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.


Andrews Takyi - City of Calgary 

Andrews Takyi is a Water Resources Engineer at The City of Calgary. He holds a Ph.D. in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering. Andrews has over 25 years of research, university teaching, consulting and industry experience in environmental/water resources design, planning, and management.  His current work at The City includes water quality modelling and assessment for watersheds and natural receiving surface water systems. Prior to joining The City, Andrews’ work involved providing leadership and direction to engineers, scientists and planners and reviewing aquatic aspects of project deliverables from the conceptual stage through planning, design, construction and operations to decommissioning and closure. In the past, he represented his previous employer on regional environmental committees and multi-stakeholder associations in Alberta, including the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development, Cumulative Environmental Management Association, Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program, Oil Sands Leadership Initiative and Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. Andrews is looking forward to contribute his experience and technical expertise on watershed planning and management to the Elbow River Watershed Partnership. 

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)

PhotoJuliaKennedy FrancisJulia Kennedy-Francis, Townsite of Redwood Meadows  


Chris Paterson, (Industry)

Chris Paterson, AAGS is in his 6th season as Assistant Superintendent to The Glencoe Golf & Country Club, and has been in the golf industry for 18 seasons. Since 2008, The Glencoe Golf & Country Club is recognized as a Certified Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary, through the Audubon International program. Following the key areas evaluated during the certification and bi-annual recertification process, The Glencoe demonstrates strong commitment to the environmental program at their facility through; environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use, reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.

Chris attained an Applied Degree in Golf Course Management from Olds College in 2007, and was accredited in the Canadian Golf Course Superintendents Association in 2014. Born and raised in the small agricultural community of Creston B.C., Chris gained a strong appreciation for the outdoors and understands the importance of a healthy environment, leading towards a good quality of life. Chris holds a strong sense of pride towards the golf industry and enjoys sharing the many positives that golf courses offer to the environment and our well being. Chris lives in Southwest Calgary with his wife and two young boys and enjoys the time he is able to spend with them.


  • 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.