Freshwater Society President Gene Merriam has been appointed to the Clean Water Council, which advises the Minnesota Legislature and governor on implementing the Clean Water Legacy Act.
Merriam, a former state Senator and former commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, was one of nine appointments and re-appointments to the council announced Aug. 26 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The council, created by state law in 2006, has responsibility for fostering cooperation between state agencies and private entities on water
issues; setting priorities for water testing, restoration and protection activities; encouraging scientific review of water programs; and developing citizen participation opportunities.
The council has 19 voting members, all appointed by the governor, plus non-voting members from four state agencies: the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
The other new appointments made by Pawlenty were John Howe and Todd L. Renville. He reappointed: David J. Bennett, Pamela Blixt, Scott F. Hoese, Steven Pedersen, Victoria Reinhardt and Deborah Swackhamer.
Bennett, of Burnsville, is a professional engineer whose expertise is in industrial wastewater treatment process design. He is a member of the board of directors and a past president of the Lake Superior Steelhead Association, secretary of the Lake Superior Foundation, and is the chair and a charter member of the Trout and Salmon Stamp Citizen Oversight Committee. Bennett has a master of science degree in engineering from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and a bachelor of science degree from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Bennett, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since 2007, is reappointed as the representative of fishing organizations to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Blixt, of Minneapolis, is the manager for public health preparedness for the City of Minneapolis. She has 30 years of management experience in non-profit and public administration. Blixt is vice president of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board of Managers, chair of the Metropolitan Association of Watershed Districts, a member of the Blue Water Association Board of Board of Directors, and a former board member of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts. Blixt, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since its inception in 2006, and current chair of the Citizen Engagement Subcommittee, is reappointed as the representative of watershed districts to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Hoese, of Mayer, owns and operates a dairy farm in Carver County. He currently serves as the chair of Carver County Farmers Union, a member of the Friends of the Minnesota Valley Board, and a member of Bongard’s Creamery Board of Directs. He is also a past president of the Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and a former member of the National Association of Conservation Districts. Hoese, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since its inception in 2006, is reappointed as a representative of a statewide farm organization to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Howe, of Red Wing, is the mayor of Red Wing. He is a reverse mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo Bank. In the past, Howe owned the local Sears Store, was chair of the Sears Dealer Store Council, was a corrections caseworker and counselor, and was a Sears district manager. His community activities include serving as a member of the Red Wing Conservation Club, Isaak Walton League, and Kiwanis. Howe earned his bachelor of arts degree from St. Cloud State University. Howe replaces John Greer on the Clean Water Council as a representative of cities. He is appointed to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Merriam, of Coon Rapids, is the president of the Freshwater Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people to value, conserve and protect all water resources. He was the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources from 2003 to 2007, and a state Senator from 1975 to 1997. He has also served on the boards of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Audubon Society, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Minnesota Parks and Trails Council, and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. Merriam replaces Brian Davis on the Clean Water Council as a representative of an environmental organization. He is appointed to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Pedersen, of Coon Rapids, is a senior staff scientist with the U.S. Combat Systems line of business at BAE Systems, Inc. He serves on the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Water Quality Subcommittee, was the Governor’s representative on the Great Lakes Basin Commission, served on a U.S. Water Resources Council Task Force as a member of the Minnesota Water Planning Board staff, managed the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources erosion control program, and assisted local soil and water conservation districts with their resource planning. Pedersen, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since its inception in 2006, is reappointed as a representative of a business organization to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Reinhardt, of St. Paul, is a member – and former chair – of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, representing Maplewood, North St. Paul, White Bear Lake, and the Hillcrest area of St. Paul. She is currently chair of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and vice chair of AMC’s Extension Committee. Reinhardt is also chair of the Ramsey/Washington Resource Recovery Board, and vice-chair of the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board for the Twin Cities region. Reinhardt, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since 2008 and was elected vice chair last year, is reappointed as the representative of metro area counties to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.
Renville, of Minneapolis, is the environmental resources practice group manager with URS Corporation in Minneapolis, and has over 20 years of expertise in environmental consulting. He is a member of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, Delta Waterfowl, Pheasants Forever, Lake Country Retriever Club, Ducks Unlimited, and Minnesota Waterfowl Association. Renville earned his MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, his bachelor of science degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and is a licensed professional geologist. Renville replaces Christopher Kolbert on the Clean Water Council as a representative of a statewide hunting organization to complete a four-year term that expires on January 3, 2011.
Swackhamer, of Stillwater, is the co-director of the Water Resources Center and a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She chairs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the International Joint Commission of the U.S. and Canada Science Advisory Board, was a member of the advisory group that provided stakeholder feedback on the Clean Water Legacy Act, and co-chaired the science advisory panel for the Lake Pepin Total Maximum Daily Load Study. She earned her doctorate degree in oceanography and limnology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Swackhamer, who has been a member of the Clean Water Council since its inception in 2006, is reappointed a representative of a state higher education system to a four-year term that expires on January 7, 2013.