staff contact page

 Andrew Slade small  

Andrew Slade 
District Manager

Phone: 218-834-8378

Andrew brings 25 years of conservation education, policy, and management experience in northeastern Minnesota to his position as District Manager. He has a BA in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota and a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. Andrew welcomes people to stop by the SWCD office to meet the staff and learn more about our work.

 Karen - Copy  Karen Tucker 
District Clerk

Phone: 218-834-8370

Karen is the Lake County SWCD administrative 
specialist. She is a senior member of the staff, handling 
invoicing, payments, grant reporting, and board meeting planning/scheduling.
       Derrick Cropped

 Derrick Passe 
Project Coordinator  

Phone: 218-834-8575

Derrick holds a Professional Engineering license 
and specializes in Aquatic Invasive Species Management. 
He was originally hired by the Kawishiwi Watershed 
Protection Project to assist with water quality projects. His 
work includes coordinating stream and lake monitoring
activities with volunteers, working to mitigate the spread 
of invasive species and overseeing engineered projects for 
the District. 

 Emily Cropped  Emily Nelson 
Conservation Outreach Coordinator

Phone: 218-834-8576       
Specializing in public relations, Emily is
the host of our radio show, Conservation Corner.
She works heavily with the public organizing events,
making local connections, and managing our Facebook
page. Emily focuses on outreach and education activities 
that support the Lake SWCD mission, and works closely 
with other District staff on Terrestrial Invasive Species 
Tim Byrns
District Forester
Phone: 218-834-8372

As Lake SWCD District Forester, Tim specializes 
in sustainable forestry management and planning. 
He works with landowners to sustainably plan for 
future activities on their forested land, connects 
landowners with state and federal cost-share resources, 
and provides consultation on forest health by appointment.

Darren Lilja 
Rainy River Headwaters Outreach Coordinator
Phone: 218-365-2033


Darren graduated from the U of M in Crookston
with a Bachelor’s degree in Water Resource Management. 
He helps Lake County SWCD fulfill AIS and water quality 
monitoring, outreach, and educational efforts within the 
Rainy River Headwaters watershed. Water Quality monitoring and 
public participation are essential components in maintaining
and improving aquatic ecosystems in rural areas. He
works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Biological Science 
Technician, and serves as a wildland firefighter.

 Courtney prfile oic  
Courtney Olson
Geographic Information System Specialist 

Courtney graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental 
Studies and Geography from Macalaster College. She
specializes in GIS, stormwater inventory, and mapping. 
Her tasks with the District include map-making,
collection, and management of spatial data.
 Sonja - Copy  

Sonja Smerud
Aquatic Invasives Species Coordinator

Sonja is the Lake County SWCD Aquatic Invasive Species 
specialist, focusing on outreach and education surrounding
inventory and management.