Mike Lovegreen is retiring from his job as manager of the Bradford County Conservation District, a position he has held for the past 33 years, the chairman of the Bradford County commissioners confirmed.

"His will be awfully, awfully, awfully big shoes to fill," said Doug McLinko, chairman of the Bradford County commissioners.

The commissioners want to make sure that the process of finding a replacement for Lovegreen is done right because he did "such a fabulous job," McLinko said.

Lovegreen said he is planning to retire sometime in August, although he said he would stay on longer if the county is not able find someone by that time.

Lovegreen said the accomplishment as manager that he is proudest of was helping the Bradford County Conservation District grow into "an excellent organization."

"It's strong and healthy, because I have good people working here, so it is a good time for a transition" to a new manager, he said.

Lovegreen was initially hired to be the Conservation District's education coordinator, and was named its manager two months later.

When he was first employed at the agency, it had two employees and an annual budget of approximately $10,000, Today, the Conservation District has 17 employees and a budget of approximately $1.5 million, he said.

The agency has taken on a lot more duties over the years, he added.

Lovegreen said that he wants to find a way to continue to use his skills, experience and knowledge in the local area after he retires.

Some of the programs and services available from the Bradford County Conservation District are environmental education, erosion and sedimentation pollution control, storm water management, floodplain monitoring, Dirt & Gravel Roads Pollution Prevention, nutrient management, Chesapeake Bay Program, watershed protection, beneficial use of bio-solids, waterway and wetlands protection, and Agricultural Land Preservation.

Pennsylvania's conservation districts, established in 1945 under the Conservation District Law, are the local unit of state government that provides the link between citizens and the multitude of local, state, and federal natural resource management programs and agencies.

The mission of the Bradford County Conservation District is to provide leadership, technical, financial, and education resources to the people, municipalities, industries, and organizations of Bradford County to develop sound natural resource management through the implementation of soil, water, and air conservation best management practices, according to Bradford County's website.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.