Mason-Lake Conservation District seeks new directors

LAKE COUNTY — The Mason-Lake Conservation District is a local entity of government that strives to be the natural resource stewardship hub for residents in Mason and Lake counties. The District team works on programs dealing with soil erosion, groundwater protection, river restoration and invasive species management, just to name a few.

A big election is coming up for the district, and now is the time to put your name in the hat. To be eligible for a director position, an individual must be a legal resident of Mason County or the west half of Lake County, and be 18 years of age or older. 

“We try to have our board be a good representation of our community,” said District Manager Jordan DeVries. “We like to have representation from both counties, men and women, and try to maintain representation from the farming community, environmental groups and educators. We’re looking for people who are passionate about working on conservation issues.”

To run for election, an individual must obtain a petition from the Conservation District office or website (, obtain five supporting signatures, and return the completed petition to the Conservation District office no later than Nov. 30, 2016. Voting will be held at the Conservation District annual meeting in February.

The Board of Directors is comprised of five individuals who are elected by local residents for a four-year term. Directors hold monthly board meetings, oversee the finances of the Conservation District, hire and manage staff and guide projects. Directors also volunteer to help out at events put on by the Conservation District throughout the year. Some of these events include spring and fall seedling sales, Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) clean-up day, Farm Tour and the Conservation District’s annual meeting and dinner banquet.

For the upcoming race, all five seats are up for election. Current directors Paul Bigford, Deb Del Zoppo and Tom Alway are all running for re-election, and there are two vacant seats. New candidates will have the option to run for terms ranging from one to four years.

“This year, candidates have the option to run for a short term as a ‘test run’ for a year,” according to office manager Dani McGarry. “This will help them to become more familiar with our operations and decide if they would like to run for a full term later.”

Murray Stall, a technician with district for over 25 years, says the qualities which make the best directors are simple. 

“Great directors aren’t necessarily those with a lot of experience but those that are interested in learning. If a person is motivated to be a part of their community and has an interest in conservation, they have the qualities of a good director.”

For more information, contact McGarry (231) 757-3707  or contact online at