Wednesday, July 31, 2019 - 02:30 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed four members to the State Water Commission, including a member to fill the newly created seat representing the Little Missouri River basin in southwestern North Dakota.

“Water is essential for everything we do in North Dakota, from agriculture and energy development to recreation and daily life,” Burgum said. “With the broad experience and expertise that these commissioners bring to the table, the State Water Commission will continue to manage and develop our water resources in a way that improves the quality of life and the health of our economy for all North Dakotans.”

Current members Richard “Dick” Johnson of Devils Lake and Katie Hemmer (formerly Andersen) of Jamestown were reappointed to six-year terms on the State Water Commission. Johnson, a retired business owner and current mayor of Devils Lake, represents the Devils Lake basin. Hemmer, a former mayor of Jamestown and current director at Jamestown Regional Airport, represents the James River basin.

Jay Volk of Bismarck was appointed to a six-year term to represent the lower Missouri River basin. Volk replaces Leander “Russ” McDonald, who did not seek reappointment. Volk is manager of health, safety and environmental services at BNI Coal in Center. He also has served on the Dakotas Resource Advisory Council, the state Aquatic Invasive Species Committee and the Lignite Energy Council’s environmental task force.

The governor appointed Steven Schneider of Dickinson to a six-year term in the newly created seat representing the Little Missouri River basin, as well as the upper Heart River basin and upper Cannonball River basin. Schneider is a financial advisor and U.S. Army veteran who has served as a director and treasurer for the Southwest Water Authority since 2010.

The state Legislature added the southwest seat with the approval of Senate Bill 2139 last spring, increasing the number of governor-appointed members who provide regional representation on the Commission from seven to eight. The governor chairs the Commission, and the state agriculture commissioner serves as an ex-officio member. For more information about the Commission, visit