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September 11, 2012

MADISON - Wisconsin's top water official has been elected to chair the Great Lakes Commission (exit DNR), the interstate compact agency that promotes the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water and related natural resources of the Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence River.

Its members include the eight Great Lakes states with associate member status for the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec.

Ken Johnson, administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources water division, brings to his role as chair more than 30 years of working in -- and leading -- water-related programs for the DNR. He oversees more than 600 professional DNR staff working to provide safe drinking water and protect groundwater, to manage state fish populations and provide fishing opportunities, and to manage surface waters programs across the state.

"Wow! What a great honor it is to be the chair of the GLC," Johnson says. "As a lifelong resident of Wisconsin growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, this is dear to my heart.

"The commission does great work and important work and I look forward to working with other members of the commission. I want to thank the previous chair, Jim Tierney, for his gracious service and hope I can serve as well as he did."

Johnson, a civil and environmental engineer with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, started working for the DNR in 1976 on public and private drinking water system issues. He later reviewed and processed hydrologic and hydraulic analyses of bridges, dams and other water resources projects before leaving DNR in the 1980s to join the private sector as a consulting engineer.

Johnson returned to public service in 1985 and has since held a variety of managerial positions involving water regulation permit, watershed, and most recently, as the supervisor of 100 staff in south central Wisconsin who worked on water-related issues.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ken Johnson, 608-264-6278

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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