Back row left to right: Chantal Tougas, Ben Underhill, Nathan Wiese, Jim Lahn
Front Row left to right: Darren Newville, Brittney Johnson, Mitchell Ness, Aimee Duchene, Liz Wiese
Not Pictured: Anne Oldakowski, Wade Salo
Darren started at the EOT SWCD in the spring of 2005. In 2011 he started managing the Wadena SWCD through an agreement between the two SWCD Boards. Prior to moving to Perham he worked for the Martin SWCD in southern Minnesota for 12 years. Darren keeps busy making sure everyone in our offices keep busy, he works with the two SWCD Boards to assess the need for conservation work in each district, and helps to secure funding for staff and projects.
Anne has knowledge on a variety of conservation programs and is known locally as "the tree lady." Her job duties include managerial support for the two SWCDs, providing technical assistance to private forest landowners with managing their forest resources, and assisting with implementing projects tied to the Wadena county water plan.She also assists with our educational opportunities like Conservation Days and the Envirothon, the tree program, and cooperating with other agencies in the county on grants and projects. Her favorite part of her job is meeting landowners on their property and tying their goals to the forest resources that they have.
Chantal handles all of the bookkeeping and secretarial duties at the East Otter Tail and Wadena Soil & Water Conservation District. She makes sure the bills get paid and the lights stay on. She lives in Perham with her husband, Mike, and their yellow lab, Ruger. Chantal enjoys quilting in her spare time and also loves to garden.
Shoreland Specialist/County Ag Inspector
Aimee is our Shoreland Specialist & County Ag Inspector – She designs & installs shoreline buffers on Otter Tail & Wadena County lakes & streams, as well as helps landowners control thistle and other pesky invasives. Aimee works with plants and people all, day every day, and she thinks it’s awesome!
Irrigation/Nutrient Management Speacialist
Nathan Wiese is our Irrigation and Nutrient Management Specialist. He deals mainly with our Nutrient Management, Irrigation Scheduling, and Weather Station Maintenance programs. He also helps out with our custom seeding, tree planting, equipment maintenance, and even sometimes shoreline installations! He grew up near Verndale on a small dairy farm, has a few beef cows, and farms when he's not busy at the Soil and Water.
District Technician - Farm Bill Assistance
Mitch implements the district tree program and tree plantings as well as custom seeding, seed sales, and the equipment rental program for the district. He also coordinates the CREP, RIM, and Walk-In-Access programs and assists with the buffer program. You can usually find him out in the field making site visits, seeding, or planting trees, as well as in the office drafting CRP proposals and writing contracts. If he's not doing any of those things, he is often fixing up our rental equipment. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, being outdoors, and hanging out with friends and family.
Water Planner/Watershed Coordinator
Ben writes grant applications to help fund district activities, coordinates with other agencies and counties on Water Management Plan activities, and runs the nitrate clinics and water testing in the EOT office. Helping local landowners with their water issues is something he loves about his job. Ben and his wife recently had their first child and their son keeps them too busy to do much else right now!
District Technician/Assistant Shoreline Specialist
Liz is our District Technician/Assistant Shoreline Specialist. Although she works with many different programs, one of her favorite duties is designing and installing native shoreline buffers on Otter Tail lakes and streams. She also works with the Minnesota Buffer Law helping landowners install buffers, and helps put together a few of our youth education events. Liz loves being outdoors hiking, biking, running, and kayaking.
Brittney runs our Irrigation Scheduling Program and assists with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. Her favorite part of her job is driving around our beautiful county and talking to farmers. When she isn’t out probing for soil moisture, you can find her on her farm. She spends her time fiddling, gardening, and keeping her dog out of trouble.
James (Jim) Lahn
Area Certification Specialist
Jim is our Area Certification Specialist for the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) in 11 north central Minnesota counties. In his work he assists area farm operators and owners with the certification process of their farming operations. Jim gets to see first hand all of the good things farmers are doing to protect our soil and water! When he's not working with local farmers, Jim enjoys fishing, flying (his own plane too!), and being involved at his church.
Wade Salo is a District Irrigation Technician for Wadena Soil & Water Conservation District, who we partner with for tree sales along with other programs. He graduated from New York Mills High School and later the U of M Crookston with a degree in Water Systems Management. You can find him out in the crop fields all summer long, as he runs our Irrigation Scheduling for Wadena County. His other job duties include DNR Observation Well monitoring, helping out with Conservation Days for Wadena County, and running the rain gauge network data collection. In his free time, you can find him hunting, fishing, or playing amateur baseball for the New York Millers, which he has been doing for nine years.