Woods to lead Freshwater

Steve Woods
Steve Woods

Steve Woods, an assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, has been named to replace Gene Merriam as the Freshwater Society’s top leader.

Woods was chosen by the Freshwater Board of Directors to succeed Merriam, who announced last spring that he planned to retire by the end of this year.

“We are thrilled to have Steve joining our organization,” said Stu Grubb, the Freshwater board chair. “After an extensive search process, we found the right person.  Steve’s leadership and experience in water resource policy, management, and engineering will be vital to continuing and improving the programs and activities of the Freshwater Society.”

Woods, a civil engineer with extensive experience in water conservation and pollution prevention, will be Freshwater’s executive director.

Beginning in December, he will assume Merriam’s role in executing Freshwater policy on key water issues, especially those dealing with groundwater sustainability and the pollution of lakes and streams by runoff from farm fields and city streets.

He will be the Society’s point person in relations with state and local policy-makers and with other environmental organizations. Merriam was a long-time state Senator and commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources before joining the Freshwater Society.

“The Freshwater Society had a major impact on my professional development in the1980s,” Woods said. “It is an honor to succeed someone of Gene’s stature. Minnesota has realized a number of water management successes in urban and forested areas. The Society’s current work on groundwater and agricultural runoff is needed to address areas where we are not meeting expectations.”

Woods also will assume some of the duties of Joan Nephew, Freshwater’s current executive director who will begin a phased retirement in 2014.