Erv Klaas lives in Ames, and is a founding member of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and has served on the board since its beginning. He finished his third four-year term as a Story County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner in December 2013 and currently is member of the executive board of the Squaw Creek Watershed Coalition, board president of Friends of Ada Haden Heritage Park, member of the Iowa Environmental Council, an Ames Climate Action Team member and serves on the advisory committee for the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust.
He retired in 1999 as a wildlife biologist with the Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey after 30 years of federal service. He grew up on a bottomland farm along the Mississippi River in eastern Missouri and received his Bachelor of Science in wildlife conservation in 1956 from the University of Missouri, and in 1963 and 1970 respectively, earned a master’s and doctorate in zoology from Kansas University.
Erv was a member of the biology faculty at Rockhurst College in Kansas City before joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife research biologist in 1971. His research included studies on the effects of organochlorine insecticides on bird reproduction, behavior and population dynamics of waterfowl and wild turkeys and restoration and management of wetlands and prairies. He served as assistant leader from 1975 to 1992 and leader from 1992 to 1999 for the Iowa Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at Iowa State University where he was also a graduate faculty collaborator in the College of Agriculture. He’s now a professor emeritus of animal ecology Iowa State University.