Commission Members

Washington State Conservation Commission consists of a 10-member governing board representing Governor appointees, state agencies, and conservation districts.

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Larry Cochran

Chair, Eastern Washington Representative

Commissioner Larry Cochran was elected to serve on the Conservation Commission in December 2015. He is also chair of the Palouse Conservation District. He’s a third generation farmer and runs Cochran Farms in Colfax.

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Cherie Kearney

Vice Chair, Governor Appointee

Commissioner Cherie Kearney serves as one of the governor-appointed representatives of the state Conservation Commission. She is also the forestry conservation director at the Columbia Land Trust, where she puts her collaborative spirit toward conserving working forestland and large landscapes. She's often heading up conservation projects that initially seem complex—or even impossible. Commissioner Kearney is also a runner, boater, hiker, sailor, and all-around adventurer.

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Brook Beeler

Washington State Department of Ecology

Brook has served as Ecology’s Eastern Region Director since 2019 and has been with the agency since 2005. Growing up in a small farming community just southeast of Spokane gave her a strong connection to the land and environment. She has fond memories of spring calves, alfalfa fields, and helping barn cats find mice in hay stacks. Brook studied Biology at Whitworth University and was called to environmental and science education to help student understanding of natural systems. Throughout her career, her work has centered around building collaborative partnerships through community outreach and education, strategic communications, and facilitating conversations about shared values that lead to achieving environmental goals. Brook lives in Spokane with her family, which includes a few city chickens.

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Dr. Dani Gelardi

Department of Agriculture

Dani Gelardi is the Senior Soil Scientist and Climate Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, where she leads soil and climate efforts for the agency including the Washington Soil Health Initiative. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Washington State University in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Dani received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Soils & Biogeochemistry from UC Davis as a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Fellow, and her B.S. from UC Berkeley. Her research program encompasses soil health, biochar, conservation practice adoption, agricultural climate resilience, and carbon accounting in working lands. When Dani isn’t working, she’s reading science fiction, gardening, or adventuring with her dog.

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Jim Kropf

WSU Extension

Jim Kropf joined the Commission in 2010, representing Washington State University (WSU) Extension. Jim has been a faculty member of WSU Extension since 1979, serving as an Extension educator on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Stevens County, Douglas and Chelan Counties, and Pierce and King Counties. He served as the Western District Director for WSU Extension from 1999 through 2010 and currently serves as the Extension Natural Resources Program Director. His Extension work primarily has focused on the production of agronomic and horticultural crops, agricultural marketing, and water quality. A Washington native, Jim grew up in Pierce County and has a B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy from Washington State University.

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Dean Longrie, Ph.D

Western Washington Representative

Commissioner Longrie serves as the Conservation District Western Representative on the Commission. He also serves on the Board of Supervisors at Clark Conservation District.

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Mike Mumford

Washington Association of Conservation Districts

Mike grew up in Southwestern Michigan on a sixty plus acre hobby farm (though if pressed, he’ll admit it was more work than hobby). The farm had a small commercial asparagus operation and for a while his dad ran a sixty head pig business. There were always two to three Holstein steers hanging around; all of the corn and alfalfa used to feed the steers was grown on the farm. Besides picking asparagus he earned spending money picking raspberries, grapes and helping bale hay for local dairy farmers.  Mike graduated from Michigan Technological University with a bachelor of science degree in forestry. He worked for almost thirty years for the U.S. Forest Service as a small sales/salvage sales forester, a presale forester/logging systems specialist as well as in various positions within the Fire and Aviation Management division ending his career doing resource protection work. When he was stationed on the Paisley Ranger District of the Fremont National Forest he gained experience with large scale beef cattle operations including how to navigate a rig through a 1,000 head of cattle being driven down a state highway! Because of his forestry knowledge Mike was asked in October 2015 to join the Pend Oreille Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, and in June of 2019 joined the Washington Association of Conservation Districts as an Area Director; he currently serves as the Association’s President. Mike’s interests are small farm operations (including farmer’s markets), small woodlot management, wildfire prevention/protection especially in the wildland urban interface and wildfire smoke intrusion into populated areas.

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Wade Troutman

Central Washington Representative

For over 40 years, Commissioner Troutman has been a supervisor for the Foster Creek Conservation District. Wade was a former president of WACD, has served on the NACD executive board and has received numerous conservation awards. A fourth generation family farmer, the family farm is located near Bridgeport, Washington. The farm produces dryland wheat, canola, yellow split peas, and sunflowers. Over half the farm is dedicated to shrub step habitat. The abundance of wildlife include both sage and sharp tail grouse, muledeer, antelope, coyote, wolves, and over 200 species of birds. He is currently participating with WSU and ARS on preventing herbicide resistant weeds by creating alternative cropping systems for large scale, regenerative-ag practices that will work in the dry land areas of Eastern Washington

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Daryl Williams

Governor Appointee

Governor Jay Inslee appointed Daryl Williams to the Commission in 2015. Commissioner Williams is a Tulalip Tribal member and works part-time for the Tulalip Tribes as an environmental consultant. Prior to that he had worked for the Tribe as an employee for about 40 years and has a B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College of Missouri.  He is also the President of Qualco Energy, which is a partnership organization comprised of the Tulalip Tribes, Northwest Chinook Recovery, and the Werkhoven Dairy. Qualco operates a dairy digester to help improve nutrient management for the dairy and protect water quality for fish and wildlife.

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Karen Zirkle

Department of Natural Resources

Karen has served as DNR’s Assistant Division Manager in Forest Practices, working with Small Forest Landowners and Policy since 2022 and has been with the agency since 2013 working in Wildland Fire and State Environmental Policy Act programs. Growing up on Puget Sound she has a strong connection to the saltwater, loves anything outdoors including fishing, hiking, camping, boating and on and on. Prior to work at DNR she worked at both the Washington Military Department and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) working directly with the great work of conservation districts on different restoration projects. Karen studied biology at the University of Washington and immediately entered state government work, with the best title being Chronic Environmental Deficiency Coordinator. Throughout her career, her work has centered around large and small project management, policy and ultimately building strong collaborative partnerships with stakeholders of varying backgrounds. Karen lives in Yelm with her husband and black lab, Harley Quinn.