Joel Larson named associate director of the Water Resources Center

Joel Larson, a top-level manager at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been named associate director of the Water Resources Center, effective January 29, 2018.joellarson

Larson currently directs the USDA Southeast Climate Hub, where he coordinates with university Extension and other science programs to provide stakeholder-relevant education on conservation planning related to climate change and water management.  

Since 2014, he has been an analyst for the USDA climate program, leading efforts across USDA to integrate climate change into natural resource decision-making.  Before coming to USDA, he served as chief of staff, adviser and social scientist in the Department of the Interior. He is a University of Minnesota alumnus, holding a Master of Public Policy degree from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Macalester College.

As WRC associate director, Larson will oversee the WRC’s outreach efforts and Extension water programs. He will serve as program leader of the Extension water resources team and will manage the WRC’s professional training and certification programs. He also will manage WRC operations including the integration of research, education, and Extension activities.

Larson’s selection for this key role was driven by his high-level management skills, his demonstrated ability to connect and collaborate with diverse partners, and his understanding of the role and mission of the WRC. A search committee led by Ed Nater, professor of Soil, Water, and Climate, conducted an extensive national search.