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Ketchel becomes executive director of Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF) announces Lindsey Ketchel as its new executive director. Ketchel recently transitioned from her role as executive director for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. "With over 15 years of expe...

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation (LLAWF) announces Lindsey Ketchel as its new executive director.

Ketchel recently transitioned from her role as executive director for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

"With over 15 years of experience with environmental and land-use nonprofit organizations, Lindsey brings a level of experience that will be beneficial to the conservation movement in this region," said LLAWF Chair Maggie McGill.

Ketchel's passion is working to protect and conserve key ecological functions in rural areas.

"With so much attention given to large urban issues you sometimes feel like the underdog, but it's a role I really enjoy," she said. "It's so important that we as a state recognize the multiple benefits that good water quality, healthy forests, and undisturbed fish and wildlife habitat can provide. They fuel the economic engines for this north central region and our waters serve as the drinking water faucet for the cities."

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Paula West led the LLAWF for the past seven years. West galvanized strategic partnerships and leveraged resources from the state to protect critical shoreline habitats and key aquatic areas. These partnerships will enhance the organizational impact today and into the future, Ketchel said.

For example, the North Central Conservation Roundtable, which is composed of nonprofit, county, state and federal partners, is working to identify priority land conservation. Ketchel plans to continue using the best science and local relationships.

One of LLAWF's partners is The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota. Michael Pressman, director of Habitat Protection for the The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, said the foundation is instrumental in protecting the region's natural resources.

"The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation is a leader in moving conservation forward in the Mississippi Headwaters area," Pressman said. "They have shown tremendous initiative, creativity and enthusiasm. Paula West has done a great job building on the solid foundation created by their dedicated volunteers. We welcome Lindsey and know that her background, experience and style will be wonderful asset in moving the foundation to an even greater role in the region.

"As our freshwater resources come under more and more pressure, we need groups like Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation that deliver results that protect our water resources for our health, for our communities, for our economy and for nature," he said.

West said LLAWF will need to continue to focus its efforts on priority areas.

"With limited dollars we must invest in protecting the most critical areas," she said.

Ketchel looks forward to working in partnership with landowners to help them determine their best conservation options.

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"LLAWF's regional conservation work has been recognized by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which advises the Legislature on Outdoor Heritage Fund projects in its recommendation to further this important conservation work in north central Minnesota," she said. "Working with many partners, we want to continue to grow and expand our work conserving the places people love and enjoy in this beautiful region of Minnesota. Truly, it's a wonderful resource for everyone in Minnesota and future generations to enjoy."

Ketchel can be contacted at 218-675-5773 or LindseyK@leechlakewatershed.org . For more information on LLAWF's work, see www.leechlakewatershed.org .

Related Topics: LEECH LAKE
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