Southern Regional DNR leader Frederickson retires

NEW ULM — After a half century of public service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Southern Region Director Dennis Frederickson retired Feb. 6.

Former DNR Grassland Program Coordinator Scott Roemhildt, a distinguished person in his own right, became the new DNR southern region director.

Frederickson took over the DNR southern region in February 2011. Since then, southern region accomplishments included strategic land acquisitions, seven times regional host of the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener, the statewide pheasant summit and the expansion of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd at Minneopa State Park in Mankato.

Frederickson is also a former state senator who represented Lyon County from 1981 to 2010.

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some very smart and passionate people through the years,” Frederickson said. “I’m proud to have worked with them and share in their many accomplishments…We added 20,000 acres of habitat land, mostly to existing wildlife management areas, good resources for hunters and non-game wildlife, pollinators and protecting ground water and wells.”

Frederickson said a number of wildlife management lakes were designated, and variable water level control structures were installed, to improve wetland water quality and waterfowl habitat.

His public service began decades ago with his becoming a U.S. Navy pilot.

Frederickson served five years Navy active duty and three years in the Naval Air Reserve. Most of his flying time was in UH2 helicopters. His tour of duty included the Arctic, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black Sea and the Caribbean. Upon honorable discharge, he returned to Redwood County to farm.

He served as a Redwood County commissioner before running for the Minnesota State Senate, where he served 30 years, including time on the Environment and Natural Resources Committees.

“I’ve enjoyed my passion of protecting and enhancing our natural resources,” Frederickson said. “I’m thankful DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr asked me to serve as a regional director. I’ve truly enjoyed my time working with him and many others committed to good management of natural resources for all Minnesotans.”

Frederickson, who is married to his wife of 56 years Marj, said he looks forward to spending more time with family and friends, fishing and boating.

Roemhildt, a Waseca County native, was named 2017 Wildlife Professional of the Year by Pheasants Forever.

The award honors agency wildlife or habitat professionals who work hand-in-hand with Pheasants Forever for the benefit of pheasant and other wildlife populations.

Most recently, Roemhildt managed the DNR’s Walk-In Access program, which he will continue to lead.

The program pays landowners to allow public hunting on their private land. Since it began in 2011, the program grew to include more than 23,000 acres across 46 Minnesota counties.

Roemhildt also oversees the Roadsides for Wildlife program, is the DNR liaison with the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener and helps with DNR grassland communications.