Posted: Thursday, June 09, 2011 12:00 PM
Conservation commission faces decline in funding
By DAVE WILKINS
Teri Murrison has been named the new administrator of the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
Murrison began her duties June 1.
She will be responsible for providing leadership and direction for the commission staff, budgets and programs.
Murrison was selected from a field of six finalists following a nationwide search. She replaces Sara Schmidt, who left to start her own consulting business.
"Teri will be a great addition to our commission staff," commission chairman Bill Flory said. "We're pretty pleased. She comes with impressive credentials and a business background."
Murrison served as a county supervisor in Tuolumne County, Calif., from 2007 to 2010.
Her experience with water resource issues includes membership on California's statewide watershed advisory committee, the CALFED Public Watershed Committee and the San Joaquin River Management Plan committee.
Helping private landowners and conservation districts meet their goals will be important to the future of Idaho, she said.
In addition to water issues, Murrison also participated in the Sustainable Forest Action Coalition.
In 2000, she started a business providing grant writing and administration services to local governments. Murrison previously worked as a public information and administrative services officer on regional transportation projects around Yosemite National Park.
Murrison earned bachelor's degrees from California State University in both English and political science and a master's degree in negotiation, conflict resolution and peace building.
She will lead an organization that faces challenges.
The commission has seen its budget slashed in recent years as the state has wrestled with shrinking tax revenue. Two years ago state leaders discussed restructuring the commission or merging it with another department, but it remains a self-governing agency.
Flory said the commission continues to provide important technical and financial support to conservation districts around the state.
Its programs are voluntary and are carried out within a nonregulatory framework.
"We have very passionate people who really believe in what they do," Flory said. "It's impressive to see the passion and conviction in a nonregulatory environment."