Board of Directors

The Milk River Watershed Council Canada consists of 19 Directors.  Directors are elected for a two-year term by the membership.  Members are encouraged to seek election to the Board of Directors within his or her membership category.

Milk River Watershed Council Canada Board of Directors 

John Ross – Agriculture – Rancher, Chairman


John was raised on the family ranch east of Milk River and is a 4th generation cattle rancher. He earned his pilot's license in 1978 and is also an advanced scuba diver. John attended SAIT and received a diploma in Architectural Technology. He returned home and has ranched full-time ever since and has been involved in many local initiatives including being the Deputy Chief of the Aden Volunteer Fire Department. He is also active as Director of EQUS Rural Electrification Association which is the largest member owned utility company in Canada. John was a member of the interim Steering Committee for the Milk River Watershed Council Canada, and has been a member of the MRWCC Board of Directors since its inception in 2006 and currently serving as the Chairman.


Ron McNeil - Non-Government Organization (Environmental), Vice ChairmanRon_McNeil_-_Website.jpg

Ron is a soil and land resource scientist and president of LandWise Inc., located in Lethbridge.  Ron’s formal education was Land Resources at Olds College and Physical Geography at the University of British Columbia.  Ron mainly specializes in natural resource inventories, ecological land classification, soil survey and interpretative products from inventories. Ron has lived and worked in the Counties of Warner, Forty Mile, and Cypress. Ron was instrumental in developing the link of soils and ecological range sites to native plant communities, which has been valuable for habitat management and species at risk.  Ron was an external scientific advisor for the Grassland Vegetation Inventory (GVI).  He has developed and provided many environmental training programs, including GVI certification, the use of resource inventory products, field tours, reclamation assessments, and prairie restoration.  Ron also helped develop the 2010 reclamation criteria for native grasslands and cultivated lands in Alberta.

Ron is a Director on the Board of the Prairie Conservation Forum and both transboundary and prairie connectivity issues are his main interests.  Ron also farms 1000 acres of black soils near Benalto, located west of Red Deer. 


Warren Cunningham - Appointed Member at Large (Special Assignment) - Secretary


 Warren was born in High River and grew up in Calgary and Sherwood  Park. He has a diploma in Soil and Water Technology and a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture (Soils and 

Plant Pathology major). Warren has been actively involved in the 4-H program for 17 years. He was also a member of the Southern Alberta Outdoorsman Association as an environmental and promotional chairperson. Warren was also a councilor for the County of Warner. Warren has spent the last 30+ years ranching and grass seed farming along the Milk River. He has been a MRWCC board member since its inception in 2006 and is currently serving as the Secretary on the Executive.


Dr. William Lindeman – Water User, Treasurer


Will was raised on a farm southwest of Milk River. He has a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and a Doctorate degree in veterinary medicine.

He married LaRae and set up his practice west of Milk River. Will and his wife LaRae have three daughters. He retired from his practice several years ago and continues to ranch  southwest of Milk River. Will is a member of the Milk River West Water Co-op. In his spare time, Will likes to spend time canoeing on the Milk River and on other rivers in southern Alberta and elsewhere. Will has been a member of the MRWCC Board of Directors since 2010 and currently serves on the Executive committee as the Treasurer. He is also the Chairman on the Research and Monitoring Team. 


Joan Hughson – County/Municipal District

KF0_2337.jpgJoan was born and raised just outside of Calgary on a farm. She moved south of Foremost in 1964 when she was married to Darrell Hughson. She still farms and ranches with her two sons and their families. She has been an active Councilor with the County of Forty Mile since October 2008. Joan has been a member on the MRWCC board of Directors since 2009.




Jollin Charest - Provincial Government

Jollin has a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Laval University (1998) and a master in Plant Science from McGill University (2000). He worked in agriculture research for the federal government in Quebec and in Morden Manitoba. Then became an extension agronomist working with farmers for the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture before moving to Lethbridge in 2006. Since, Jollin has been with Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development, working as a water quality specialist for 10 years and since 2016 as the manager of the Basin Water Management section composed on engineers and analysts providing support and expertise in water management, irrigation demand modeling, and geospatial irrigation infrastructure services.

Jollin is an avid outdoor enthusiast enjoying canoeing, kayaking, skiing, climbing, hiking and camping with friends and family.


Ken Brown - Recreation

Ken was born and raised in the mountains of beautiful British Columbia. 

