The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will have a new enforcement chief this week.
Ken Soring, who has been overseeing the DNR's enforcement efforts in the Northeast Region out of Grand Rapids for the past nine years, will take over on Wednesday for Col. Jim Konrad, who retired earlier this month after 30 years of service.
Soring first became a conservation officer in 1984 and filled in temporarily as the enforcement division's chief in 2009. He said that the 200-plus conservation officers in the state are passionate about their jobs.
"They really do have a passion for the resource and working with the public, including educational programs with youth, recruiting hunters and anglers and the next generation of natural resource people," Soring said. "And I think it's not a job, it really is a passion and a lifestyle that our officers have."
He added that fighting invasive species will continue to be a challenge for Minnesota. Soring said DNR officials are doing their best to address the problem.
"Those challenges are statewide. They're going to require a need for more than just the department or the division to focus on," he said. "It's other user groups and local governmental units and tribal agencies. We all need to work together on those large issues."
Soring will oversee a $38 million annual budget and a staff of 250. Conservation officers enforce the state's hunting, fishing and boating laws.