There is hereby established to serve as an agency of the state and to perform the functions conferred upon it by law, the state conservation commission, which shall succeed to all powers, duties and property of the state soil and water conservation committee.
The commission shall consist of ten members, five of whom are ex officio. Two members shall be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a landowner or operator of a farm. At least two of the three elected members shall be landowners or operators of a farm and shall be elected as herein provided. The appointed members shall serve for a term of four years.
The three elected members shall be elected for three-year terms, one shall be elected each year by the district supervisors at their annual statewide meeting. One of the members shall reside in eastern Washington, one in central Washington and one in western Washington, the specific boundaries to be determined by district supervisors. At the first such election, the term of the member from western Washington shall be one year, central Washington two years and eastern Washington three years, and successors shall be elected for three years.
Unexpired term vacancies in the office of appointed commission members shall be filled by appointment by the governor in the same manner as full-term appointments. Unexpired terms of elected commission members shall be filled by the regional vice president of the Washington association of conservation districts who is serving that part of the state where the vacancy occurs, such term to continue only until district supervisors can fill the unexpired term by electing the commission member.
The director of the department of ecology, the director of the department of agriculture, the commissioner of public lands, the president of the Washington association of conservation districts, and the dean of the college of agriculture at Washington State University shall be ex officio members of the commission. An ex officio member of the commission shall hold office so long as he or she retains the office by virtue of which he or she is a member of the commission. Ex officio members may delegate their authority.
The commission may invite appropriate officers of cooperating organizations, state and federal agencies to serve as advisers to the conservation commission.