After graduating from High School, he worked for several different mining companies throughout northern British Columbia before deciding that studying and learning might be easier than the shovel he was used to, so he enrolled at Simon Fraser University as one of its Charter students and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969.  

He met and marries his wife beautiful Wendy and moved to Alberta.  Ken and Wendy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the summer of 2020. 

He learned a lot about the Milk River and its history as he canoed and hiked up and down various sections of the river with his guide and local historian, Alva Bair. 

Ken and Wendy bought their Raft Tours Company and began offering guided Raft tours along the Milk River and have expanded their efforts by including canoe, stand up paddleboards, and river tubes to their itinerary.  Unfortunately, continuing shoulder problems and finding other certified paddlers, they had to quit offering the guided raft tours.

Along the way a number of local residents united to form a group looking to find ways to improve water quality and quantity in the Milk River and searching out various water storage ideas along the Milk River to allay some of the water shortages that seemed to happen pretty regularly.  In time, this group became the Milk River Watershed Council Canada.  Ken was privileged enough to be asked to belong to both groups and did so willingly. .


Ed Sloboda - Non-Government Organization (General)

KF0_2328.jpg Ed Sloboda has spent his entire life within 9 miles of the Milk River and has always been interested in archaeology. Ed has worked with the Royal Tyrrell Museum since 1987 on  various projects in Milk River from the west end just inside the U.S. side to the east end to where the river runs into the U.S.

Ed was also the environmental representative on the Twin River Special Places 2000. He has been a MRWCC board member since 2010. Ed is currently the chairman of the Community Awareness and Involvement Team.


Ross Ford - County/Municipal District

Ross grew up on his family’s farm east of Coutts along the Alberta/Montana border. He received his primary education in Coutts & Milk River, received a diploma in Vocational Agriculture from Lethbridge College, and has taken several courses in leadership & management. 

KF0_2309.jpgHe worked for several years in the Ag service industry as a licensed Heavy Duty & Motor mechanic, and in 1989 began farming full time by purchasing some land and taking over the family farm with his brother.  He first became involved with board governance through Agricultural Co-ops; Alberta Wheat Pool, Agricore United, & United Farmers of Alberta, serving as an elected member representative.  He has also served on several community boards, was Mayor of the Village of Coutts, and is the current Reeve of the County of Warner. Through all of his experiences he has learned much about governance & how it impacts the success of an organization or community. Ross has served on the Milk River Watershed Council since it began in 2006. He supports Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy and is a strong advocate for water storage and the benefits it brings to communities. Today he continues farming with his wife of 35 years, Jackie. They have one daughter Katie, son-in-law Eric, & granddaughter Scarlett.

Dr. Benjamin H. Ellert - Federal Government

Dr. Benjamin H. Ellert is a Research Scientist in Biogeochemistry with the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre in Lethbridge. 

KF0_2339.jpg He studies carbon and nitrogen cycling in both cropland and rangeland ecosystems.  He has expertise in quantifying soil carbon and nitrogen stocks, in investigating greenhouse gas emissions from soils, and in applying isotopic techniques to study the biogeochemistry of agricultural systems.  He obtained a Ph. D. in Soil Science from the

University of Saskatchewan, and was raised on a small mixed farm near Milk River.



William King - Individual

William's Grandfather came to Aden area before Alberta was a province 5 generations ago.William was born on the road from Aden, along Deer Creek. He started farming and ranching in 1965 until 2011 when he moved into the town of Milk River. William has been a member of numerous groups such as local Fish and Game Club since it's inception and has 


received a lifetime membership award for over 40 years of service; the Grain Agricultural Society (founding member) in 1973 where he served as president 3 times over the years; Border Surface Rights in 1981 (founding member); Aden volunteer Fire Department for 20 years. William helped with the compilation of the Milk River Natural Areas and Kennedy Coulee Ecological Reserve Management Plan which commenced in 1990 to present time. He is also a member of the Wildlife and Nature Photography Club. Some of William's photographs are featured in the 2nd Edition Milk River Transboundary State of the Watershed Report. William loves the area and is eager to bring a wealth of knowledge and history of the East Milk River area to the board.


