(1) The Nebraska Natural Resources Commission is established. The commission shall advise the department as requested by the director and shall perform such other functions as are specifically conferred on the commission by law. The commission shall have no jurisdiction over matters pertaining to water rights.
(2) The voting members of the commission, all of whom shall have attained the age of majority, shall be:
(a) One resident of each of the following river basins, with delineations being those on the Nebraska river basin map officially adopted by the commission and on file with the department: (i) The Niobrara River, White River, and Hat Creek basin, (ii) the North Platte River basin, (iii) the South Platte River basin, (iv) the middle Platte River basin, (v) the lower Platte River basin, (vi) the Loup River basin, (vii) the Elkhorn River basin, (viii) the Missouri tributaries basin, (ix) the Republican River basin, (x) the Little Blue River basin, (xi) the Big Blue River basin, and (xii) the Nemaha River basin;
(b) One additional resident of each river basin which encompasses one or more cities of the metropolitan class; and
(c) Fourteen members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Legislature. Of the members appointed by the Governor, one shall represent each of the following categories: Agribusiness interests; agricultural interests; ground water irrigators; irrigation districts; manufacturing interests; metropolitan utilities districts; municipal users of water from a city of the primary class; municipal users of water from a city of the first or second class or a village; outdoor recreation users; public power districts; public power and irrigation districts; range livestock owners; surface water irrigators; and wildlife conservation interests.
(3) Members of the commission described in subdivision (2)(a) of this section shall be selected for four-year terms at individual caucuses of the natural resources district directors residing in the river basin from which the member is selected. Such caucuses shall be held for each basin within ten days following the first Thursday after the first Tuesday of the year the term of office of the member from that basin expires. The dates and locations for such caucuses shall be established by the commission, and the commission shall provide notice to the public by issuing press releases for publication in a newspaper of general circulation in each county that comprises the river basin for which a caucus election will be held. Terms of office of such members shall follow the sequence originally determined by the river basin representatives to the commission at their first meeting on the third Thursday after the first Tuesday in January 1975. All river basin members shall take office on the third Thursday after the first Tuesday in January following their selection and any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by a caucus held within thirty days following the date such vacancy is created. Each member of the commission representing a river basin shall qualify by filing with the other members of the commission an acceptance in writing of his or her selection.
(4) Members of the commission described in subdivision (2)(b) of this section shall be residents of natural resources districts which encompass one or more cities of the metropolitan class and shall be selected in the same manner, at the same time, and for a four-year term having the same term sequence as provided for the other members from such basin under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) For members of the commission described in subdivision (2)(c) of this section:
(a) The Governor shall appoint the eleven additional members added by Laws 2014, LB1098, within thirty days after April 17, 2014. The eleven additional appointments shall be for staggered four-year terms, as determined by the Governor. The Governor shall also set the terms of the current members of the commission appointed under such subdivision and serving on April 17, 2014, to staggered four-year terms. Future appointments shall be for four-year terms. Members whose terms have expired shall continue to serve until their successors have been appointed. In the case of a vacancy, the Governor shall appoint a successor for the unexpired term. Members may be removed for cause. Initial appointees shall begin serving immediately following notice of appointment, except that the member appointed representing municipal users of water from the class of city or a village that is being represented by the current member representing municipal users of water and the members representing surface water irrigators and ground water irrigators shall not begin serving until the term of the current member representative of the category expires or such member resigns or is otherwise removed; and
(b) In appointing such members, the Governor shall:
(i) Create a broad-based commission which has knowledge of, has experience with, and is representative of Nebraska's water use and economy;
(ii) Give recognition to the importance of both water quantity and water quality; and
(iii) Appoint members who represent diverse geographic regions of the state, including urban and rural areas, and represent, to the extent possible, the racial and ethnic diversity of the state.
(6) After the members have been appointed as required under this section, the commission shall revise or adopt and promulgate rules and regulations as necessary to administer the Water Sustainability Fund pursuant to sections 2-1506 to 2-1513.