Culver picks Leopold, not Vonk, as DNR director

Governor-elect Chet Culver has decided against keeping Jeff Vonk on as director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  News release below the jump:


(Des Moines)  Today, Governor-elect Chet Culver announced that he is appointing Richard Leopold as the next Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“I am excited about appointing Rich to head up the Department of Natural Resources,” said Governor-elect Culver.  “This is an extremely important appointment and I feel Rich is the best candidate to protect Iowa’s environment and wildlife for future generations.  As a sportsman, father and fifth-generation Iowan, protecting our environment is something I do not take lightly; and I know that by working together and bringing people to the table we can do this.”

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is the government agency that leads Iowans in caring for their natural resources. It is responsible for maintaining state parks and forests, protecting the environment, and managing energy, fish, wildlife, and land and water resources in Iowa.

“I am honored that Governor-elect Culver has asked me to serve in this position,” said Richard Leopold.   “I look forward to working closely with the Culver and Judge administration as the new Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  I know that our philosophies are similar on sustainable expansion of clean renewable energy for the 21st century, addressing our state’s water quality concerns, working to secure adequate funding for protection and enhancement of our natural resources, and other key issues.”

Richard Leopold is the executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council, the nonprofit coalition made up of 76 organizations and over 600 individual members working to improve Iowa’s natural environment.  Richard has held a variety of biologist, naturalist, and administrative positions within the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Minnesota and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  From 1999-2002, Leopold served as the coordinator for IOWATER, Iowa’s statewide volunteer water-quality monitoring program.  He holds degrees in biology from Minnesota State University and Central Lakes College (Brainerd, Minnesota) and has just finished his master’s degree in natural resources ecology and management from Iowa State University.  Richard is active in many conservation organizations, is the past chairperson of the Iowa Conservation Education Council and is a past recipient of the Izaak Walton League of America’s “National Honor Roll Award.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.