Our Board of Directors

Reed Riskedahl

Reed Riskedahl
President

Reed Riskedahl has been on the Prairie Rivers Board of Directors since 2011, hailing from Marshalltown; and has served as past-president, secretary, and treasurer and now again serving as president.

Originally from rural southern Minnesota, Reed and his family have been Iowans for 42 years with 32 of those years in Marshalltown. He and his wife Rita have two adult daughters and two grandsons.

Reed has a degree in business and his volunteer involvement and leadership positions, in and around Marshalltown, along with his work experience (now retired) in retail, service, manufacturing, construction, and real estate are valuable to the Prairie Rivers of Iowa board and staff.

He has Master Gardener and Conservationist certifications from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

 

Dr. Mark Rasmussen

Mark Rasmussen
Treasurer

Dr. Mark Rasmussen is a retired microbiologist, most recently from a leadership position at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; he spent four years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a research microbiologist (two years as a supervisory microbiologist and division director), providing technical guidance and research support related to regulatory decisions regarding drugs, additives, and contaminants in animal feeds and much more. For about 18 years, he worked as a microbiologist and researcher for the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Research Service, and the National Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. In 2000, he was appointed lead scientist/microbiologist. As a scientist for the Eastman Chemical Company, Mark conducted research in various aspects of animal nutrition and microbiology with an emphasis on cellulose digestion and fermentation. Career highlights include a U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s Award for Food Safety, and he has been awarded a couple of U.S. patents.

Doug Cooper

Doug Cooper
Secretary

Doug Cooper lives in Cambridge, Iowa and is retired from Iowa State University as the director of Market News and radio/audio for Iowa State University Extension Communications. He was also a co-host of WOI radio’s Midday program from 1990-2010.

He worked with WHO Radio farm department from 2010 – 2020. Previously, he was farm director at KICD radio in Spencer, KWMT radio in Fort Dodge, and WOW radio in Omaha, Nebraska.

He served six years of active duty in the United States Air Force prior to attending and graduating from Iowa State with a BA in journalism.

 He has traveled to several countries reporting on trends in agriculture and received an Agriculture Communicators in Education (ACE) Award of Excellence for his reporting on the changing conditions in Russian agriculture in 1992.

 Doug is married to Dianne Randall Cooper and has a daughter living in Brooklyn, NY.

 He is a supporter of ISU sports and enjoys listening to music on vinyl.

Bob Ausberger

Bob Ausberger
Board Member

Bob Ausberger grew up on a farm north of Jefferson, Iowa and attended school there. He went on to teach 7th and 8th graders after graduating from the University of Iowa. After teaching for four years, he returned to Greene County, Iowa to farm. Bob has always been interested in soil and water conservation which led him to begin no-till farming in the late 1980’s. His son David currently works the farm which is still 100% no-till along with other conservation practices including terraces, contours, cover crops,  a mile of buffer strips along Buttrick Creek, tree planting along the creek, wetland establishment and using compost for soil health. David also works with the Iowa Soybean Association to monitor water leaving the farm. Bob and his wife Joyce also have a daughter, Susan Hawthorne, who is married to a Calhoun County, Iowa farmer.

His interests include the Lincoln Highway and since 1990 has been actively educating the public of its importance. He helped form the Greene County Lincoln Highway Association, the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association and the national Lincoln Highway Association.

Chris Barber

Chris Barber
Board Member

Chirs Barber is the interpretive park manager for Hardin County Conservation. He has a biology degree from the University of Northern Iowa with an emphasis on ecology and systematics. He worked and studied at the Tallgrass Prairie Center while earning his master’s in biology. He also served as an infantryman in the Iowa National Guard and worked for two years at the University of Nebraska as a research technologist in grassland ecology. As if that’s not enough, he’s also on the Ellsworth College Conservation Technology Advisory Board and an adjunct instructor for the conservation department.

When he finds some spare time, Chris enjoys fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking, and golf. However, spare time priorities tend to focus more on enjoying spending family time while attending school events like sports, band concerts and plays.

Rick Dietz

Rick Dietz
Board Member

Rick Dietz retired from the City of Ames Electirc Services in 2015 and volunteers for many organizations including Prairie Rivers, Story County Conservation, the Story County Sheriff’s Dive Team, N-Compass and Project AWARE, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the Iowa Wildlife Center, STAR 1 Search and Rescue, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Rivers Program.

He Attended Iowa State University (majoring in Horticulture) after getting an Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. His interest in prairies began as a volunteer at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Rick is a member of the Panora Conservation Chapter of the Izaak Walton League and the Iowa Environmental Council, a Recipient of INHF’s Hagie Heritage Award (2020), the Olav Smedal Conservation Award, and an IOWATER Volunteer of the Year Award (both in 2006)
His public service includes serving in the Army National Guard from 1988-1993.

Rick and his wife Carol Hansell, both Iowa natives, live just north of Ames where their home overlooks prairie, woodlands, and the Skunk River Valley.

Erv Klaas

Ervin “Erv” Klaas
Board Member

Erv Klaas lives in Ames, Iowa 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 a 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, he earned a master’s and a 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.

Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson
Board Member

Jim Richardson is a grain farmer from Webster City, Iowa and current Prairie Rivers of Iowa board treasurer after previously acting as president and secretary. He also serves as a member of the Hamilton County Conservation Board.

He holds a B.S. and an M.S. from Iowa State University in Ag Education and Professional Ag and brings to the board experience as an Air Force pilot, agricultural banker, sales manager and college professor.

Jim is married to his wife Donna Moore, has two grown sons, three granddaughters and a grandson.

Chuck Stewart

Chuck Stewart
Board Member

Chuck Stewart grew up on a farm north of Marshalltown. He has a bachelor of science degree in industrial administration from Iowa State University and a master of arts in accounting from the University of Iowa.

Chuck is a graduate of the United States Navy’s Officers Candidate School and spent three years in the Navy on the west coast. We are looking forward to benefiting from his experience as a certified public accountant, a chief financial officer for a manufacturing firm, a business consultant, and a certified life and business coach.

Now retired, Chuck lives in Ankeny and owns farmland in central Iowa. His interest in water quality and pollinator projects is what drew him to become a board member.