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April 19, 2011

MADISON - A 32-year veteran of the Department of Natural Resources has been appointed to lead the agency's Water Division staff, who work to provide safe drinking water, keep lakes, rivers, and streams clean, conserve habitat for fish and wildlife, and sustain and improve fisheries in a state where nearly half the adults say they fish.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp announced the appointment of Ken Johnson today, praising him as an excellent career employee she needs on her management team.

"Ken's knowledge of water program on-the-ground implementation and management will be invaluable as we streamline permitting to accommodate shrinking government resources and efforts to grow jobs while enhancing environmental protection," Stepp said.

As administrator, Johnson will oversee more than 600 professional staff working in drinking and groundwater, fisheries management and surface waters programs across the state.

Johnson, a civil and environmental engineer with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, began his career with DNR in 1976 working on northeast Wisconsin public and private drinking water systems to help carry out the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

In 1977, Johnson joined DNR's central office in Madison where he reviewed and processed hydrologic and hydraulic analyses of bridges, dams and other water resources projects. Johnson left DNR to serve as a consulting engineer in the mid-1980s but returned in l985 to serve as deputy chief of the Water Regulation permit program. He was promoted to Lower Rock River Basin Leader in 1996 and then promoted to Water Leader in 2005. In that job, Johnson supervised about 100 employees working in all phases of DNR's water programs in south central Wisconsin.

Johnson succeeds Bruce Baker, who retired last month after 40 years of government service. Johnson begins his new position immediately.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ken Johnson (608) 264-6278

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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