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by Tim Campbell · August 22, 2013


While the natural resources of Muscatine County did not change Aug. 1, how those resources are protected certainly did.

Tom Campbell, the conservation officer assigned to Muscatine County, retired from the Law Enforcement Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on July 31, after 27 years of service with the department.

During his time Campbell enforced Iowa hunting and fishing laws. He was well-known for protecting the unique and diverse freshwater mussel resources of the Mississippi River. His efforts, combined with those of other state and federal partners, have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and civil penalties throughout his time.

Campbell also coordinated with other state and federal agencies to protect Iowa’s whitetail deer from poachers and unlawful interstate transportation.

In addition to fish and wildlife efforts, Tom found boating safety work to be rewarding and was active in the detection and arrest of intoxicated boat operators.

Campbell began his career in conservation work when he graduated from Iowa State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. In 1981 he was hired as a park ranger for the Henry County Conservation Board at Oakland Mills State Park near Mt. Pleasant.

He joined the Iowa Conservation Commission as a recreational safety officer in 1985, and then transferred to Muscatine County in 1986 to fill the position as a conservation officer in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

He served as a field training officer for the DNR from 2000 to 2007 and became an area officer for southeast Iowa in 2010. Both positions allowed him to pass on his knowledge and expertise by training and mentoring newly-hired conservation officers.

Campbell also served as the chair of the Law Enforcement Code Review Committee in Des Moines and was known statewide as an expert in interpreting the Iowa DNR fish and wildlife code.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career. In 1992 he was awarded the Governor’s Award of Valor, given to those who risk their own life to attempt to save another. He and two Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputies rescued stranded hunters on the Mississippi River during a rare November ice storm.

He was awarded Conservation Officer of the Year by Shikar-Safari International, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers, the Iowa Trappers Association and the Iowa Bowhunters Association. He also received many case of the year awards and awards for excellence in the various duties of his work.

Campbell and his family will be hosting an open house to commemorate his career 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the West Liberty Community Center located at 1204 N. Calhoun St., including a short presentation at 4 p.m. The general public is invited to attend and celebrate his career and retirement.

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