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Fodroczi steps down from KRLT director position

Dave Fodroczi talks with volunteers at one of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust's annual Kinni River Cleanup events. Fodroczi is stepping down as land trust executive director. Photo courtesy Charles Rader.

David Fodroczi isn't ready to say the word "retire" when it comes to stepping down from his position as executive director of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust.

"Let's just say I don't have life's next adventure figured out yet," he said. "I've enjoyed all the things I've been involved with throughout my professional life, and I'm not sure I'm ready to just totally walk away from all that."

Instead, Fodroczi said he's taking a step back and taking time to figure out what's next for him.

Fodroczi said when he started 5.5 years ago, the job as executive director for the KRLT was a good fit for him. He'd worked in the area of land and waterway management in the public sector, so when he started at the land trust, he said it "just had a natural feel to it."

One of the best parts about his position as executive director was seeing how much others value the Kinnickinnic.

"Whether people grew up here, or simply came here once with somebody else to go fishing or paddling," Fodroczi said. "People that had an experience with the river tended to fall in love with it, and it was that sense of place and the passion that people have about it."

Fodroczi has spent a lot of time on the river over the past 5.5 years.

"One of my favorite driver stories was I was out at our Jackson Preserve, which is out on County FF, down in the canyon, down ... halfway between River Falls and the State Park, and it's the only public access between the two and so we had hired a consultant to do kind of an inventory of vegetation and particularly invasive species to kind of set the stage of work that we would want to do for landscape restoration, controlling those invasive species."

Fodroczi, the consultant and a UW-River Falls faculty member were walking the preserve after the consultant's work was done.

"All of a sudden you could hear this squeaking sound from downstream," Fodroczi said. "Around the bend downstream, there was a young eagle chasing a full grown great blue heron in flight just about 20 feet off the water, going right down the middle of the channel. We stood there and watched as this pair went by."

That's one of many memories Fodroczi will have to look back on while he plans his next venture.

While he's deciding that, Fodroczi said he plans to spend more time in contemplation and reflection, get in more physical activity, and spend more time with his family and grandkids. That includes a 9-year-old and 19-month-old grandsons.

David "Drew" Drewiske will serve as interim director while the land trust selects a new executive director. Drewiske, whose mother is a River Falls area native, and whose parents met at UW-River Falls, is also a UWRF graduate. He began learning about watershed management before kindergarten. He's served as a park naturalist and planner on the St. Croix National Riverway, as a community and natural resource agent and business specialist with the UW-Extension system, and managed 3M's global real estate portfolio for 30 years.

Drewiske now lives five miles north of River Falls.

Meanwhile, Fodroczi said he will continue to serve on the Kinni Corridor Project Committee until the conclusion of that project in 2019. He will represent KRLT on that board.

The land trust has been vocally supportive of removing the dams in the past.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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