Interim Director Appointed For Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Interim Director Appointed For Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver names Pat Boddy to take over for the departed Rich Leopold, to head the agency that enforces state water quality and manure management regulations, among other things, affecting farmers and other Iowans.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver recently appointed Pat Boddy interim director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She served as deputy director the past two years and succeeds Richard Leopold who recently resigned to take a job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Minneapolis.

Boddy is a licensed engineer and a former director of the Polk County Conservation Board in central Iowa. She has an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. The also has an undergraduate degree in ag engineering and a Master's degree in water resources from Iowa State University, and a certificate in public management from Drake University.

Leopold resigns as Iowa DNR chief to take federal job

Last week, Leopold has resigned his position as Iowa DNR chief to become Midwest assistant regional director for science applications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He had been head of the Iowa DNR since January 2007. Leopold previously headed the nonprofit Iowa Environmental Council. Appointed in 2007 by Gov. Culver to head DNR, Leopold pushed for tighter controls on agricultural pollution. He was widely supported by environmental groups but was less popular with farm interests such as the Iowa Farm Bureau.

However, the nonprofit Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement group considered Leopold too soft on farm interests. The ICCI organization was very vocal, criticizing Leopold for not aggressively pushing Culver on environmental issues, particularly for not trying to convince Culver to push for local control of hog confinements in each county. Leopold and Culver, rather than touch that hot potato, let existing statewide regulations of hog confinements stand.

Commenting on Leopold's resignation as director of the Iowa DNR last week, "Rich Leopold did not stand up to Farm Bureau and the other corporate ag groups," says Hugh Espey, ICCI's director. "More often than not, he sided with industry over the interests of everyday people and the environment."

Culver said, in introducing Pat Boddy as the interim DNR chief: "Pat Boddy is an experienced member of Iowa's natural resources community who brings expertise in key policy areas including agriculture, water resources management and parks and recreation to the helm of the Department of Natural Resources. I am very confident in her ability to successfully chart a course for this important agency that helps protect the land, lakes, rivers and streams we all love. She is also making history as the first woman to serve as a director for the department."

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