Otter Tail County Commissioners Hosts DNR Commissioner Landwehr and State Legislators
August 28, 2018 – Otter Tail County, MN – Otter Tail County Commissioners welcomed Tom Landwehr, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner to a luncheon and topical discussion with local state legislators and county staff on Tuesday, August 28th.
Commissioner Landwehr; Brad Parsons, Fisheries Chief; Rita Albrecht, Northwest Regional Director; Henry Drewes, Regional Fisheries Manager; and Jim Wolters, Area Fisheries Supervisor spoke about the Department of Natural Resources’ legislative priorities for next year.
In beginning the discussion, Mr. Landwehr shared the three areas of the DNR’s mission as conserving natural resources and providing outdoor recreation and economic development within the state. “We rely on the legislature to be the vetting ground. They appropriate the funds and we execute the laws. When we see something happening with natural resources we go to public policy,” added Mr. Landwehr.
Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen and Representative Bud Nornes attended the luncheon to listen to the DNR policy priorities involving areas important to their constituents such as chronic wasting disease in whitetail deer herds. The legislators acknowledged the work of their constituents in partnering with state parks and lake associations to improve the natural resources in the area. “We appreciate the volunteers at state parks. . . (and) lake associations are tremendous resources who step up to do a lot of things with the DNR,” remarked Senator Ingebrigtsen. Commissioner Landwehr agreed stating, “We have the best constituents in the world. Minnesota has 65 state parks and all of them have ‘friends of the park” groups.”
Relationship building was a key discussion point during the luncheon. The group discussed ways in which counties and DNR leadership can strengthen collaboration efforts and build communication networks between agencies. County Board Chair, Wayne Johnson, commented, “Communication is the key. We are all here to protect our resources. We need to work to do a better job of communicating our priorities between the DNR and the county.”
Joining the discussion was Spencer McGrew, Otter Tail County’s AIS Coordinator and DNR District Manager, Erik Anthonisen, who updated the group on the ongoing AIS prevention efforts within Otter Tail County. AIS programs throughout Minnesota work closely with the DNR to gather data and implement best practices to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species. Commissioner Dough Heubsch also took a moment to thank the DNR for supporting the funding for AIS prevention programs in Otter Tail County.
Rick West, Public Works Director listened to DNR staff as they discussed coordination and sustainability practices of the Local Wetland Replacement Program. Mr. West also emphasized the importance of state funding for state trails. “It is hugely important that the state sees the importance of funding trails and maintaining the investment in existing trails,” remarked Rick West.
After adjourning the meeting, Commissioner Landwehr and Board Chairman, Wayne Johnson, invited audience comments and questions. Several lake property owners were in attendance and asked questions and shared concerns over local issues.
For more information about Otter Tail County Land and Resources services please visit: www.co.ottertail.mn.us/449/Land-Resource-Management or