Guardianship Council

In late 2007, the Freshwater Society convened a blue-ribbon advisory group, the Guardianship Council, to recommend action by the Freshwater Society Board of Directors to promote freshwater sustainability.

The council reviewed dozens of previous reports on water, commissioned briefing papers on a wide range of topics and directed the Freshwater staff to interview dozens of water researchers and policy-makers. The result was a 49-page report, Water Is Life: Protecting A Critical Resource For Future Generations. The report urged the Freshwater Board to focus the Society’s energies on three issues: groundwater sustainability, groundwater quality and surface water quality. The report, which the board endorsed and promulgated, was highly praised by several legislators, who said it contributed to the enactment in 2009 of a bill defining sustainability and funding a study of it. Click here to view the briefing papers the council studied.

The council is a multi-disciplinary team of natural resource experts and community leaders who examined the condition of Minnesota’s ground and surface waters. See below for more information about council members.

Groundwater Sustainability Workshops

Following the release of Water Is Life: Protecting A Critical Resource For Future Generations, the Freshwater Society joined the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center in sponsoring a series of workshops on the sustainability of ground water. The first workshop, held Nov. 11, 2008, drew about 70 water scientists and water managers. The second was held May 12, 2009, and drew a similar number of participants. More information about the first workshop.



Front Row (L to R): Lonni McCauley, Luella Goldberg, Paige Winebarger Back Row (L to R): Gene Merriam, Michael Osterholm, Ron Nargang, Jack Pichotta, Michael Kilgore, Robert Elde

Robert Elde, PhD,
has served as the dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota since 1995. During his tenure, Elde led efforts on many fronts, including creating the University’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, currently serving as chair of the executive committee.

Luella Gross Goldberg has a history of board leadership in both corporate and nonprofit sectors. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of ING Group, TCF Financial Corporation and Communication Systems, Inc. Current Trustee and past board chair of the University of Minnesota Foundation; current member of the Board of Overseers, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and Trustee and Chair Emerita, at Wellesley College.

Mike Kilgore, PhD, is an associate professor of natural resource economics and policy at the University of Minnesota. He also is the director of the University’s Center for Environmental and Natural Resources Policy; former Executive Director of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council and chair of the Governor’s Conservation Legacy Council.

Lonni McCauley served as the mayor of Coon Rapids, Minnesota. During her tenure she led many development and redesign efforts. She is the former owner of Events of Distinction and current executive director of the League of Women Voters Minneapolis.

Ronald Nargang previously served as the director of the Minnesota chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where he lead conservation and fundraising efforts including the management of 68 nature preserves. Prior to working for The Nature Conservancy, he served as deputy commissioner and Director of the Water Division for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Ron also served as Minnesota’s first Director of the Board of Water and Soil Resources.

Mike Osterholm, PhD is internationally recognized as a expert in Infectious Diseases and BioTerrorism. Dr. Osterholm is a former state Epidemiologist; currently the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity.

Jack Pichotta has been on the forefront of environmental education in Minnesota. He is the founder of Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota and is a member of its board of trustees.

Paige Winebarger is a board member of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and has served in numerous leadership roles in environmental conservation organizations, including as a founding board member of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota and currently serves as its board chair. She is currently President of the Minnesota Lands and has served on the board of the Minnesota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Prior to her retirement, Paige had served in the law and banking industry for the Federal Reserve System and Marquette Bancshares, Inc. where she was senior vice president and general counsel.


Briefing papers

As part of its research into Minnesota water issues, the Guardianship Council asked the Freshwater staff in late 2007 and early 2008 to prepare short briefing papers on a number of subjects: