Director & Senior Biologist
PhD, Conservation Biology
University of Alberta, 2013
BSc, Specialization in Zoology
University of Alberta, 1998
Professional Biologist, Alberta Society of Professional Biologists
Over the last decade, Shari has focused a great deal of her professional and academic work on creating better tools and policies for managing natural areas at a range of scales, including more accurate inventories and standardized methods for assessing natural area conditions, wetland value and condition, and riparian condition. She is an expert in environmental policy, and evaluation of policy outcomes, and is regularly an invited speaker on such matters.
Shari is one of the co-founders of Fiera Biological, and is a professional biologist with 17 years of professional and academic research experience in western Canada, Central America, and Japan. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, where she is currently involved in a wetland research project that is focused on developing new remote sensing techniques to detect and assess the potential ecological value of drained wetlands, as well as new methods for testing market based instruments to incentivize wetland restoration on private lands (www.restoreourwetlands.ca).
Much of Shari’s most recent and relevant Project Management experience has been on large and complex municipal and provincial projects that have used remote sensing and GIS methods to create spatial inventories that are used to assess the value of key environmental resources. Over the last two years, Shari has lead projects that have combined remote sensing inventories (e.g., wetlands, land cover, human footprint) with systematic frameworks to evaluate habitat condition and value. This has included the development of a habitat connectivity model and Habitat Condition Rating Tool for Parks in the City of Calgary, the creation of a wetland inventory and historic loss assessment for Parkland County, the identification of Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) in the City of Leduc and Leduc County, the identification of Key Wetlands in Alberta for the North American Waterfowl Management Partnership (NAWMP), the prioritization of watersheds for restoration as part of the provincial Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Project, the identification and mapping of Environmentally Significant Areas in the province of Alberta. A significant component of all of these projects included engagement and consultation with the public and project stakeholders, which required organizing and facilitating workshops, as well as delivering presentations at public open houses, municipal Council meetings, and public hearings.
Key member of the Alberta Water Research Institute Wetland Health research team, focused on describing and explaining factors that influenced wetland policy implementation and outcomes in Alberta.
Conducted a jurisdictional review of governance structures & certification standards for wetland assessment practitioners and advised the Government of Alberta
Created an inventory of wetlands, assessed their class, and quantified their ecosystem services (flood storage and carbon storage) to develop a municipal wetland policy. Resulting publication.
Conducted a detailed study of wetland policy in Alberta, its implementation, and its performance relative to stated goals.
Society for Conservation Biology
Wetland Ecosystem Services Pilot Project, Alberta Environment