Note: this page is currently under development. More speakers will be added as they are confirmed.

Keynote speakers, with biographies on individual webpages:

Ta’Kaiya Blaney and Merrell-Ann Phare

Zafar Adeel, M.Sc., Ph.D., Executive Director, Pacific Water Research Centre; Professor of Professional Practice, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University. Dr. Zafar Adeel has previously worked with United Nations University, including serving for ten years as the Director of UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Hamilton, Ontario. His research Interests include water security, the nexus of water, food and energy security, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Cori Barraclough, M.Sc., R.P. Bio., C. Biol., MSRB, PMP, Freshwater Ecologist, Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd. For more than 20 years Cori has helped local governments in British Columbia to manage and protect their communities’ water resources in a cost-effective, feasible and responsible way. Though she’s professionally grounded in the research, behavior, and impact of aquatic ecology, she understands that viable scientific recommendations must account for the real-world, political influences her clients confront in their decision-making processes, including issues such as social palatability, timing, and funding.

Zita Botelho, B.A., M.A., Project Manager, Sustainable Funding for Watershed Governance Initiative. Zita is passionate about water and promoting dialogue and collaboration to support innovative solutions to water challenges. She is an independent consultant with deep experience in environmental and water public policy development. Prior to working in consulting, Zita was the Manager of Strategic Water Initiatives at the BC Ministry of Environment where she led the development of Living Water Smart- B.C.’s Water Plan and the initial phases of the Water Sustainability Act development. She also worked with Environment Canada and on various international projects in South American, South East Asia and Africa.

James Casey, B.A., M.A., Senior Freshwater Conservation Specialist, WWF-Canada. Personally convinced that the largest challenge for future generations will be developing a way to prosper on a finite planet, James has joined the growing ranks of people seeking solutions to our emerging water challenge. He is particularly interested in the importance of freshwater resources for the health of our rivers and estuaries. James has completed a Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy at the University of Northern British Columbia with a focus on the management of international transboundary rivers. Closer to home, James has worked in WWF’s Prince Rupert office, encouraging community engagement in marine planning processes and out of the Vancouver office on the new Water Sustainability Act and the emerging Cumulative Effects Management Policy.

Kate Cave, B.A.(H), MES, Project Manager/Research Associate, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources. Kate is passionate about protecting our environment and is strongly committed to ensuring Indigenous communities have a voice in water stewardship and governance processes. She has a B.A. in Environmental and Native Studies from Trent University and a M.E.S from University of Waterloo. Kate has 12 years of experience working in the environmental field and with Indigenous communities across Canada and rural, remote communities in developing countries. She has worked with the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) since 2014.

Deborah Curran, B.A.(H), LL.B., LL.M, Acting Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria. Deborah is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria and acting Executive Director for the Environmental Law Centre. In addition to teaching water law she provides legal advice to community organizations and First Nations in BC on water and municipal law.

Celine Davis, M.Sc., R.P.Bio, Manager of Watershed Science, Water Protection and Sustainability Branch, BC Ministry of Environment. Celine works on incorporating sound science into water standards, policy and legislation with a group of dedicated groundwater and surface water scientists and policy analysts. Celine has over 20 years of experience in watershed environmental assessment, monitoring and reporting and policy development. A keen outdoor enthusiast, she spends most of her free time near the water.

Paul Demenok, Chair, Shuswap Watershed Council. Paul has acted as Area C Director with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District since 2012. In 2013, Paul became the Chair of SLIPP, the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process, an award winning collaboration of 17 government agencies. In 2014, SLIPP was replaced by the Shuswap Watershed Council, with Paul continuing as Chair bringing forward a more focused mandate and objectives. Paul retired to the Shuswap in 2009 after a career of 30+ years in medical education and advertising.

Eli Enns, B.A., POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria. Eli is a Tla-o-qui-aht/Canadian political scientist focused in constitutional law, international dispute resolution and ecological governance. He is Regional Coordinator North America for the Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas ICCA Consortium.

Kat Hartwig, B.Comm., Executive Director, Living Lakes Canada. Kat is an advisor and board director for several water stewardship groups in BC, Canada and in Europe. She grew up on her family ranch in the Southern Rockies of BC and has been involved in international, national and regional environmental advocacy issues since 1983. Kat facilitates cross sector, corporate and NGO partnerships for Living Lakes Canada’s  water stewardship work.

Vicki Kelly, M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University. Vicki is an Anishinaabe/ Metis artist/educator, she plays the Native American Flute, is a visual artist/therapist, dancer/movement therapist, and writer. She has just completed a two-year traditional apprenticeship at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art as part of her research in Indigenous Art as a knowledge practice. Her areas of interest and teaching include Indigenous Education, Art Education, Ecological Education, Health Education, and Contemplative Education.  More specifically her research is in: Art and Indigenous knowledge practices; Indigenous pedagogies and Indigenous ways of knowing; Two-Eyed seeing; and art as a site of ecological activism. She works with Indigenous and Arts-based Narrative methodologies as well as contemplative inquiry, and teacher inquiry.

Tamsin Lyle, M.Eng, MRM, P.Eng, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting. Tamsin is principal and founding engineer with Ebbwater Consulting, a Vancouver based company that is wholly focused on flood management. Over her academic and professional careers she has she has developed in-depth technical knowledge of flood mechanisms along with a broad understanding of flood policy and planning. She works across the country to help communities mitigate their flood risk, and often speaks out on the need to manage floods in a holistic and integrated manner. She is an author of the City of Vancouver’s coastal flood adaptation plan, where some of the ideas in this presentation were first hatched.

