(1) The council shall appoint a nine-member Puget Sound science panel to provide independent, nonrepresentational scientific advice to the council and expertise in identifying environmental indicators and benchmarks for incorporation into the action agenda.
(2) In establishing the panel, the council shall request the Washington academy of sciences, created in chapter 70A.40
RCW, to nominate fifteen scientists with recognized expertise in fields of science essential to the recovery of Puget Sound. Nominees should reflect the full range of scientific and engineering disciplines involved in Puget Sound recovery. At a minimum, the Washington academy of sciences shall consider making nominations from scientists associated with federal, state, and local agencies, tribes, the business and environmental communities, members of the K-12, college, and university communities, and members of the board. The solicitation should be to all sectors, and candidates may be from all public and private sectors. Persons nominated by the Washington academy of sciences must disclose any potential conflicts of interest, and any financial relationship with any leadership councilmember, and disclose sources of current financial support and contracts relating to Puget Sound recovery.
(3) The panel shall select a chair and a vice chair. Panel members shall serve four-year terms, except that the council shall determine initial terms of two, three, and four years to provide for staggered terms. The council shall determine reappointments and select replacements or additional members of the panel. No panel member may serve longer than twelve years.
(4) The executive director shall designate a lead staff scientist to coordinate panel actions, and administrative staff to support panel activities. The legislature intends to provide ongoing funding for staffing of the panel to ensure that it has sufficient capacity to provide independent scientific advice.
(5) The executive director of the partnership and the science panel shall explore a shared state and federal responsibility for the staffing and administration of the panel. In the event that a federally sponsored Puget Sound recovery office is created, the council may propose that such office provide for staffing and administration of the panel.
(6) The panel shall assist the council in developing and revising the action agenda, making recommendations to the action agenda, and making recommendations to the council for updates or revisions.
(7) Members of the panel shall be reimbursed for travel expenses under RCW 43.03.050
, and based upon the availability of funds, the council may contract with members of the panel for compensation for their services under *chapter 39.29
RCW. If appointees to the panel are employed by the federal, state, tribal, or local governments, the council may enter into interagency personnel agreements.