Bonnie Finnerty had an advantage as the Crow Wing County water planner before she even started the job last week.
She has lived in the area for about six years and was the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District's technician for three years. She also was a wetland delineator for Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates of Baxter for a short time. She graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School in 1992. After college she returned to the Brainerd lakes area to work.
Finnerty, who succeeded Scott Hansen as water planner, said she was interested in water planning because she wants to help preserve the lakes. She earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science in 1994 and a master's in environmental policy and planning in 1996 from Bemidji State University.
Every day is different, Finnerty said. Finnerty, 26, Deerwood, earns $29,500 a year to implement projects developed by the county's water plan advisory board, prepare the water plan budget, oversee all water plan projects, coordinate with the lakes associations and citizens and work on the Natural Resource Block Grant. She also identifies federal, state and local regulations that influence water resource management and she evaluates their effectiveness.
Finnerty's goal is to establish better communication with the various lake associations. She also would like to have programs more available and well known as well as encouraging and promoting septic system improvements or upgrades.
"It is cheaper to prevent the problems from occurring than to clean it up after it happens," Finnerty said about upgrading the septic systems.
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