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East Otter Tail SWCD - Staff

SWCD Staff Members

Back row left to right: Trisha Demarais, Nathan Wiese, Jim Lahn, Ben Underhill

Front Row left to right: Darren Newville, Mitchell Ness, Chantal Tougas, Liz Wiese, Aimee Duchene

Not Pictured, Wadena Staff: Anne Oldakowski, Mitchell Janson

Darren Info

Staff Contact Information

Darren Newville

District Manager



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 info

Anne Oldakowski

Assistant Manager



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 Info

Chantal Tougas

Administrative Secretary



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.

Aimee Info

Aimee Duchene

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!

Nathan Info

Nathan Wiese

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.

Mitch Info

Mitchell Ness

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. 

Liz Info

Liz Wiese

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.

Ben Info

Ben Underhill

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!

Jim Info

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.

Trisha Info

Trisha Demarais

District/Irrigation Technician



Trisha is our District/Irrigation Technician, focusing mainly on the Irrigation Scheduler Program. You'll find her out in the crop fields all summer long, checking soil moisture along with rain and irrigation amounts and giving local producers a second opinion on whether their crops need a little more water or not. She grew up in Raymond, Minnesota on a corn and soybean farm, and she studied Agribusiness at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. In her spare time, Trisha likes to go golfing, biking, fishing, hunting, and kayaking. 

MitchellJ Info

Mitchell Janson

District Technician



Mitchell is a District Technician in the Wadena SWCD office. He provides assistance with the Wetland Conservation Act, the County Feedlot Program, the County Ag Inspector Program, the Aquatic Species Program, the Buffer Program, and other programs of the East Otter Tail and Wadena SWCDs. His most important job is making sure the coffee pot is always full! He has a background in production agriculture and agronomy, and in his spare time likes to hunt, trap, fly, and bike.