DUBLIN - Pledging to avoid controversy that has plagued the board in the past, Stephenville First Assembly of God Pastor Ed Dittfurth became a member Thursday of the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District’s Board of Directors.

MTCGD members named Dittfurth, a hydrologist before he became a pastor, to replace controversial board member Boyd Waggoner, who recently resigned because of concerns with MTGCD rules and procedures that he said aren’t designed to protect, preserve and conserve much-needed groundwater.

“I know it has been surrounded by controversy and I don’t think that is necessary,” Dittfurth said. “I want to serve our community. I think God has called us (his family) to be here for a long time, so I feel like this is the way I can make a long-term impact for the good of our county.”

MTGCD General Manager Joe Cooper described the board as being “very receptive” to its Nominations Committee’s recommendation that Dittfurth be named.

“The board was very impressed … in finding what we feel is the perfect replacement for Boyd Waggoner,” Cooper said.

“I was a hydrologist before being a hydrologist was cool,’ Dittfurth said.

Dittfurth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hydrology - with minors in math and biology - from Tarleton State University.

Between 1990 and 1995, Dittfurth worked for the Texas Water Commission, the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. From 1995 to 1998, when he became pastor at Stephenville First Assembly, Dittfurth owned and ran Regulatory Compliance Initiatives, an environmental consulting firm.

Dittfurth said he felt a “calling to serve as a pastor,” but that when he saw the opportunity to be a member of the MTGCD, he jumped at it.

“My love for water is what brought me to Stephenville,” Dittfurth said, referring to his decision to attend TSU and take part in the university’s hydrology program after the Legislature started it “because of the droughts of the early 80s.”

“I feel like it is very important for us to give back to the community,” Dittfurth said.

“That’s a wonderful attitude to have,” Cooper said. “His conviction is that our water is a lot more importance to us than oil.”

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.