Rolla, MO -  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has promoted Darrell Pratte, a 23-year department employee, to head its Land Survey Program and serve as the state land surveyor. The Land Survey Program and the office of State Land Surveyor reside in the department's Division of Geology and Land Survey, which is located in Rolla.

"Darrell is an extremely valuable asset to the Division of Geology and Land Survey," said Joe Gillman, division director and state geologist. "I am very pleased that Darrell has accepted this position of leadership, and I expect him to continue a long tradition of excellence within the Land Survey Program. Darrell brings experience from the private and public sector dealing with land boundary issues in Missouri."

Pratte is a professional land surveyor who joined the department in 1986. He succeeds J. Michael Flowers, who retired July 1.

"I have had the opportunity to learn much from the private sector, spending 12 years with Smith and Company, the largest engineering and surveying firm between St. Louis and Memphis, and on the public side, working for the only two other people to serve as state land surveyor, Bob Myers and Mike Flowers," said Pratte, a Poplar Bluff native.

"Being a professional land surveyor is all I wanted to do since I was in high school. Now I find myself in a position to serve the citizens of Missouri by helping preserve the land survey records and the marks that have been left behind by the surveyors who came before."

The Land Survey Program's primary responsibility is to develop and provide information required for the accurate and economical location of property boundaries in Missouri. Pratte and his staff maintain more than 1.8 million land survey records and participate in county surveyor partnerships that assist in reestablishing lost survey corners, which are the basis for all land surveys in Missouri.

Pratte has experience in all facets of the Land Survey Program. He was a project surveyor in the cadastral survey section for 14 years where he worked with county and private surveyors on a variety of projects from corner restoration and retracement surveys of county lines to surveying township and range lines. Pratte's most recent cadastral project, which was a large undertaking by the department, involved retracing 40 miles of line between Missouri and Arkansas from the southwest corner of Missouri, east along the south line of McDonald County and part of Barry County, Missouri to mile point 205, which is near the corner of Carroll and Benton counties in Arkansas.

Serving most recently as the geodetic survey section chief, Pratte led a team of land surveyors and technicians responsible for managing the Geodetic Survey Network for the state, determining the precise points on the earth's surface in support of mapping, boundary determination, property delineation, infrastructure development, resource evaluation surveys and scientific applications. Geodetic surveys are the foundation for mapping projects from tax assessment to E-911. These surveys can be used to ensure that property rights are not violated. Additionally, staff recently collected elevation data for each station. "Knowing precise elevations aids local emergency planners in building better flood maps, designing bridges and other structures built in or near flood-prone areas," said Pratte.