Tony Maas, B.Sc., M.A., Director, Forum for Leadership on Water; Manager of Strategy, Freshwater Future. Tony has been working to protect the health of Canada’s fresh water for over 15 years. He divides his time between roles as Director of the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) and Manager of Strategy with Freshwater Future, a bi-national Great Lakes organization. In both roles, he provides strategic direction and policy expertise, and builds partnerships among diverse interests to benefit people, the environment and the economy. Prior to his current roles, Tony spent 6 years at WWF-Canada where he developed and managed the organization’s national freshwater program. He chairs the External Advisory Board of the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo and the Steering Committee of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance.

Emanuel Machado, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Gibsons. For over a dozen years, Emanuel has worked with communities throughout Canada, promoting a greater use of renewable energy, net-zero buildings, water strategies, social plans and sustainability frameworks, all with a focus on people. More recently, Emanuel has been developing a program for the Town of Gibsons, called Eco-Assets, which recognizes the role of nature as a fundamental component of the municipal infrastructure system, leading to a greater understanding of the value of ecosystems services and improved financial and operational management plans of the community’s natural assets.

Al Martin, B.Sc.(H), M.Sc., Director of Strategic Initiatives, BC Wildlife Federation. Alan has extensive knowledge and experience of British Columbia’s resource management issues from 30 years of experience in the BC Public Service serving in a number of Ministries. He was a government representative on the Board of Directors of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. He retired as Executive Director, Fish Wildlife and Ecosystems from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment in January, 2010, and continues to serve as a member at large on the HCTF Board of Directors.

Michael Miltenberger, B.A., Principal, North Raven Consulting. Michael’s interests are water protection and governance, working collaboratively on environmental protection, renewable energy development, building efficient government, expediting land claims, and strategic planning. He works with Aboriginal and Crown governments, ENGO’s, industry and the private sector providing strategic political advice. Prior to his current work, he spent 20 years as MLA in the NWT Legislature, 14 of those years as Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and Social Services and the Minister Responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

Simon J. Mitchell, B.Sc. F., Senior Specialist, St. John River, Freshwater Program, WWF-Canada.  Simon works with a diversity of actors in support of a healthy St. John River. He has particular interests in environmental flows, renewables, adaptation, resilience and the complexities associated with transboundary waters.

Jon O’Riordan, Ph.D., Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University and Policy Advisor, POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria. Dr. Jon O’Riordan is a former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management in the British Columbia Provincial Government. He has completed 35 years in the public service, mainly with the Provincial Government, in environmental management and land and resource planning. In his most recent position at the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, he was responsible for completing six regional land and resource management plans. Dr. O’Riordan joined the POLIS Water Sustainability Project as a strategic water policy advisor in 2007, where he focuses on provincial water policy reform and the ecological governance of water management.

Julie Pisani, B.A., Coordinator, Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program, Regional District of Nanaimo. Julie is an experienced public speaker with a background in nature interpretation, environmental communications and local government water initiatives. She coordinates the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program at the RDN where she leads and outreach awareness initiatives; data collection / monitoring efforts; and planning / policy advocacy. She graduated from the Environmental Studies program at UVic in 2010, and has been working with the RDN since 2011.

Wayne Salewski, Chair: Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Cente; Nechako White Sturgeon Community Working Group; Nechako Kitimaat Development Fund. Wayne has worked in the conservation world as a volunteer for the past 40 years. He has worked beside an amazing group of individuals in north central BC to restore the many streams that flow into the Nechako River, while working to change policy that simply sometimes doesn’t consider the whole picture.

Dave Schaepe, Ph.D., Director, Sto:lo Research & Resource Management Centre at Stó:lō Nation; General Manager, People of the River Referrals Office. Dave has worked for the Stó:lō Nation in Chilliwack, B.C. since 1997. Dave is also an Adjunct Professor in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Resource and Environmental Management, and as well as the University of the Fraser Valley’s  Department of Social, Cultural and Media Studies. He remains active in the negotiation of aboriginal rights and community-based heritage landscape and resource management.

Hans Schreier, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, UBC Faculty of Land & Food Systems, Land-Water Systems Program. Hans has worked on watershed management for the past 30 years with a focus on land-water interactions, water pollution, stormwater management and climate variability. He has conducted research projects in the Himalayas, the Andes, The Columbia and Okanagan Basin and the Lower Fraser Valley examining agricultural, forestry and urban impacts on water.

Monica Shore, M.A., Coordinator, Mount Arrowsmith UNESCO Biosphere Region, Vancouver Island University. Since 2014, Monica has been involved in the revitalization of one of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves. As part of her role with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region on the east coast of Vancouver Island, she facilitates a regional roundtable involving First Nations, government, private forestry companies, conservation organizations, and VIU that works together to collectively envision and implement positive change and long-term health for people, culture, and the environment.

Anna Warwick Sears, Ph.D., Executive Director, Okanagan Basin Water Board. Dr. Sears is passionate about using science to solve real-world problems and building bridges with community stakeholders. She is currently Chair of the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Foundation of BC – a philanthropic organization focused on sustainable land use, and in 2015 was appointed by the International Joint Commission to the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control. In her free time, Anna loves to explore the Okanagan valley, and cook dinner for friends.