Harold Klaege, Salina, to lead 11-year-old state organization

The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) has its first executive director. The organization’s board of directors announced the appointment of Harold L. Klaege, effective this month.

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

Klaege recently retired from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 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 serve KAWS as lead staff replacing Christian, Barden said. Christian served as state coordinator for KAWS as a contractor since August 1999. Paula Ford held the first part-time KAWS position from 1998 to August 1999. Klaege is the first organization employee. KAWS currently has eight other contractors serving in a variety of support positions.

He 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, Nebraska, 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. Organized in 1996, KAWS is a 501.C.3. educational public charity reaching a broad spectrum of individuals, groups, and governments to improve the wetlands and streams they own or control. Over its 11-year span, the organization has helped educate thousands of adults and students about the state’s invaluable 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 that showcase sound treatments and management. KAWS provides its services through 12 local chapters that cover the entire state.

Klaege can be reached at P.O. Box 2112, Salina, KS 67402-2112, or call him at 785-820-1619, fax to 866-658-4535, or e-mail him at hklaege@kaws.org. Visit the KAWS website to find out more about KAWS and wetlands and stream conservation in Kansas.