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Soil & Water Conservation division to join Parks & Recreation department

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners voted today to approve the final administrative actions necessary to proceed with the transfer of duties and authorities of the Ramsey Conservation District to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners.

The action follows Governor Dayton's signing of legislation on May 19 to discontinue the Ramsey Conservation District and transfer assets, contracts and employees to Ramsey County. 

Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough said, “We are confident that we have the long-term organizational stability and resources to continue and expand the valuable programming and services that the skilled Conservation District staff provide to our community. We also look forward to continuing coordination with the Board of Water and Soil Resources and appreciate their assistance and support.”

The transfer effective date is July 1, 2018.

In preparation, Ramsey County assembled a multi-department team - including Ramsey Conservation District employees - to work collaboratively to integrate Conservation District functions into the county’s organizational structure. The outcome of that process is for the Ramsey Conservation District to become the Soil & Water Conservation division of the Parks & Recreation department. Both groups have a natural resource-based mission which aligns well with the county's goal of environmental stewardship.

The Conservation District conserves and enhances natural resources by providing technical, financial, and educational support to residents, property owners, and state, local, and federal governmental agencies and environmental organizations. All Conservation division staff will continue working from the current Arden Hills office location.

Jon Oyanagi, Parks & Recreation Director, said, “We welcome the addition of this important work to the parks department and anticipate a smooth transition for the team. Most importantly, the mission and workplan will continue uninterrupted and we are fully committed to effective water and related land resource management within the county."

Partners, including the Board of Soil and Water Resources and Minnesota Association of Water Conservation Districts, will continue to work with the same employees during this transition. The Parks & Recreation department oversees Ramsey County’s 6,500 acres of parkland and recreational facilities, manages natural resources and facilitates recreational programming.

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:21 a.m.