Email Us

East Otter Tail SWCD - Staff

SWCD Staff Members

Back row left to right: Mitch Janson (Wadena office), Chantal Tougas, Anne Oldakowski (Wadena office), Liz Wiese, Aimee Duchene, Darren Newville

Front Row left to right: Kristi Rorah, Jim Lahn, Nathan Wiese, Tanner Schmitz, Trisha Demarais, Ben Underhill, Hayley Courneya (2021 intern)

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 black lab, Drake. Chantal enjoys quilting in her spare time and also loves to garden.

Nathan Info

Nathan Wiese

Irrigation/Nutrient Management Specialist



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.

Liz Info

Liz Wiese

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.

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.

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. 


Tanner Schmitz

District Technician



Tanner is a District Technician at the EOT SWCD. He is responsible for Drill Rental, Custom Seeding and Seed Sales, and the Tree Planting and Sales program. He has a background in Wildlife Management, and spends most of his free time hunting, fishing, and working on his family’s hunting properties.


Kristi Rorah

Administrative - Education & Outreach Assistant



Kristi is our Administrative, Education and Outreach Assistant. She provides administrative support for both the East Otter Tail and Wadena SWCDs, as well as assisting with our education and outreach efforts. She enjoys working on her family's land north of Perham in Becker County in addition to being outdoors gardening, mountain biking, and skiing.


Alyson Levig

District Technician



Alyson is a District Technician in the Wadena SWCD office, assisting with the County Ag Inspector Program, Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Irrigation Scheduling, and Surface Water Monitoring. She grew up in Fairmont, Minnesota on a corn, soybean, and hog farm, and obtained a degree at Northwestern College in Iowa for Ecology and Writing. In her spare time Alyson loves to write, hike, garden, and kayak with her husband Jacob and their adventurous red lab.


Don Bajumpaa

Watershed Coordinator/Planner



Don is our Watershed Coordinator and Planner. Don works with multiple watershed plans in addition to addressing local water concerns. Don grew up in the area and has returned home. Don brings a wealth of conservation experience, most recently as the manager of the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District, to his position.