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October 8, 2010

Northwest Water Law Symposium to Take Place October 9

 
Now in its second year, the Northwest Water Law Symposium (NW-WLS) will welcome lawyers, scientists, government officials, and students to share information and strategies to further the understanding and policy goals of water law. The symposium will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, October 9, at the University of Oregon in Portland.
 
The NW-WLS is a student-run consortium of law schools throughout the Northwest, including the University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark College, Willamette University, University of Washington, University of Idaho, and the University of Montana.
 
Between 100 and 200 participants are expected to attend the symposium that will explore a variety of topics impacting the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Law Professor and current Deputy Solicitor for Land and Water Resources Adell Amos will present the day’s keynote address titled, “The Role of the Department of the Interior in U.S. Water Law and Policy.”
 
The day’s panel discussions include:
 
Ballast Water Permitting

Ballast water is responsible for introducing non-native species into Northwest aquatic ecosystems. Non-native species can adversely impact the economy, the environment, and cause harm to human health. Panelists, representing legal, regulatory, and scientific perspectives, will discuss the progress and limitations of controlling the introduction of invasive species through ballast water permitting.

 
Enforcement, Science and Deference
Science plays a crucial role in the enforcement of water laws. The deference and weight given to science can determine the outcome of litigation. Panelists will discuss the current issues involved with building a case for water violations and propose viable solutions or improvements.
 
The State of Our Oceans
The success of coastal management requires improved understanding of existing laws and regulations, including gaps and overlaps resulting from fragmented management. Local and state governments must cooperate with federal regulators and adhere to federal coastal management laws. In addition, federal agencies must give deference to the primacy of state decision-making. Join this panel for a look at how competing interests and jurisdictions can work together to preserve our coastal resources.
 
Water Wars: Quantity, Drought and Privatization
“Many of the wars of the 20th century were about oil, but wars of the 21st century will be over water.” –Isamil Serageldin, World Bank Vice President. So what will become of the pristine waters of the Northwest?
 
Tribal Rights
In section 15 of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, the United States offered assurances that it would subordinate tribal water and fishing rights to certain irrigation water diversions from the river. Two tribes with recognized fishing rights (and one without such rights) acceded to the proposed division of water between diversion and instream flow uses. Three other tribes of the Klamath River Basin refused to agree, citing Solicitor opinions that require the United States to give priority to tribal water and fish flow uses. The Interior Department drafted the following provision for federal legislation, which has not yet been introduced, which would limit the government’s duties to the unconsenting tribes and allottees, as well as to the consenting, tribes. Is this limitation of federal trust duties to protect the rights of unconsenting Indian tribes a “termination” provision?
 
Grazing and Water Quality
Is livestock grazing compatible with good water quality (and good fish habitat)? How do we reconcile the competing needs of ranchers and water quality? Cows dump urine and fecal coliform directly in streams, and trample streambanks and stunt riparian vegetation that leads to excessive sedimentation, higher water temperatures, and a loss of good fish habitat, often on streams that are already listed as impaired under CWA 303(d). Discussion will focus on recent litigation regarding grazing under the CWA, ESA and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and additional ideas for change.
 
For more information and to register for this event, visit the NW-WLS webpage.
 
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