Ronald D. Carlson was the third child in a family of two boys and two girls born to Ruth (Cederberg) and Wally Carlson.
He grew up on an irrigated farm near Firth, Idaho. During his years on the family farm he had responsibilities for managing livestock including the 3500 laying hens his parents maintained. He attended the public schools in Firth, Idaho and was recognized for his many achievements in 4-H and FFA. He graduated from high school in 1963 and later attended Victor Valley College in California and the University of Idaho.
After a brief break in his college education, during which time he returned to Firth to operate the family farm when his father became ill, he went on to graduate from the University of Idaho with a bachelors and Masters of Science in Agricultural Engineering.
After graduation, he was hired by the Idaho Department of Water Resources as a hydrologist stationed in Boise, where he worked until 1973 when he moved to Idaho Falls to administer the Dam Safety Program in the Department’s Eastern Region. He became regional manager of the Eastern Regional Office of the Department of Water Resources in 1974. In 1978, the water users of Water District 1 elected Ron to serve as Snake River Watermaster.
He continued to hold both positions until 2006 when he left these positions to become the administrator of a Christian Faith Based Corporation that provided a range of counseling and medical services in addition to operating homeless shelters in the Idaho Falls.
Ron was a member of Toastmaster’s International and through his career has been frequently asked to speak on a variety of subjects. In addition he has been known for his numerous papers and articles. In 2004 he was requested to prepared prepare a paper providing the historical perspective of water development and management which he was asked to present his perspective to the Legislative Interim Committee. Ron was inducted into the Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Honor Society in 1985 and since that time has received many recognitions and awards for his service to the state and those who use the state’s water resources. These recognitions and awards include the Idaho Water Users Water Statesman award and the Chamber of Commerce Silver Plow Award.
In March 2006 his achievements were recognized on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Senator Michael Crapo who commended Ron for his life time achievements and his efforts to build a shelter for at-risk children. This recognition was included as part of the congressional record. In 1979 Ron was instrumental in the creation of the Idaho State Water Bank and the local Rental Pools that facilitate annual transfers of stored water for use in Idaho. During much of the decade of the 1980’s he was involved in negotiations with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes to resolve their reserved water right claims that were filed in the SRBA. The 1990 Fort Hall water rights agreement was noted as the first successfully negotiated settlements of Indian water rights claims to have ever been accomplished. Largely as a result of Ron’s efforts the non-Indian water users were able to acquire storage space in Ririe and Palisades Reservoirs to mitigate the impacts that would result from granting the Sho-Bans the earliest priority water right on the river. Later Ron was a technical advisor to the coalition seeking a settlement of the Nez Pierce and ESA Snake River water issues. This settlement has been approved by congress and the Idaho State Legislature. Ron continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Corporation that manages three shelters for homeless and at-risk people in the Idaho Falls area.
Ron is married and has three adult children and lives near Firth on the family farm he continues to manage along with his other private businesses. His wife Angela teaches violin, viola and cello in her studio in Firth. She directs the Community Orchestra community orchestra she started in Firth and Ron is one of the members of this orchestra. In support of his wife’s work Ron works as a luthier and builds, restores and repairs stringed instrument. Ron currently manages Tent Maker Services which provides a verity of services to several small corporations in the community.