Board of Directors

Public Member at Large Richard Keillor
Public Member at Large Dave Walty
Environment Bob Cameron
Research Education Vacant
Watershed Stewardship Cathy Newhook
Recreation/Tourism/Fisheries Vacant
Agriculture Jill Henry 
Forestry Ian Daisley
Utilities Ashley Rowney
Oil & Gas Sarah Belak
Mining Vacant
Metis Nation of Alberta Vacant
Upper Watershed First Nation Vacant
Metis Settlements General Council Vacant
Lower Watershed First Nation Jim Webb
Middle Watershed First Nation Vacant
Rural Municipalities Elaine Garrow
Small Urban Elaine Manzer
Federal Transboundary Relations Abdi Siad-Omar
Large Urban Chris Thiessen
Provincial Government Dan Benson


Rick Keillor - Chair - (Public Member-At-Large)

Since 1982 I have been operating my own mixed (cattle and grain) farm. I am married and have a grown son and daughter.

Before returning to the farm I obtained a BSc in Zoology, minor Geography, course work in Geology at the University of Alberta (1975). From 1976-1982 I worked for Alberta Fish and Wildlife, mainly on Wildlife management and Land use issues.

   Over the past years I have been involved in organizations such as Peace Country Forage and Beef Association and Holistic Management, with an interest in grass management, including riparian and forest grazing management. (All bush and riparian areas on my farm are fenced out from general grazing use)

During the 1990’s I served as member of DMI Peace River (Daishowa Marubeni International) Public Advisory Council. I gained valuable insights into forest management and water issues, as well as the mill side effects and issues.

   I have a long standing interest in land use and land and water management issues, as it relates to agriculture, industry, recreation and ecosystem needs.


Ashley Rowney - Secretary -  (Utilities)

Ashley was born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan and currently resides in Grande Prairie, Alberta. She relocated to the Peace Region after graduating from the University of Regina with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Petroleum Systems Engineering. Ashley is the Regulatory and Compliance Office for Aquatera Utilities, a full service utility corporation.  In her role, she develops, implements and maintains various programs. These programs involve public education, conducting environmental projects and studies, as well as monitoring and reporting relevant to provincial and federal requirements.


Sarah Belak (Oil & Gas)

Sarah Belak has 10 years of experience working with Canadian Oil and Gas producers with operations in the Peace River Area focusing on responsible water management. She has previously held the position of Environmental Water Coordinator at Canadian Natural Resources Limited and is currently a Water Coordinator at Tourmaline Oil Corporation. Through these roles she has gained knowledge and experience regarding the Oil and Gas industry’s management of water and works with the Alberta Energy Regulator and stakeholders to ensure sustainable development. Sarah Belak resides in Calgary and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary.

Dan Benson (Provincial Government)

Dan was raised on a farm in the County of Camrose.  He attended Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where he graduated as an Engineering Technologist.  He moved to Peace River in 1997 where he worked for PFRA/AAFC.  In 2013 he started a new position with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as an Agricultural Water Specialist.  He served as an alternate on the MPWA board of directors before becoming a director.


Bob Cameron (Conservation/ Environment)

Bob Cameron has been a resident of the Debolt area since 1976. Born in Edmonton in 1948, Bob grew up in Montreal, Toronto, and Moncton, NB, but returned to Alberta every summer by train to visit family. By 1973, Bob had completed his Renewable Resources Technology at Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon. In 1976, Bob began the forestry stage of his career with one summer timber-cruising and three subsequent summers as Tower man at Economy Creek Lookout for the Alberta Forest Service. For the last 25 years, Bob has owned and operated a one-man Mobile Dimension Sawmill. He represents the Environmental Sector.

Ian Daisley (Forestry)

Ian Daisley is representing the Alberta Forest Products Association on the MPWA. As a Professional Forester he has worked for Alberta Newsprint Company in Whitecourt for the past 14 years. Mostly he supervises forestry operations, but more recently has worked in a role where he is in charge of the planning, silviculture and certification for the company. 


Elaine Garrow (Rural Municipalities)

I am currently in my fifth term on the M.D. #133 Council. I live on the original family farm that was established in 1916. For many years my husband Ace and I owned Berwyn Insurance in Berwyn, Alberta. In 2000 we moved back to the farm.  In 2001 we sold Berwyn Insurance and I went back to college and took the Horsemanship program at Fairview College.

   Today I raise Arabians and Quarter Horses and I am also an Equine Certified Western Riding Instructor. I instruct horsemanship, judge camps, and host clinics, and put on horsemanship camps.

