lake county logo

Our Staff

Lake County SWCD staff are here to help you address your natural resource concerns. Please feel free to contact staff directly using the directory below. General inquiries can be sent to

Karen Tucker, District Manager
  Karen Tucker
Acting District Manager
Phone: (218) 834-8370

Karen is a senior member of the staff, and she handles
invoicing, payments, grant reporting, and board meeting
planning and scheduling. 
 Derrick Passe, Project Coordinator  
Derrick Passe

Project Coordinator
Phone: (218) 834-8575

Derrick holds a Professional Engineering license and
specializesin Aquatic Invasive Species management. He
was originally hiredby the Kawishiwi Watershed Protetion
Project to assist withwater quality projects. His work
includes coordinating stream and lake monitoring with
volunteers, working to mitigate thespread of invasive
species, and overseeing engineering projects. 

Emily Nelson, Conservation Outreach Coordinator
Emily Nelson

Conservation Outreach Coordinator
Phone: (218) 834-8514

Emily holds a BS in Conservation Biology from the
Universityof Minnesota, and an MS in Wildlife Ecology
from the Universityof Oulu. She is the host of our radio
program on KTWH, Conservation Corner. Her focus is
on civic engagement andoutreach that support our
mission. She also conducts waterquality monitoring.

TimByrns - Copy
Tim Byrns

District Forester
Phone: (218) 834-8372

Tim specializes in sustainable forestry managaement and
planning. He works with landowners to create plans to 
sustainably manage their forested lands, connects
landowners with state and federal cost-share resources,
and provides consultations on forest health by appointment. 

Darren Lilja, Rainy River Headwaters Outreach Coordinator

Darren Lilja

Rainy River Headwaters Outreach

Phone: (218) 365-2033

Darren is based in Ely, with his office located at the 
Kawishiwi Ranger Station. He holds a Bachelor's in 
Water Resources Management from the University of 
Minnesota in Crookston. He carries out aquatic invasive
species and water quality monitoring, outreach, and 
educational efforts within the Rainy River Headwaters.
He also works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Biological
Science Technician, and he serves as a wildland 

Sonja Smerud, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator
  Sonja Smerud
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator
Phone: (218) 834-8513

Sonja focuses on outreach and education surrounding
the inventory and management of aquatic invasive 
species in Lake County.

Mackenzie Hogfeldt, Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator

Mackenzie Hogfeldt 

Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator
Phone: (218) 834-8513

Mackenzie focuses on outreach and education, 
surveying, and treatment of terrestrial invasive species.