The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District officially has a new leader.
The district's board of managers selected Lars Erdahl, who works at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, earlier this month and approved a one-year contract in a 4-3 vote Thursday night.
The new district administrator will receive a $104,481 annual salary and benefits until Feb. 8, 2016, when he will become an at-will employee, as is standard. Erdahl, special project assistant to the director and interim grants officer at the arboretum since 2013, previously worked at the Minnesota Zoo. He replaces Eric Evenson-Marden, who led the watershed for 15 years until he was abruptly fired in a 4-3 vote last April, a decision that spurred months of board division and community scrutiny.
Erdahl will start Feb. 9 as the top leader of the Minnetonka-based watershed, one of the largest in Minnesota. It manages water resources in a 181-square-mile area of Minneapolis and 26 suburbs — from Minnehaha Falls and Lake Minnetonka to Minneapolis' Chain of Lakes.