Texas NRCS retiree Minzenmeyer recognized as 2022 Hugh Hammond Bennett Regional Planner of the Year
Former USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee Glen Minzenmeyer was recently selected as the recipient of the 2022 Hugh Hammond Bennett Regional Planner of the Year by the National Association of Conservation District’s National Conservation Planning Partnership.
Story by Melissa Blair, Public Affairs Specialist, Corpus Christi
Former USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employee Glen Minzenmeyer was recently selected as the recipient of the 2022 Hugh Hammond Bennett Regional Planner of the Year Award by the National Association of Conservation District’s National Conservation Planning Partnership. Minzenmeyer worked for more than 37 years as a civil engineering technician with the in La Grange, Texas, office before retiring in July 2022.
The Hugh Hammond Bennett Award for Conservation Excellence recognizes individuals at the local, state, and national level for extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to the soil and water conservation movement in the United States. Bennett was considered the “Father of Conservation” for his leadership and dedication to soil conservation.
At the Area III awards banquet where he was presented his recognition, Minzenmeyer said it was an honor to receive the Hugh Hammond Bennett award.
“It was really special being nominated by coworkers,” he said “It was a good feeling to be recognized for helping people save the resources of the land as well as helping fellow employees in learning to do the same.”
Minzenmeyer was nominated for the Bennett award by fellow NRCS District Conservationists Hilary Bravenec in Bastrop, and Erin Miculka in Marfa, for outstanding work with the NRCS and with fellow employees.
“Glen is the most well-rounded and capable conservationist I have come across in my years working in several offices and states with NRCS,” said Bravenec. “He has integrity and a strong work ethic and is capable of learning and teaching anything from engineering to grazing management. He has easily had the greatest impact on the landscape of any conservationist I’ve worked with, guiding thousands of landowners in implementing sound conservation management and designing thousands of conservation practices to address soil erosion, water quantity and quality, wildlife habitat and plant health.”
Minzenmeyer began his career with the Fayette Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and continued to support SWCD operations, outreach, and education efforts after being hired by NRCS in 1985 as a soil conservationist technician. He then moved to a position as a certified engineering technician.
Minzenmeyer’s receipt of the Bennett Award is just a small part of what he accomplished during his career with the NRCS. Minzenmeyer improved natural resources in multiple counties by working directly with landowners and agencies, and by training the public and his co-workers. He worked closely with local county government officials following Hurricane Harvey and other localized flooding events and provided regular technical assistance to the Lee-Fayette Counties Cummins Creek Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) No. 1 to monitor dam sites and assist with designs. He has also trained three district conservationists to effectively assist the WCID in the operations and maintenance requirements of the 20 sites in the two counties.
His technical expertise and design abilities were integral to the success of Ducks Unlimited water conservation and wildlife habitat projects in rice fields across multiple Texas counties, creating and improving habitat for various waterfowl. Similarly, his designs and partnership with the Lower Colorado River Authority helped address soil erosion and water quality concerns with 39 grade stabilization structures and other projects across the watershed.
Minzenmeyer’s made more than 600 site visits for conservation planning, implementation, and monitoring, and he designed over 200 engineering practices across eight counties.
His dedication over the last 20-plus years changed the landscape of the Texas Coastal Plain counties. He surveyed, designed, or assisted with over 80,000 acres of irrigation land leveling on rice fields. The benefits of his life’s work are widespread to both people and wildlife. Most importantly, his work conserved water, which is critical for continued food production and wildlife habitat lifecycles during drought conditions. Minzenmeyer developed shallow water habitat management plans that used the leveled rice fields, dikes, and water structures to hold water to support migrating and resident waterfowl. His work is so critical to habitat creation and conservation that Ducks Unlimited invested millions of dollars in the land leveling and shallow water development projects. Those investments would not have been as successful or efficient without Minzenmeyer’s hard work.
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program projects in Fayette County were assisted many times by Minzenmeyer, who helped produce a NRCS educational outreach video on the latest work before he retired. He understood the value of land in the community that he lives and what the land means to the people who call it their own.
“Glen taught me more than anyone else I have worked with, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside him,” said Miculka, “His patience made him an excellent teacher and he is humble enough to listen and help in any circumstance. His unselfish attitude, coupled with his extensive experience and desire helps others by passing on his knowledge and has made him a big influence on so many employees and producers in multiple counties that he stood out from everyone else and is the epitome of who the award is made to honor.”
Minzenmeyer is an active member of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Colorado Valley Independent Cattleman's Association, West Navidad Wildlife Management Association, and is a 5th generation member of the church his ancestors helped found.