Our organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit group, governed by a board of directors, and formed to enhance public awareness and appreciation of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District (WMD). In addition, we assist and support the activities of the WMD through volunteerism and fund raising events.

The By-Laws of Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, Inc. was signed on the 7th day of August, 2002. The Friends were officially organized as a Friends organization and received their non-profit status on September 13, 2002. Leslie Peterson, Wildlife Biologist for the Wetland District was instrumental in the development of the Friends Organization.

The Articles of Incorporation was signed October, 2002. The first Board of Directors consisted of nine members which were Jarrod Christen, President; Sara Thielen, Secretary; LeRoy Squires, Treasurer and Vice President, Dave Matuska, Director, Barbara Schmidt, Director; Richard Dahlin, Director; John McGovern, Director; Claude Mosher, Director; and Darlene Christen, liaison. The Detroit Lakes Wetland Manager was Mark Chase.

The Friends organization also has a signed Agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior and the Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, Inc. This Agreement will be automatically renewed for one addition 5-year period on October 1 of the last year. To ensure that Service standards are met, the Association must acquire the WMD Project Leader/Managerís approval before it engages in any projects or activities.

On November 23 & 24, 2002, The Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District Staff and Friends held a mentoring workshop conducted by George and Dorothy Hoffman from LaCrosse, WI. They were very helpful in assisting our organization and the wetland staff to better define respective roles and responsibilities that would help set joint priorities for the Friends and the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District.