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Volunteer Spotlight - Meet Mike Murray

Posted May 9, 2018 by LSC

We are pleased to introduce you to Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee. Mike has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning.

Since 2006, the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG), made possible with funding from Alberta Environment and Parks, has provided much-needed funding to the province’s stewardship community to support their grassroots efforts. Nearly 140 stewardship groups have received more than $1,900,000 to develop and implement over 300 projects in communities across Alberta. Over the years, all of this has been made possible in part by the contributions of the Grant review committee consisting of volunteers from across Alberta.

Mike Murray, Chair of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG) Review Committee, has been a dedicated volunteer for this important program since the beginning. Mike, who is also Program Manager with the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC), has long recognized the value and importance of the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG).

“The BRBC is a designated WPAC in the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy and has always been a strong supporter of stewardship groups,” Mike says. “We recognized right from the beginning that the need for local on the ground organizations is critical and cannot be easily replaced or recreated, and the funding these groups receive through the WSG is critical.”

Mike explains that without the grant many community-based projects would simply not get done and this would leave a large gap in watershed management in Alberta. While stewardship groups are able to pull together local residents and stakeholders to implement on the ground, area-specific projects that benefit us all, funding to support these projects is sparse and intermittent. Stable funding sources, like the WSG, support projects in local communities, remove barriers and allow groups to concentrate on the work for which they exist.

Mike’s reasons for committing his volunteer time to the WSG program are varied. “The people on the committee are great to work with,” Mike shares. “We have a common goal of supporting stewardship activities that we know are important in protecting our precious water resources.”

Having participated on the WSG Review Committee for over 12 years, Mike is a valued and much appreciated volunteer. “These small, community groups bring invaluable knowledge, expertise and passion to their projects and all they need to grow and succeed is a little funding,” Mike says. “I’m proud to be a part of something like the WSG that enables them to be successful.”


Three Things You Should Know About the ESBN

Posted May 9, 2018 by LSC

Land Stewardship Centre is a partner in the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (ESBN) which is a multidisciplinary group of experts working to build the knowledge required to assist with the implementation of an ecosystem services (ES) approach in Alberta. Get to know more about who they are and what they do.

1. Who We Are

The ESBN is a multidisciplinary group of experts working to build the knowledge and capacity required to implement ecosystem services and biodiversity markets in Alberta. The Network is led by a working group whose partners include Alberta Innovates, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Government of Alberta (Environment and Parks), Innotech Alberta, Land Stewardship Centre, and Silvacom. Our coordinated efforts are creating a system of information sharing and collaboration across all sectors, as we work together to create ecosystem services and biodiversity markets in Alberta.

2. What We Do

The ESBN strives to advance knowledge surrounding ecosystem services and biodiversity, and the use of market-based approaches to enhance these services.

Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans receive from nature, such as water purification. Ecosystem services and biodiversity markets are markets in which the transactions take place with the goal of improving or maintaining environmental quality or minimizing environmental degradation. Through this approach, we see the costs of our actions on the environment, and the benefits of preserving it.

We have developed the knowledge and capacity to better understand ecosystem services, and how we can best manage the land to get the most value out of those services. By working together, we have the potential to bring Alberta to the forefront of economic diversification, environmental excellence and sustainable development.

3. Why our Work Matters to Albertans

We believe that ecosystem services and biodiversity markets diversify the economy, enhance environmental integrity, promote sustainable development and increase innovation and competitiveness. Well-designed and well-managed markets enable new business opportunities while providing a way to better protect and recognize the value of the ecosystem services that contribute to Alberta’s high quality of life. Markets help industry demonstrate social license to operate, while supporting growth, competitiveness and economic diversification.

To learn more about the ESBN and the great work being done across the province, visit their website and follow them on Twitter @EcoServicesAB.


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