascinating stewardship tool and how one Alberta municipality is putting it to work for them.

INFFER™ (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources) is a valuable decision support tool used for assessing and prioritizing projects to address diverse environmental issues and challenges such as reduced water quality, biodiversity, conservation planning and land degradation. The main goal of INFFER™ is to achieve the highest value for environmental, economic and social outcomes that is possible with available resources.

Municipalities, among many other organizations, face the challenge of how to get the best bang for their buck when implementing environmental programs and projects. Recently, our partners from Natural Decisions, the creators of INFFER™, travelled from Australia to assist LSC in an INFFER™ project currently being conducted in partnership with Brazeau County.

In early 2017, Brazeau County had the opportunity to participate in an INFFER™ project funded through the Agriculture Watershed Enhancement Program, which is a dual grant stream offered by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. By using the INFFER™ assessment tool Brazeau will be able to compare the environmental and social outcomes and cost effectiveness of potential conservation initiatives, enabling them to select the approaches best suited to addressing their most important issues in a given area.

“Funding was available to participate in INFFER™ and Brazeau County saw it as a valuable tool to evaluate environmental projects happening in the County, on behalf of producers,” explains Benjamin Misener, Manager of Land and Environment with Brazeau County. “It allows us to be strategic and thoughtful when making these types of decisions.”

Guided by Natural Decisions and Land Stewardship Centre, the INFFER™ process is being used by Brazeau County to focus on an area of importance, identify issues associated with water quality in this area and then help the municipality understand how to address these issues in the most effective manner that considers not only economics, but also environmental and social factors, as well as the goals that have been set by the County for this area.

Misener goes on to explain how important it is to have a tool like INFFER™ to assess environmental programs and projects, especially when spending funding dollars, to be able to provide accountability and transparency. “It is important to have this type of framework to assess projects,” Benjamin adds. “By using INFFER™ we can compare the potential outcomes and cost effectiveness of different projects and ultimately, this enables us to develop a solid business case for environmental investment in restoring and protecting valuable natural assets.”

Learn more about INFFER™ and how it can assist with prioritizing your conservation efforts.

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Photos: Anna Roberts (left) and Geoff Park (right) recently visited Edmonton from sunny Australia to assist LSC with the Brazeau County INFFER™ project. Learn more about Natural Decisions and INFFER™ in Australia where it originated.

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