Harold Klaege, Salina, to lead 11-year-old state organization
TOPEKA -- In December, the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams' (KAWS) board of directors announced the appointment of its first executive director, Harold L. Klaege of Salina.

“With the hiring of Harold Klaege in the new executive director position, we will take KAWS to a new level of accomplishment,” said Charles Barden, board chairman. “And KAWS owes a debt of gratitude to Tim Christian, who provided tremendous leadership as he helped grow the organization over the past eight years.”

Klaege recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), where he served as the state conservationist for Kansas. As state conservationist, he was responsible for the management and direction of all NRCS operations in the state. A native of Martin, Ohio, Klaege grew up on a working farm. He attended Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering in 1971.

Klaege will become the third person to lead KAWS. Christian had served as state coordinator for KAWS under contract since August 1999. Paula Ford held the first part-time KAWS position from 1998 to August 1999. Klaege is the first full-time organization employee. KAWS currently has eight other contractors serving in a variety of support positions.

Klaege began his 37-year career with NRCS as a student trainee in 1970 in Defiance, Ohio. Later he served as a hydrologist in Columbus, Ohio, until 1975. Klaege relocated to Lincoln, Neb., in 1975 and held several positions in the Nebraska NRCS state office, including planning engineer, design engineer, area engineer, water resources planning leader, and assistant state conservationist. In 2000, he accepted a position in NRCS’ s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., as the national watershed program leader. In 2002, Klaege became the eighth state conservationist for Kansas.

KAWS works with local people to create, protect and restore the state’s wetland and stream resources. Over its 11-year existence, the organization has helped educate thousands of adults and students about the state’s wetland and stream resources, their condition, and how to protect and improve them. As part of that process, KAWS has completed over 300 demonstration projects expending nearly $5 million since 2003 in nearly two thirds of Kansas' counties. KAWS provides its services through 12 local chapters that cover the state.

Klaege can be reached by writing P.O. Box 2112, Salina, KS 67402-2112, by phone at 785-820-1619, by fax at 866-658-4535, or by email at hklaege@kaws.org. Go online at www.kaws.org to find out more about KAWS and wetlands and stream conservation in Kansas.