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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.

Partner Shout Out

Posted July 17, 2017 by LSC

As a non-profit organization we’re always looking for ways and means to support our various project and programs. The Alberta Real Estate Foundation has been an important contributor to and champion of Land Stewardship Centre over the years; especially our Green Acreages Guide program. So we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to them for their support.

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) was founded in 1991 to enhance the real estate industry and benefit the people of Alberta. Created under the Real Estate Act, after years of discussion between industry leaders and officials in the provincial government, the Foundation started making an impact right away by funding initiatives to help educate and train real estate professionals.

The Foundation’s revenue is generated by real estate transactions across the province. When a home buyer deposits money in trust through a real estate broker, the interest that’s earned on the deposit is accumulated and forwarded to the Foundation for reinvestment in Alberta’s communities.

For more than 25 years, AREF has supported hundreds of projects that have enhanced the real estate industry and benefited the people of Alberta. Over the years, AREF has broadened their scope to fund diverse projects in the areas of: Community Innovation, Education and Research, Housing, Industry Leadership, and Land Stewardship and Environment.

AREF has been a supporter of Land Stewardship Centre for many years now. We received our first grant from the Foundation in 2007 for the Green Communities Guide as well as support for the 2009 National Stewardship Conference. The Foundation also saw value in supporting our Green Acreages Guide program from the start – they were among the first to fund our Green Acreages Guide Primer and Workbook in 2012. In 2015, with inventory of our Primer in short supply and demand high, AREF helped fund the refresh and re-print of the Primer as well as the development of a new chapter on resource development and extraction for the Workbook.

From our perspective, working with AREF has been a pleasure; they have contributed not only funding but also provided advice and contributed ideas that helped make our projects better. With their involvement we have been able to enhance and grow our Green Acreages Guide program; a program that continues to assist Realtors, acreage owners, municipalities and community groups to be better stewards of our land and natural resources.

We thank AREF for their long-standing support and look forward to the opportunity to work together in the future.

Learn more about AREF.

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