Staff and Board of Directors

The Elbow River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) is an NGO that is operated in Alberta. In order to fill its mandate it employs a Watershed Coordinator and is guided by a Board of Directors. 

ERWP Board 2016

Left to right: Flora Giesbrecht, Mark Giesbrecht, Dan Brown, Diane Coleman, Natasha Kukmak, Denise Di Santo, Mike Murray posing during the June 2016 AGM at Cobble Flats, along the Elbow River.

Board of Directors

The board of Membership and Category represented:

diane coleman

Chair - Diane Coleman

Diane Coleman writes non-fiction and technical materials, based on her forty-year career as a geomatics consultant, environmental applications specialist and educator/trainer/facilitator. With a Master of Science degree in geography, and broad interests in mapping and exploring our environment, she has published remote sensing papers in journals, books and conference proceedings, and has authored over 150 technical reports. She is a hiker and naturalist who has lived in the Elbow River watershed for four decades, and has recently published the book, Mountains to Metropolis: The Elbow River Watershed.

Mike Murray ERWP

Mike Murray - Community Groups & Associations (Bow River Basin Council)

Mike Murray is the Program Manager with the non-profit Charity, the Bow River Basin Council. For the past 12 years. Mike has befitted great and enjoyed working with many knowledgeable and passionate people that make up the Bow River Basin Council Membership. Mike works with volunteers on projects such as the Bow Basin Watershed Management Plan Implementation phase and the upcoming State of the Basin projects. In his role Mike works very closely with the Watershed stewardship groups in the Bow Basin and currently serves as a Board member of the Elbow River Watershed Partnership, the Calgary River Valleys and is the current chair of the Alberta Stewardship Network Grant Committee. Mike’s educational background is in Ecology at the University of Calgary. Prior to working at the Council Mike has enjoyed working in roles including field entomological studies, soil/water toxicology in both research and commercial applications. Mike is an active volunteer in his community and particularly enjoys coaching his children’s youth soccer teams.
Dan Brown (Industry and Academia)
Dan Brown, M.Sc., P.Geol., is a recently retired Principal and Senior Hydrogeologist from the Calgary office of Golder Associates. Dan has close to 40 years of hydrogeology experience in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Including carrying out regional groundwater assessments, groundwater supply investigations, and aquifer protection studies. Dan lives in Cochrane with his wife, Lois, with whom he actively hikes and travels. He has been on the ERWP Board for two years and his main interests are water resource protection and conservation, as well as educating people about the importance of groundwater in the hydrologic cycle.

Mark Giesbrecht ERWP

Mark Giesbrecht (Industry and Academia)

Mark Giesbrecht, MSc, is a Lead GIS Professional with 20 years of industry experience, on the Data and Analytics team at Devon Canada Corporation.  He holds a B.Sc. degree in Geography from the University of Calgary, and a Master of Science Geography degree from McMasters University.  His educational background in GIS has a hydrology focus, modeling past Alberta flood events, and has published articles and conference proceedings on snowmelt modeling using geospatial techniques.   An eager outdoorsman, Mark enjoys his time mountain biking, sailing, and wandering around the foothills.

Natasha Kuzmak ERWP

Natasha Kuzmak (City of Calgary)

Natasha Kuzmak is a Water Resources Planner at The City of Calgary. She spends much of her time at The City working with watershed partnerships and integrating riparian values into the land use planning and development system. In addition to having a background in environmental sciences, she also has an wide-ranging experiences in urban planning and a Master’s degree in urban planning. Some of her past work included working with various stakeholders and at various levels of the planning system from high-level policy to contributing to changes to the land use bylaw. Natasha is excited to be working with the Elbow River Watershed Partnership to bring a strategic lens to the watershed and to support education and awareness on watershed issues and management.

Denise Di Ssanto

Denise Di Santo (Individual)

 Denise Di Santo, M.Sc., is a water resources specialist and watershed planner. Fortunate to have grown up near the Rocky Mountains, in Calgary, her early experiences backpacking and skiing inspired her to take the path toward a watershed management career. Her research includes an analysis of groundwater contamination, including public agencies’ community involvement strategies in remediation and environmental justice issues, as well as contributing to a community impact assessment in rural Alberta. Denise served on a technical advisory team in Washington State, providing expertise in fluvial geomorphology, to develop watershed planning tools and guidance for municipalities. In addition, Denise evaluated the effectiveness of Low Impact Development (LID) projects for the State, and worked as a project manager overseeing stormwater retrofit and LID projects and their funding throughout the Puget Sound Region. She also coordinated implementation of watershed scale salmon recovery plans and projects in the Region. Denise developed cross jurisdictional policy for King County’s groundwater protection program in WA, and as policy planner at The City of Calgary, Water Resources, Denise worked collaboratively to develop solutions for stormwater management and LID implementation.  Before relocating back to Calgary, Denise worked with a team to complete a watershed hydrology protection plan, which may serve as guidance for nationwide watershed management under the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Her water resources planning experience provides her the tools to address watershed issues and Denise is excited to contribute on the Board of the Elbow River Watershed Partnership.

Kristyn Smigelski, Agricultural Services Officer with Rocky View County (Agriculture/ Equine /Aquaculture)

Julia Kennedy-Francis, Townsite of Redwood Meadows  


  • Positions are available in each of the following categories: First Nations, Agriculture/ Equine /Aquaculture, Government, Industry and Academia.  


  • Co-ordinate the development and implementation of a strategic plan and process to accomplish stated goals, with input from resource partners and stakeholder committee
  • Meet as required
  • Manage finances within approved budget
  • Provide recommendations and liaise with Local Government Committee
  • Define role, liaise with, and supervise watershed coordinator
  • Participate in fundraising initiatives as required
  • Chair and/or Watershed Coordinator act as public spokespersons for the Partnership



The Watershed Coordinator role is to organize and steward activities that lead to improving water management in the Elbow River watershed. Focus is on the establishment of a comprehensive management plan. Work with all interests that are or will affect the health of the watershed including all levels of government, elected officials, business people, community groups, watershed residents, and interested citizens.

flora ERWPFlora Giesbrecht, Watershed Coordinator (Non-voting member)

Flora is thrilled to be working with the ERWP, whose interests lie in protecting our most precious resource, the drinking source for one in 6 Albertans. Flora understands the importance of engaging stakeholders in a collaborative way, in protecting fresh water and riparian zones and in water-related education. Of particular interest to her is the bilateral interaction between anthropomorphic influences and our natural surroundings (human influences on nature and nature's influences on humans). When not engaged in the "water world", Flora enjoys coaching cross country skiing, mountain biking and hiking with her family and friends, and painting.