If you like water, go have a beer… in Sioux Falls this evening with the Friends of the Big Sioux River! These clean-water warriors are gathering at 6 p.m. at Monk’s House of Ale Repute to honor Jay Gilbertson as their 2017 Friend of the River. Here’s FBSR’s explanation of the award:
Gilbertson is manager of the East Dakota Water Development District, a regional water conservation and water management government agency based in Brookings, South Dakota and covering much of the Big Sioux River basin. He is widely acknowledged as an expert in matters related to the Big Sioux River and water resources in South Dakota.
In announcing the award, Friends of the Big Sioux River described Gilbertson as a scientist, an educator and a significant leader in efforts to protect the Big Sioux River. Gilbertson’s initiatives regarding ongoing testing for nitrates in the Big Sioux River and its aquifer are especially important, noted the organization. Gilbertson’s successful efforts to improve water quality in Skunk Creek, a major Big Sioux River tributary, were also highlighted.
“In his position as manager of the East Dakota Water Development District,” said Dana Loseke, Sioux Falls, chair of Friends of the Big Sioux River, “Jay Gilbertson has always worked for the best use, conservation of, and the long term protection of the Big Sioux River and its aquifer for the public good.”
Gilbertson, a Minnesota native, came to South Dakota in 1984 after earning a Master’s degree in geology at the University of Minnesota/Duluth. For ten years he worked as a scientist and researcher for the South Dakota Geological Survey investigating glacial geology and water resources in the state. In 1994 he was selected to lead the East Dakota Water Development District, and he has served in that position since then.
The award will be presented at an event to be held on Monday, August 7, at 6 p.m. in the meeting room at Monks House of Ale Repute, located at 420 E. 8th Street, in downtown Sioux Falls. The public is invited to attend. Snacks will be available in addition to Monks’ regular menu.
Note: The 2016 recipient of the Friend of the Big Sioux River Award was Jim Peterson, former state senator from Revillo, South Dakota, who championed the idea that riparian buffers can protect South Dakota’s rivers, streams and lakes [Friends of the Big Sioux River, press release, 2017.08.07].
Speaking of riparian buffer strips, landowners can now apply for a break on their property taxes on properly maintained grassy buffer zones along the water bodies shown on this official state map. Governor Dennis Daugaard opened the online application form last week; the state will take applications until October 15.