AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE
SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
22-2718. Idaho State soil and water conservation commission. (1) There is hereby established and created in the department of agriculture of the state of Idaho the Idaho state soil and water conservation commission which shall perform all functions conferred upon it by this chapter and shall be a nonregulatory agency. The commission shall consist of five (5) members appointed by the governor. In appointing commission members, the governor shall give consideration to geographic representation. Commission members shall be chosen with due regard to their demonstrated expertise including, but not limited to, knowledge of and interest in water quality and other natural resource issues, production agriculture, banking or other similar financial experience or experience as a county commissioner. The soil and water conservation districts may submit to the governor a list of up to three (3) names for each vacancy on the commission and the governor may, in his discretion, consider any such submission in the appointment of commission members. The term of office of each commission member shall be five (5) years; except that upon July 1, 2010, the governor shall appoint one (1) member for a term of one (1) year, one (1) member for a term of two (2) years, one (1) member for a term of three (3) years, one (1) member for a term of four (4) years and one (1) member for a term of five (5) years. From and after the initial appointment the governor shall appoint a member of the commission to serve in office for a term of five (5) years commencing upon July 1 of that year. A vacancy which occurs in an unexpired term shall be filled for its remainder by the governor's appointment. Each vacancy on the commission shall be filled by appointment by the governor. Such appointments shall be confirmed by the senate. Commission members shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. The commission may invite the state conservationist of the United States department of agriculture natural resources conservation service, a representative from a district or districts and the dean of the college of agriculture of the university of Idaho or his designated representative, or any other person or entity as the commission deems appropriate, to serve as nonvoting advisory members of the commission. The commission shall keep a record of its official actions, shall adopt a seal, which seal shall be judicially noticed, and may perform such acts, hold such public hearings and promulgate such rules as may be necessary for the execution of its functions under this chapter.
(2) The state soil and water conservation commission shall appoint the administrator of the state soil and water conservation commission. The state soil and water conservation commission may employ such technical experts and such other agents and employees, permanent and temporary, as it may require, and shall determine their qualifications, duties and compensation. The commission may call upon the attorney general of the state for such legal services as it may require. It shall have authority to delegate to its chairman, to one (1) or more of its members, or to one (1) or more agents or employees, such powers and duties as it may deem proper. The commission may establish offices, incur expenses, enter into contracts and acquire services and personal property as may be reasonable for the proper administration and enforcement of this chapter. Upon request of the commission, for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions, the supervising officer of any state agency, or of any state institution of learning, shall insofar as may be possible under available appropriation, and having due regard to the needs of the agency to which the request is directed, assign or detail to the commission members of the staff or personnel of such agency or institution of learning, and make such special reports, surveys or studies as the commission may request.
(3) The commission shall designate its chairman, and may from time to time, change such designation. A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum and the concurrency of a majority in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. The chairman and members of the commission shall be compensated as provided by section 59-509(h), Idaho Code. The commission shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions, and orders issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements.
(4) In addition to the duties and powers hereinafter conferred upon the state soil and water conservation commission, it shall have the following responsibilities:
(a) To offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors of soil conservation districts in the carrying out of any of their powers and programs.
(b) To keep the supervisors of each of the several soil conservation districts informed of the activities and experience of all other soil conservation districts and to facilitate an interchange of advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between them.
(c) To coordinate the progress of the several soil conservation districts so far as this may be done by advice and consultation.
(d) To secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States and any of its agencies, and of agencies of this state, in the work of such districts.
(e) To disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities and programs of the soil conservation districts in areas where their organization is desirable.
(f) To provide for the establishment and encouragement of the "Idaho OnePlan" as a primary computer-based conservation planning process for all natural resource concerns. Establishment and encouragement will be accomplished through an executive group and steering committee both containing private, state and federal representation. The information provided by those using the "Idaho OnePlan" shall be deemed to be trade secrets, production records or other proprietary information and shall be kept confidential and shall be exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 74-107, Idaho Code.
(5) In addition to other powers, functions and duties of soil conservation districts and the state soil and water conservation commission provided in this chapter, the commission shall have the following additional powers, functions and duties:
(a) The commission shall conduct, in cooperation with appropriate federal and state agencies and the owners and operators of privately owned forest lands, rangelands and agricultural lands in this state, conservation improvements on or in respect to these lands for the purposes of implementing conservation systems to conserve and improve natural resource conditions;
(b) The commission shall assist and advise soil conservation districts and other entities in implementing the conservation improvements, projects and the water quality program for agriculture. To the extent that there are available general funds, the commission shall provide for grants and cost-share opportunities and, as legislatively designated, utilize the resource conservation and rangeland development fund for loans for conservation improvements. Provided however, that the commission shall determine whether general or resource conservation and rangeland development funds are available before approving any conservation improvements, projects and cost-share opportunities and, after having made such determination, shall enter into the necessary contracts for implementation;
(c) The commission shall be the agency responsible for the administration of funds accruing to the resource conservation and rangeland development fund and for all general funds appropriated as a separate and distinct action of the legislature to implement the powers, functions and duties of soil conservation districts and the commission;
(d) On or before March 1 of each year, the commission shall report to the senate agricultural affairs committee and the house agricultural affairs committee; and
(e) The commission shall promulgate such rules as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
[22-2718, added 1957, ch. 218, sec. 4, p. 476; am. 1967, ch. 28, sec. 1, p. 48; am. 1971, ch. 100, sec. 1, p. 215; am. 1974, ch. 17, sec. 2, p. 308; am. 1980, ch. 247, sec. 10, p. 588; am. 1989, ch. 109, sec. 1, p. 250; am. 1997, ch. 180, sec. 3, p. 501; am. 2000, ch. 160, sec. 3, p. 407; am. 2003, ch. 107, sec. 4, p. 339; am. 2010, ch. 279, sec. 3, p. 723; am. 2015, ch. 141, sec. 33, p. 408.]