News about the RRWMB and its associated stakeholders and projects
For 33 years, Dan Thul has been an invaluable resource for the Red River Watershed Management Board and its members. As Red River Coordinator for the RRWMB and Beltrami County Area Hydrologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Thul has answered lots of questions about county, city and township administered floodplain and shoreland management; made sure several dams are safe and operated responsibly; and issued plenty of permits for work in the bed of public waters, as well as appropriations of water from surface/ground water sources.
Before his more than three-decades-long career began, Thul almost chose to pursue a different direction. “I was originally planning to go into a fisheries or wildlife management career, but the councilors at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul talked me into a new program they had just started: Soil and Water Resource Management,” said Thul.
“My first job out of college was with BARR Engineering out of the cities,” Thul continued. “I worked with their engineers on flood insurance studies modeling watershed runoff and river flood flows. That's where I received the experience needed to become a hydrologist.”
When asked what his favorite projects have been when working with the RRWMB, Thul could think of several, but one in particular: the Moose River Impoundment Project in the Red Lake Watershed District. “This is a fantastic project which included coordination with the DNR, Section of Wildlife to achieve, since it is located entirely on a State Wildlife Management Area. Charlie Anderson was the engineer on the project and he taught me how to work with people to get good multipurpose projects developed,” Thul said.
“In the early years, I spent much more time working directly with all the individual Watershed Districts and got to know most of the Managers during that time. I have developed a real appreciation for the work they do on behalf of their constituents. They are one dedicated group of individuals,” said Thul.
In June, the RRWMB held a retirement party at the Evergreen Eating Emporium in Thief River Falls to celebrate Thul’s career. Among those in attendance was Don Ogaard, the first chairman of the RRWMB. “Don was an inspirational leader and because of his direction and support, I owe my successful career mostly to him,” said Thul.
Thul is happy to state that his choice of career has been an ideal fit for him, and has truly appreciated working with a wide range of water professionals. As he put it, “I wouldn't have traded my career for any other. I grew up in the cities and always wanted to ‘Get Out!’ and work in the rural countryside. As it turned out, it was a great move…especially because of the great people that live in the Red River Valley.”