    My main passions are going green, protecting the environment, health care, and making good contributions to the community and province.

   As a Councilor for the M.D. #133  I represent the following boards: 

Peace Library- Executive, Municipal Planning Commission, Agricultural Service Board, FCSS Board, Grande Spirit Foundation, Peace River Economic Development Alliance- Chair, Personnel Committee, Peace Library System,

Heritage Resource Committee.Central Peace health Council. I also sit on the Community Futures Board as a volunteer.


Jill Henry (Agriculture)

Jill has been a resident of the Peace region since 1985. She was raised on a ranch near Bruderheim and attended the University of Alberta where she received a BSc in Agriculture, majoring in Rangeland Ecology and Animal Science. Upon graduation, she worked as a Public Lands Agrologist in Mackenzie County, Birch Hills County, Saddle Hills County and MD of Spirit River. In 1990 she moved to a farm in the La Glace area and together with her husband they established a full service fertilizer dealership. Jill is currently the Rural Extension Officer at the County of Grande Prairie, where she reports to the Agricultural Service Board and promotes watershed stewardship to local producers. She is a member of the Alberta Institute  of Agrologists  ( P Ag ) and the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen.  



Elaine Manzer (Small Urban)

Elaine was born in Peace River where she attended school, then left to earn her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Alberta, came back to teach junior and senior high school in Peace River and Grimshaw, returned to the U of A to earn two Post-Graduate Diplomas in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education.  After about 36 years as a teacher and principal Elaine retired from teaching and is now serving her second term as a Councillor for the Town of Peace River.


Catherine Newhook (Watershed Stewardship)

Catherine Newhook was born in Nova Scotia and raised in Prince Edward Island by the water.  Family brought her out West and in 1984, she found her forever home in Goodfare, Alberta. Cathy and her husband have four children together.

Cathy is a natural resource technician and her love for nature and conservation began in 1984 when her and her partner started a tree planting company, Next Generation Reforestation. Today, NextGen plants an average of 22 million trees a year in the Boreal Forest.

Cathy was a founding member of the West County Watershed Society and has been president for the last 10 years. West County Watershed Society represents the communities and watersheds West of Grande Prairie, Alberta including the Beaverlodge Red Willow and Wapiti River.


Cathy is driven by the idea of ensuring communities have access to clean, sparkling rivers for fishing, kayaking, recreation and resource use for generations to come. 

Chris Thiessen - Vice Chair - (Large Urban)

Chris Thiessen is a councilor with the city of Grande Prairie. Born and raised in Alberta, Chris has been a resident of the Peace Region for over 19 years. Holding a degree in Digital Arts and Mass Media as well as several years of General Studies at the University of Alberta, Chris has devoted his life to service within his community and to help assist in the raising of consciousness in a variety of social fields (humanitarian, environmental, spiritual). Currently, Chris works also works for the Canadian Mental Health Association, helping the at-risk and low-income populations in the city of Grande Prairie. Relevant history of his service in relation to the Watershed includes:

  •  creation of the Peace Starts At Home not-for-profit local music genre festival (2005-10) which raised over $50,000 for a variety of charities in Grande Prairie over its operation.
  • co-creator and mentor of the youth anti-nuclear advocacy group SPOC (Stop Poisoning Our Community, 2007-09, later reformed to Start Protecting Our Community, 2010-current) which successfully helped to oppose the bid for a nuclear power plant on the Peace River.
  • youth educator on environmental awareness and recycling initiates (K-8)
  • community member participant in creation of Grande Prairie's Municipal Development Plan, Cultural Master Plan, Transit Master Plan, and Muskoseepi Park

Dave Walty (Public Member-At-Large)

David Walty lives in a log house that he built himself on a small farm just outside of the Town of Peace River. The view from his house looks down the valley of the Mighty Peace. “I can view the many faces of the river, its furry, it ever changing flows and its radiant beauty form my front door”.  Dave recently retired from 40 years of managing the Fish and Wildlife resources of the Peace Region.  Dave is a fisheries biologist by training. His experience with management, planning, aboriginal relations, stakeholder relations, communication, education and working in a team environment are many.  Dave has an intimate knowledge of most lakes and rivers in the Peace Watershed. Dave is a founding member and a director of the East Peace Water Co-op, the largest water co-op in the province. 


Jim Webb (Lower Watershed First Nation)

The Little Red River Cree Nation (LRRCN) confirmed Mr. Webb to act on behalf of the members of LRRCN as of May 2018. He brings to the table a great deal of experience and understanding of the Peace River and the area covered by the Peace River Watershed.