Mike Walters

Mike Walters

Mike Walters is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority where he provides expert knowledge, strategic advice and recommendations to a Board of Directors in regards to policy, program and budget decisions. Mike is also responsible to provide operational leadership to more than 100 staff to guide and influence processes, decisions and implementation, to advance the Authority’s mission to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed by leading research, policy and action. Throughout his 35 year career, Mike has applied his expertise locally and internationally in China, Mexico and the US, developing and implementing strategic plans, pollution control strategies, policy, and integrated watershed plans, to protect and improve ecosystem health.

Ten Years After Thiess – The Lake Simcoe Story

In 2009 the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) was fortunate to win the Thiess Riverprize for our work to improve the health and quality of Lake Simcoe and its watershed.  Located in south-central Ontario, Canada, Lake Simcoe is less than an hour’s drive from half the population in the province and generates more than $400 million to the local economy through recreation use alone.      The 2,700 km2 watershed is also home to some of the fast growing communities in Canada which has given rise to environmental challenges.  There is no question that winning the Thiess Riverprize was a significant milestone for the LSRCA.  It aided in profiling environmental issues within the watershed and more importantly stressed the need for the adoption of an integrated watershed approach to manage and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from human activities.   Since 2009 the LSRCA has expanded its efforts to meet these challenges and work with our community to protect and restore Lake Simcoe and its watershed by leading research, policy and action.    This session will provide an overview of what has transpired in the last ten years and highlight efforts that have been essential for the LSRCA to achieve its mission.

Translating Science Into Action

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) has been working in collaboration with all levels of government, industry and environmental stakeholders along with watershed residents to implement recommendations from the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. Successful implementation requires a collaboration and blending of social, economic, and, environmental considerations to identify solutions which optimize value. At the LSRCA applied science is used to inform decision making and translated into the creation of: policy, educational programs, remedial measures and capital programs or projects. This session focuses on how to translate science into action to effect positive change. Specifically it will examine how scientific data to assess the effectiveness of stormwater management in 2010 has led to a complete paradigm shift in how stormwater is managed within the Lake Simcoe watershed and soon to be adopted throughout the entire province of Ontario.

Using Strategic Planning to Achieve Environmental Goals – Lessons Learned in the Lake Simcoe Watershed

This session outlines how the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority is using the principles of strategic planning to achieve our environmental goals to improve the health and quality of Lake Simcoe and its watershed. In 2016 the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority launched a five year strategic plan with the intent to achieve five environmental outcomes originating from the Lake Simcoe Watershed Plan. Watershed plans typically contain a long list of recommendations resulting in the need for; remedial capital works, development of policies, stewardship and educational programs and in some instances further study or monitoring to address data gaps. Often time responsibilities for the implementation of activities are ambiguous or shared, resources are limited, unforeseen barriers can emerge and priorities can change, and, as a consequence progress to achieve desired outcomes can slow or even come to an abrupt stop. By utilizing a strategic approach to focus implementation these problems can be overcome to ensure that resources are being used to their full potential and barriers removed so that you can achieve your environmental goals.

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