Doug Bos receives National Recovery Champion award

LUVERNE -- Doug Bos, assistant director of the Rock County Land Management Office, is the recipient of one of 16 National Recovery Champion awards from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

LUVERNE -- Doug Bos, assistant director of the Rock County Land Management Office, is the recipient of one of 16 National Recovery Champion awards from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The award was presented to Bos by USFWS Region 3 Director Robyn Thorson during the Rock County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

The Recovery Champion awards recognize outstanding contributions made toward recovering threatened and endangered species across the U.S. Each year, eight USFWS employees and eight non-USFWS employees are selected for the honor.

Bos was the non-USFWS recipient in Region 3, while John Christian, a USFWS employee at Fort Snelling, was the other recipient from the eight Upper Midwest states that make up that region.

While humbled by the recognition, Bos said the award wouldn't have been possible without the help of his six co-workers in the Land Management office.


"We have a small staff, and it's a team effort -- from working with producers to correct feedlot runoff to nutrient management planning for manure application," Bos said.

In Rock County, the Land Management Office comprises the county's environmental office and Soil and Water Conservation District through a joint powers agreement. Its efforts include everything from planning and zoning, feedlots, hazardous waste and wetlands to planting terraces, waterways, buffers and trees.

"We're kind of the liaison between state and federal requirements and our local producers and citizens," Bos said. "We bridge the gap."

Bos, who has worked with the agency for 12 years, was recognized for the work done within the county to protect the habitat for the Topeka Shiner, a small minnow included on the endangered species list.

Nominated by Lori Stevenson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office in Waite Park, the following was written about Bos on the Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation District Web site: "His efforts have been instrumental in bringing county feedlots into compliance with the state's feedlot rules, achieving reduced levels of runoff that are positively affecting water quality and habitat of this endangered native fish. Bos' leadership has brought together government agencies and private enterprises to leverage each partner's efforts to achieve greater protection for the Topeka Shiner and other aquatic species. It is in large part through his ability to attain this level of cooperation among all stakeholders that the Topeka Shiner is coming back from the brink of extinction."

The Topeka Shiner is found throughout watershed districts in Rock and Nobles counties, including both the Rock River and Beaver Creek.

"It's doing really well," Bos said of the minnow. In fact, the Topeka Shiner population is doing much better here than in the region where it received its namesake, Topeka, Kan.

Bos attributes the success of the Topeka Shiner to steps the agency has taken with landowners to eliminate soil erosion from crop fields, conduct streambank restoration projects and plant grass buffers.


"(We) also do a fair amount of water sampling and water monitoring in conjunction with working on our TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load of pollutant for water quality standards)," Bos said.

While some people see the Topeka Shiner as a bane for progress in the rural area -- it has been blamed for halting some livestock expansions -- Bos said the minnow has also created some positives, the big one being extra money.

"The one thing it does provide us is some federal and state dollars to work on conservation projects," Bos said. "For instance, the Rock River is listed on the EPA impaired waters list, and one of the listings is turbidity. Some of the fixes for turbidity are some of the same fixes needed for Topeka Shiner habitat.

"Both sediment and fecal matter from manure cause the water to be cloudy, and that inhibits the Topeka Shiner and affects their habitat for spawning," he added.

Bos said both state and federal agencies have cooperated with Rock County on the environmental projects.

"Sometimes when you do this job, you think that it doesn't make that much difference, but it takes a continued effort to make the improvements," Bos said.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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