Jeffrey Harper – Leech Lake DRM, Water Resources

Name: Jeffrey Harper

Organization: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Division of Resource Management Environmental Department, Water Resources


Phone:  218-252-2805

Address:  190 Sailstar Drive NW Cass Lake MN 56633

  1. How do you help your community?

I am the Water Resources Manager for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, have been here full time since 1995. Utilizing EPA Clean Water Act 106 funding we sample surface waters – including lakes, rivers streams and wetlands. We partner with other tribes as well as federal, state and county agencies to measure current water quality and set water quality standards in an attempt to limit pollution and our negative effects on the environment.One of my responsibilities is running our Summer Youth Experience program in which we bring in youth 13-15 to spend two weeks with us doing everything we do to give them exposure to the field and hopefully bring them into the field as well as build a broader understanding in the community of what we do. I also bring on interns from Leech Lake Tribal College STEMs programs to work in the Water Resources Program.

  1. How do you hope an intern will contribute through the Niizhoo-gwakochigewin program to helping your community?

At a base level having an intern will at least increase our community’s level of understanding of what we do. The intern will gain understanding and could apply it in their education as well as in their employment if they choose to work in this field. We hope to someday have natives in higher positions within our own reservations as well as county, state and federal government that will help to protect our environment.

  1. How will you contribute to the education of your intern?

We will show the day-to-day job as well as the planning and managerial skills needed to protect what we have by using available funding and current laws. The intern may also have the opportunity to work with other programs in the Environmental Department such as the Air and Brownfield Department, and other Division of Resource Management programs such as Fish & Wildlife, Land and Forestry.

  1. List some responsibilities that an intern might do/projects they might work on.

Basic water quality data collection at beach/swimming sites, sample collection and preparation for our projects and our partnerships, data and sample collection on oil pipeline water crossings, wetland delineation, NEPA, mapping locations of individual sanitary sewer systems…

The intern will also have the opportunity to be a good example and show leadership to our younger interns.

  1. Is there anything an intern should know before working with you? (transportation needs, heavy lifting, allergies, specific technical background (ex. GIS), etc.)

Our normal work days are 8-4:30 Monday – Friday, truck time can be a couple hours per day, we eat lunch in the field together as a team. We will apply mapping and planning skills, minimal GIS usage on the day-to-day, will need to be able to take notes, be able to learn how to use each type of field and lab equipment. Some heavy lifting and carrying loads will be expected. Rowing a boat and paddling canoe will be part of the job.