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Dayton picks insider-outsider as DNR commissioner

ST. PAUL -- A research biologist and environmentalist will head the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Gov. Mark Dayton named Tom Landwehr as commissioner of the massive department that does everything from regulating hunting to protecting the environment.

Landwehr worked for the DNR in the 1980s and soon became the agency's wildlife manager and later its Wetland Wildlife Program leader. He has been director of the Minnesota and Iowa chapter of Ducks Unlimited and was No. 2 in the Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota Nature Conservancy chapter.

While working for the conservation groups, he lobbied the Legislature.

"By bringing together all those with a stake in the future of our state's resources, I hope to show that sound conservation and vital communities are a natural combination," Landwehr said. "We need to have a Department of Natural Resources that works for all Minnesotans."

Dayton noted Landwehr's insider's knowledge and outsider's perspective of the agency.

"I believe that Tom Landwehr has the years of experience in resource conservation and management, as well as 17 years of service in the DNR, to bring strong leadership to that vitally important agency," Dayton said. "No other agency of state government affects as many Minnesotans' lives directly as the DNR. At its best, the agency is viewed as a wise steward of our state's natural resources for the benefit of all our citizens and for future generations. Tom's mandate from me is to bring out the best in the agency and all of its people."

Landwehr, who has a wildlife management master's degree, served seven years on the Shoreview City Council.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.