Burgum appoints seven members to State Water Commission

<< All News Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 04:30 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed seven members to the State Water Commission, bringing a broad variety of experience in flood protection, water supply and other water issues to the board.

The nine-member State Water Commission consists of Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring as an ex-officio member, and seven members appointed by the governor, with one member each from the seven major drainage basins in North Dakota.

“Water is a critical component of everything we do in North Dakota, from daily life and recreation to business, agriculture and industry. These commissioners possess the backgrounds and breadth of expertise to manage and develop our water resources in a way that improves the quality of life and strengthens the economy for the benefit of all North Dakotans,” Burgum said.

The drainage basins and their appointed commissioners are:

  • Mouse River: Jason Zimmerman of Minot is a business banking officer who served as Minot’s flood recovery coordinator following the 2011 flood. He currently serves as a member of the Ward County Water Resource Board. Zimmerman has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Minnesota State University Moorhead. His term expires June 30, 2023.


  • Upper Missouri: Mark Owan of Williston is a third-generation farmer who currently serves as president of the Williams Rural Water District Board of Directors and chairman of the Western Area Water Supply Authority, which provides water to about 60,000 rural and municipal customers. Owan has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota. His term expires June 30, 2021.


  • Lower Missouri: Leander “Russ” McDonald of Bismarck is president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck and former chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation. He previously served on the Devils Lake Outlet Advisory Board. McDonald has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology and a Ph.D. in educational foundations and research from the University of North Dakota. His term expires June 30, 2019.


  • Devils Lake: Richard Johnson has been mayor of Devils Lake since 2010 and is chairman of the North Dakota Water Coalition. He’s been involved with fighting flooding in the Devils Lake region for more than 20 years. Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Mayville State University and is retired. His term expires on June 30, 2019.


  • James River: Katie Andersen owns a dry cleaning business and has been mayor of Jamestown since 2010, where she has been involved in a variety of water topics including flood control, storm water management, drainage and wastewater treatment. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from South Dakota State University. Her term expires June 30, 2019.


  • Lower Red River: Michael Anderson of Hillsboro is a farmer, former banker and vice president of the Traill Rural Water Board of Directors. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on management and finance from Texas Christian University. His term expires June 30, 2021.


  • Upper Red River: Matthew Pedersen of Valley City is a certified public accountant and city commissioner whose portfolio includes flood protection, finance and planning and zoning. He currently chairs the Valley City Permanent Flood Protection Task Force. Pedersen has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His term expires June 30, 2023.


The governor expressed his gratitude to the outgoing State Water Commission members for their more than 100 years of combined service to the state. Their service in promoting water resource management and addressing flood protection, water supply and other water issues is greatly appreciated.

The State Water Commission has the authority to investigate, plan, construct and develop water-related projects, and serves as a mechanism to financially support those efforts throughout North Dakota. The State Engineer serves as the commission’s executive officer, overseeing the staff who carry out the commission’s work.

The commission meets six times a year, and its meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for 1-5 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Lower Level Conference Room at 900 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck.

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