Get To Know The SCD

Our Staff: Hard working and down to earth. That is another thing you can expect from us! Let our staff visit you in the field or at the kitchen table. Our door is always open to you and we are just a phone call away.

Want to work with us?

Meet The Team

Yari Villanueva

District Watershed Technician

Yari has worked for the district in the past as a tree planter and spray operator, but in 2019 she joined the team in a career position. Her duties include providing technical and financial support to residents, especially the landowners and operators within the Park River Watershed, monitoring water quality and algal blooms at Homme Dam, and managing a program for watershed producers that includes the Walsh County No-Till/Strip-Till Demonstration sites. (See ‘Projects’ page)

Yari brings an excellent background with her education and experience from Valley City State University in Biology, Fisheries & Wildlife, and Environmental Science.

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Sarah Johnston

Conservation District Manager

Sarah joined the team back in 2014 and was promoted to lead the team in 2018. Sarah’s father is a 4th generation farmer in Richland County, N.D. whom she has learned many practical things, but most importantly, how to take care of the soils that provide for us. Sarah and her husband Jason hobby farm in eastern Walsh County. Sarah graduated from Wahpeton in 1999, and earned a bachelors degree in Natural Resources Management from NDSU in 2010, and a Master of Science in Range Science from NDSU in 2017.

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The Board of Supervisors

We are governed by a Board of Supervisors dedicated to conservation partnerships with producers. Each Spring we hold an Annual Soil Conservation District Banquet which all of the public is encouraged to attend. Last year, we had the pleasure of having Mary Podoll State Conservationist for NRCS – N.D. as our headline speaker. Mary has been very supportive of Walsh County and the strategic planning process that is underway in the county to identify resource needs and program needs.

Annual Meeting 2019. Pictured: L to R, Front Row:Heather Szklarski (appointed thru Dec. 2020), Linda Osowski (appointed thru Dec. 2020), Mary Podoll, NRCS State Conservationist; Sarah Johnston, Conservation District Manager. Back Row L to R: Justin Zahradka (Elected until 2022); Jay Skorheim (Elected until 2024); Julius Wangler (Elected until 2020).

Elections take place during the County Election. Election information is available from the county auditor. Any person interested in learning more about our board is welcome to attend our monthly meetings held the 2nd Thursday of each month at the SCD office starting at 8:00 am.  These meetings are open to the public and include regular attendees from other agencies, including Extension and NRCS, as well as commissioner Karen Anderson.

History of The Soil Conservation District

There used to be two conservation districts in Walsh County, and that continued until the end of the 20th century. This map was published as part of the 10th Anniversary Report provided by the Three Rivers Soil Conservation District in cir. 1952. The board was based out of Grafton. The rest of the county not shown on this map was part of the Walsh County Soil Conservation District, which was governed by its own board and based out of Park River.

Click here to download a PDF of the full Three Rivers SCD report from 1952.

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