JELL & ORIL Symposium Media

Drought in the American West
A Symposium on Law, Policy, and Science


Friday, September 25, 2015
Presented by the University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, and Oregon Review of International Law.

Water resources in the western United States are facing increasing scarcity in light of climate change, severe drought, over allocation and population growth.  The University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, Journal for Environmental Law and Litigation, and Oregon Review of International Law recently hosted Drought in the American West: A Symposium on Law, Policy, and Science, a day-long event exploring the western drought crisis. The event featured water resource experts from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds for a robust discussion to inform possible solutions to emerging challenges in the context of drought, including foundational issues addressing property rights and the role of governments in ensuring adequate water resources for current and future generations.

Full Agenda 


Dean Michael MoffittUniversity of Oregon School of Law

Opening Remarks

Senator Floyd Prozanski, Oregon State Senate

Current Drought Conditions in Oregon and State Initiatives

Lauri Aunan, Office of Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon

Drought Law 101 

Adell Amos, University of Oregon School of Law


Food, Agriculture, and Drought: 
Implications of water supply scarcity on food production and policy solutions at the federal, state and local levels.

Sarah Wald, University of Oregon English and Environmental Science Departments ​[Moderator] 

William Jaeger, Oregon State University, Department of Applied Economics
   Presentation Materials

Laurie Ristino, Vermont Law School, Center for Agriculture and Food Systems
   Presentation Materials

Nellie McAdams, Ecotrust - Food & Agricultural Systems Consultant
   Presentation Materials

Energy and Drought: 
The interrelationship between water availability and energy production, including the energy footprint of water distribution and the water footprint of energy production.

Jason Salmi Klotz, University of Oregon School of Law ​[Moderator] 

Lincoln Davies, University of Utah College of Law​

Kieran Connolly, Bonneville Power Administration
   Presentation Materials

Jason Eisdorfer, Oregon Public Utility Commission


Urban Water Use and Drought: 
The necessity of developing long-term planning tools for the growing demand of urban water supply, including the interrelationship between land use and water law.

Adell Amos, University of Oregon School of Law [Moderator] 
Michelle Bryan, University of Montana School of Law
Connie Ozawa, Portland State University, College of Urban & Public Affairs
   Presentation Materials

Planning for Drought and Managing Conflict: 
As western states face increasing cycles of drought, what are the processes needed to ensure appropriate planning while equitably resolving competing needs?

Due to technical difficulties we were unable to obtain an audio recording of this panel. 

Jennifer Reynolds, University of Oregon School of Law ​[Moderator] 

Janet Neuman, Tonkon Torp LLP

Amy Cordalis, Yurok Tribe Office of Tribal Attorney

Alyssa Mucken, Oregon Water Resources Department

Presentation Materials

International Comparisons of Drought​: 
Emerging drought cycles in the western United States have similarities and differences with water crises around the globe. What insights can we draw from the international arena to address changing needs over time?

Michelle McKinley, University of Oregon School of Law [Moderator]

Amy Hardberger, St. Mary's University School of Law
   Presentation Materials

Aaron Wolf, Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

David Takacs, University of California Hastings School of Law

Ecosystem Protection and Drought: 
In many areas of the West, management regimes leave insufficient in-stream flows for habitat protection and ecosystem protection. What principles should govern water allocation between human sectors and ecosystems in face of drought?

Mary Wood, University of Oregon School of Law ​[Moderator]  Presentation Materials

Sandra Zellmer, University of Nebraska College of Law
  Presentation Materials

Brett Brownscombe, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  Presentation Materials

Jonathan Smith, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

Lunch Keynote

Dr. Philip W. Mote is a professor in the College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University; director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) for the Oregon university system; and director of Oregon Climate Services, the official state climate office for Oregon. Dr. Mote's current research interests include scenario development, regional climate change, regional climate modeling with a superensemble generated by volunteers' personal computers, and adaptation to climate change. 

Closing Remarks

Holly Doremus is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation, Co-Director of the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment, and Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research at the University of California - Berkeley School of Law. Doremus is a leading scholar and teacher in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, and law and science. She will provide closing remarks about lessons learned from the symposium and more importantly, advice, and recommendations for future action. 
   Presentation Materials

For questions, please contact ENR Program Manager Emily Johnson at 541-346-1395 or

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