Peggy Losey - Town/Urban Municipality

Councillor Town of Milk River


Dr. Lorraine Nicol - Academia

Dr. Lorraine Nicol originates from tiny Marquis, Saskatchewan where she grew up on a grain and cattle farm. She holds a Doctorate in Biosystems and Biodiversity, a lorraine_nicol_Web.jpgMaster’s Degree in Agriculture, and a Master’s Degree in Economics.  She has worked for a diverse number of federal and provincial government departments including the Economic Council of Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, Saskatchewan Finance, and the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission.  She and her husband Chris and their three children moved to Lethbridge in 2001.  At that time Dr. Nicol developed an interest in water resources policy and management in Alberta and has worked in this field ever since. A significant amount of her research has focused on studying irrigation water management. The Nicol family has a passion for competitive swimming with Dr. Nicol playing a voluntary role as president and board member of the L.A. Swim Club for many years.  She continues to volunteer as a qualified swim official at swim competitions.


Ken Miller – Agriculture – Farmer


Ken was born and raised near Milk River and is a 3rd generation farmer. Ken attended 

school in Milk River and completed his degree at the University of Alberta. He is actively involved in the National Board for the Canadian Seed Trade Association, in various school organizations, and is a member of the Recovery Team for Species at Risk. Ken was a member of the Local Advisory Board for storage on the Milk River. He is an active participant on the Montana-Alberta Water Management Initiative. Ken has been a MRWCC board member since its inception in 2006 and has served as a Vice Chairman on the Executive. He is the Chairman of the Water Supply and Management Team and was also the Chairman on the Integrated Watershed Planning Team which was finalized in 2015.


Aaron Domes- Provincial Government 

Aaron is an Integrated Resource Planner with the Lands Planning Branch of Alberta Environment and Parks. Prior to moving into this role in January 2022, Aaron was the Head of Visitor Services at Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai’pi, where he led a wide range of park operations and development initiatives since 2008. Prior placements with Alberta Parks have included the Castle Parks, Cypress Hills, Dinosaur Park, and Kananaskis Country. In recent years, Aaron has become well acquainted with the work of MRWCC through active participation on the board of directors, supporting several subcommittees, and helping to coordinate and lead various group excursions into the watershed. Aaron holds a B.Sc. in Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta and a M.Sc. in World Heritage Management from University College Dublin. With family roots in southern Saskatchewan and southwest Alberta, Aaron and his young family now reside in Lethbridge and enjoy mountain biking, hiking and camping in summer, skiing in winter, and exploring new places year-round.


Kristen Dykstra – Health 

Kristen was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, and was raised in a small village in the surrounding rural area. After attending the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, she moved to Edmonton where she attended Concordia University and obtained an After-Degree in Environmental Public Health. Kristen worked in Medicine Hat as a Public Health Inspector for Alberta Health Services for over 6 years, and has lived in Lethbridge since 2013. She is the covering Public Health Inspector for the County of Warner, as well as Magrath and Del Bonita. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and kayaking. She views participation in the Milk River Watershed Council as being an excellent opportunity to learn more about the geography of the area and meet members of the communities.


Jonathan (Jon) Boyle - Commercial/Industrial

Jonathan (Jon) Boyle, P.Ag., grew up in southwestern Manitoba and frequented a family farm near Riding Mountain National Park. As a graduate of Brandon University, Olds Collage and Montana State University, Jon has an educational background in business, land sciences and range management. Starting his career as a Range Management Technician with Agriculture Canada in the late 1980s, Jon quickly formed a passion for conservation of native prairie and promoting sustainable agricultural practices with landowners. Jon has over 25 years of energy, transportation, municipal and not-for-profit environmental planning experience throughout western Canada as an owner of his own environmental consulting company, Rangeland Environmental Services, and now as a Planning and Permitting Manager at CCI Inc. His experience includes managing multidisciplinary teams and staff, obtaining provincial and federal approvals, and managing vegetation, reclamation, and range management projects. With Jon’s in-depth experience in linear development environmental planning, regulatory applications, reclamation, and research studies, he provides creative and cost-efficient environmental advice to his clients. Jon has also acted as an industry liaison between landowners and the energy industry promoting sustainable resource development for drilling programs along the southern Prairie Provinces. Jon has also conducted numerous grazing management related projects specific to the Milk River Watershed. With a background in office based environmental planning, regulatory applications and hands-on environmental pipeline inspection, Jon has an intuitive ability to integrate academics with field-smart, construction expertise creating common-sense environmental solutions. Jon’s company Rangeland, has been a proud supporter of the MRWCC for approximately the past ten years and is proud to possibly be joining the Board of Directors.


Scott MacCumber - Urban Municipality (Alternate)

Village of Coutts Councilor.

Vacant - First Nations