Connie Ova Appointed to State Water Commission

9 Aug 2021



August 5, 2021

Department of Water Resources/State Water Commission Update 

On August 1st, the Office of the State Engineer officially became the Department of Water Resources. The Governor has named Dr. Andrea Travnicek as the Director of the department. Director Travnicek previously served as the Director of Parks and Recreation and has a long background in water and natural resource management, including a stint with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Additionally, the Governor announced the reappointment of the following SWC members:

  • Michael Anderson of Hillsboro, who represents the Lower Red River Basin.
  • Richard “Dick” Johnson of Devils Lake, who represents the Devils Lake Basin.
  • Jay Volk of Bismarck, who represents the Lower Missouri River Basin.
  • Jason Zimmerman of Minot, who represents the Mouse River Basin.

The following were appointed as new members on the SWC:

  • James Odermann, a Belfield rancher, who will represent the Little Missouri, Upper Heart and Upper Cannonball River basins.
  • Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., who will represent the James River Basin.
  • April Walker, consulting firm owner and former Fargo city engineer, who will represent the Upper Red River Basin.
  • Gene Veeder, a McKenzie County rancher and board member for the McKenzie County Job Development Authority, who will represent the Upper Missouri River Basin.

The SWC met on Friday, July 30th to officially approve Direct Travnicek’s appointment as the Director as well as approve additional funding for the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program. The SWC also approved funding for a new program within the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to cost share on water transportation activities.

The next SWC meeting is August 12th at 1pm.

State Revolving Fund Program Request

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality is soliciting information for drinking water projects that need financial assistance for construction in 2022 and later years. The DWSRF program is currently developing the 2022 Intended Use Plan (IUP), and a key component of this plan is the comprehensive project priority list. Only projects that are on this list can be considered for DWSRF assistance. Projects not yet on this list must submit a completed ranking questionnaire. Projects on the previous year’s list must submit a completed update questionnaire to remain on the list. The deadline to complete the requested questionnaires is October 1st.

Questionnaires can be found at:

WOTUS Listening Sessions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has announced several listening sessions scheduled for the month of August to gather input for the latest rewriting of the Waters of the US rule (WOTUS). There has been contention, leading to new iterations of the WOTUS rule from different administrations, over the scope of waters that should be covered by federal regulation and what those regulations should look like. The schedule for listening sessions is:

  • August 18, 2021 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern – Registration
  • August 23, 2021 from 1-3 p.m. Eastern – Registration
  • August 25, 2021 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern (for small entities) – Registration
  • August 26, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. Eastern – Registration
  • August 31, 2021 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern – Registration

Irrigation Cost-Share Request for Information

The North Dakota Irrigation Association has learned that there is the potential for funding available from the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for updates or improvement to existing irrigation systems to maximize utilization of water. A similar project was funded this year which provided assistance to sixteen North Dakota irrigators. In 2021, there were more applications than NRCS had funding for. In order to assemble a strong application and request an appropriate amount of funding, the Irrigation Association is gathering information from irrigators that may be interested in applying for funding this fall. If you are interested in learning more about this potential funding opportunity, please reach out to Dani Hanson with the North Dakota Irrigation Association at or 701-223-4615.

Upcoming Events

Golf Scramble, August 9, Carrington

            To register contact Stacy at 701-652-3194 or

Managing the Mighty Mouse, August 10, Minot

            To register, click here.

Save the Dates For:

Upper Missouri Water Association’s Conference, October 25-26, Cadillac Jack’s, Deadwood, SD

58th Annual Joint North Dakota Water Convention and Irrigation Workshop, December 7-10, Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, Bismarck