Dr. Erwin E Klaas

Retired Unit Leader
Professor Emeritus - NREM
Erwin Klaas photo

Dr. Klaas is an ISU Professor Emeritus of Animal Ecology.  He came to Iowa State in 1975 and served as Professor of Animal Ecology and Asst. Leader and Leader of the co-op Unit until he retired on December 31, 1999. He joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1971 as a research wildlife biologist at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland where he conducted research on the effects of DDT on birds.  At Iowa State, he guided graduate students on pesticide effects, waterfowl energetics and ecology, wild turkey survival and habitat analysis. He is currently an Asst. Commissioner of the Story County, Soil and Water Conservation District and represents the District on the Prairie Rivers of Iowa Board of Directors and the Squaw Creek Watershed Authority Board.  He also serves as the President of Friends of Ada Hayden Heritage Park. During retirement he has taught and taken courses in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here at Iowa State, organized an annual community reading of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and maintained an active membership in several environmental organizations. He enjoys nature photography, studying dragonflies and learning more about the science and politics of climate change. He and his wife, Janet, have been married for 48 years; they have three children and six grandchildren.

Service on Boards and Committees

  • Member of Board of Directors of the Prairie Rivers of Iowa RC&D.
  • Member of Board of Directors of 1000 Friends of Iowa.
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, “Ding” Darling Foundation.
  • Member of the technical advisory committee for the Iowa DNR’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan.
  • Member of Urban Stewards of Central Iowa.
  • Member of The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Iowa Prairie Network, The Wildlife Society, American Rivers, International Crane Foundation, Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, American Ornithologists’ Union, Union of Concerned Scientists


  • Distinguished Iowa Scientist Award from the Iowa Academy of Science (2000)
  • Olav Smedal Conservation Award (2000)
  • Professional Award of Merit from the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society (2001)
  • elected to the Hall of Fame of the Iowa Chapter of The Wildlife Society (2001)
  • Outstanding Water Resources Leader by the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute (2002)
  • Ada Hayden Conservation Education Award from the Iowa Association of Naturalists and the Iowa Conservation Council (2003)
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, The Iowa Nature Conservancy (2004)
  • Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, USDA-NRCS (2005)
Area of Expertise: 
Land Stewardship
B.S., University of Missouri, 1956
M.S., 1963
Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1970