Building a global community of practice around natural water infrastructure

Advisory Group

The Advisory Group, composed of experts and practitioners in the PWS space, are helping to shape and build the global community of practice that Watershed Connect serves, ultimately helping to broaden the use and increase the effectiveness of PWS approaches. Their contributions are gratefully recognized.


Nigel Asquith
Nigel is Director of Strategy and Policy at Fundación Natura Bolivia. His technical expertise is in plant-animal relations in neotropical forests, ecosystem service valuation, policy analysis, and the impacts of the oil and gas sector on biodiversity, and he has worked at the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for International Forestry Research, and the World Bank. Nigel's regional specialization is in the tropical Andes, but he also extensive experience in Indonesia, Mesoamerica, Madagascar, Yemen and Ghana. Currently, Nigel is scaling up municipal water funds in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a model that has been replicated in several other Andean countries. Nigel holds a Ph.D. in Tropical Ecology from Duke University.

Michael Bennett
Michael is leading Forest Trends' efforts to assess and track the current status and development of eco-compensation policies and projects in China, including through engagement with IWS in the Miyun watershed, which supplies the lion's share of Beijing's water. Dr. Bennett has worked with the Asian Development Bank, the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is currently a visiting scholar of environmental economics at Peking University. 

Mark Botha
Mark runs his own biodiversity consultancy, specializing in conservation strategy, tactics and insight, primarily in his areas of expertise: policy, offsets, land protection and stewardship. His current focus is unpicking policy obstacles and opportunities for financing the integrity of watershed services for the South African National Biodiversity Institute. Mark’s experience includes ten years investigating incentives to conserve threatened ecosystems and developing tools for off-reserve conservation on private land with the Botanical Society of South Africa, and another two years heading up the conservation portfolio of WWF-South Africa. Mark holds an MSc in floodplain ecology, with a specialization in the effects of floods, droughts and dams on tropical floodplain forests.

Bobby Cochran
Bobby is the Executive Director of the Willamette Partnership, where he specializes in developing collaborative policy tools and approaches at the intersection between economics, technology, and the environment. He’s sometimes accused of wearing rose-colored glasses, but he’s still convinced those are cool. Bobby holds a Ph.D. /M.A from Portland State University.

Mathew Cranford
Matthew is an environmental economist focused on the economics and finance of ecosystem services and biodiversity. He is working towards his PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he is researching payments for ecosystem services (PES), with field studies carried out in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. In addition to his research on PES, Matthew has worked with government and international organizations in Europe and the US on ecosystem economics and finance, including the World Bank, European Commission DG Environment, and UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Most recently, he supported the Global Canopy Programme on their forest finance work program, co-authoring the Little Biodiversity Finance Book and leading a project on Understanding Forest Bonds.

Todd Gartner
Todd is a Senior Associate for the World Resources Institute’s People and Ecosystems Program. He focuses on developing new ways to finance conservation though the use of conservation incentives and market-based strategies, such as biodiversity offsets, payments for watershed services, and carbon markets. Todd works with a broad range of stakeholders including landowners, regulators, fortune 500 companies, and local partners to achieve conservation objectives both domestically and abroad. Todd earned his Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. in finance from University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business.

Kimberly John
Ms. John is a freshwater ecologist and has work for 8 years as Science Programme Manager for The Nature Conservancy, Caribbean. She has a Bachelors degree in Zoology and Geography and a Masters degree in Zoology from the University of the West Indies.  A Trinidadian, she has lived and worked in Jamaica and the Caribbean for over 10 years specializing in the conservation and research of freshwater systems. Her work among the Windward Maroons earned a Conservation and Sustainability fellowship at IUCN, and a Sustainable Watershed Management Award from Swiss Re Ltd. She led the Waters for Life initiative in Jamaica which focussed on long-term, ridge-to-reef protection of the Rio Grande freshwater ecosystem and inland fishery. She has published on her work in freshwater conservation, indigenous ecological knowledge and produced a documentary on the community-based action to protect freshwater wildlife. Since January 2011 she’s managed the Conservancy’s science activities across the insular Caribbean.

Christo Marias
- (Bio coming soon)

Dan Nees
Dan is Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland. Over the past several years he has worked with communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in their efforts to implement and finance environmental and sustainable development initiatives.  His work has focused on developing and building coalitions of diverse interests groups and directing them towards common financing and implementation goals.  Dan holds a B.A. in Economics, a Master of Environmental Policy, and a Master of Business Administration, all from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Alice Ruhweza
Alice is Regional Technical Advisor with UNDP's Environment Finance Group. She assists countries in Eastern and Southern Africa to access, combine and sequence environmental finance for their biodiversity and ecosystem management activities. Prior to joining UNDP Alice was Regional Coordinator of the East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group Network. The network brought together PES practitioners, Governments, private sector, NGOs and other interested stakeholders to engage and learn about PES. Alice continues to work on PES issues - advising Governments interested in designing PES schemes, and is also lead author of a guidance note on how developing countries can generate welfare from natural capital (for example through PES) for the OECD DAC ENVIRONET Task Team on Poverty and Green Growth.

Diane Tarte
Diane is Co-Director of Marine Ecosystem Policy Advisors P/L which provides advice on policy and programs addressing research and management of marine, coastal and catchment areas with a particular focus on ecosystem based management of catchments, waterways and fisheries. Between 2002 and 2009 she was the Project Director of the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership, leading the development and implementation of SEQ Healthy Waterways Strategy and the delivery of regional science, monitoring, communication and capacity building programs. Over the past 35 years she has been involved in the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef and Australian tidal wetland areas, the development of government planning and management policies and legislation focusing on integrated coastal zone management and Oceans Policy, and the involvement of the community in the management of marine protected areas, coastal wetland reserves and rehabilitation of riparian zones. She is a member of the Australian Government’s World Heritage Advisory Committee and is chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Ecosystem Reef Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee of the National Environment Research Program Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Tropical Rainforests Hub.