Minnesotans interested in influencing natural resources issues at the local level are encouraged to run for Supervisor of their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Conservation districts are a political subdivision of the state and are governed by a board of five elected supervisors. Minnesota has 90 SWCDs which cover the entire state and generally follow county lines. Otter Tail County has two districts because of its size.
Supervisor positions are filled through general elections. The vote will be held on Nov. 4 this year. Individuals who wish to be on the ballot must file a Minnesota Affidavit of Candidacy at the County Auditor’s office along with the filing fee between May 20 and June 3.
Candidates must be at least 21 years old when they will assume office and must be a resident of the nominating district at least 30 days before the general election. Supervisor candidates must be living in and file from a nominating district. Candidates are elected at large on the ballot.
Supervisors serve a four year term and generally meet once a month. They have five main responsibilities: setting overall policy and long-term objectives for their district based on needs; develop their district’s annual and comprehensive plans; approve landowner cost-share contracts; work with SWCD staff to see that policies and plans are implemented, and represent the district at various state and local levels.
Supervisors are not paid a salary; however, they do receive a per diem for attending meetings and are reimbursed for expenses.
East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District has two supervisors whose terms are expiring: Lyle Dittmann, New York Mills, and Marion Gill, Perham.
Both are slated for re-election if they choose to file again. Dittmann represents Butler, Paddock, Homestead, Blowers, Newton and Bluffton Townships. Gill represents Gorman, Corliss, Perham, Pine Lake, Rush Lake and Otto Townships.
Anyone interested learning more about the position should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.
In the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District interested parties can contact Darren Newville, District Manager, at (218) 346-4260.
In September, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts will post all SWCD candidates on their web site at http://www. maswcd.org.