Law Seminars International Presents: The Third Annual Advanced Conference on

Tribal Water Law in California
How federally reserved water rights interface with the state's new regulatory scheme and groundwater law; protecting Tribal interests in the new water-scarce and regulatory environment

November 12 & 13, 2015
Harrah's Resort Southern California in Valley Center, CA
Anyplace you may be via webcast!

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Who Should Attend

Attorneys, Tribal, local, state and federal governmental representatives, environmental professionals, business executives, water users and their representatives

Why You Should Attend

The severe drought in California and the new State groundwater law are major factors that serve to highlight the increasing significance of Tribal water rights and Tribal governments in discussions regarding water availability, conservation and regulation in California. The Tribes' Winters Doctrine reserved rights, as well as water rights protected under state law, come into play with respect to both surface water and groundwater. Tribal reserved water rights with early priority dates have been at the forefront in a number of federal and state licensing and resource allocation proceedings in which Tribal fishing rights dependent on adequate stream flows for their exercise are involved (as in the Klamath, Trinity and Eel River basins). Because many of these Tribal water rights have been unquantified, the past approach has often been to simply ignore them until a Tribe or the United States actively asserts the Tribe's rights. More recently, state and local governments and water agencies have begun to recognize that consideration of Tribal water rights is essential to the development of effective policies for water resource protection, development and allocation in many areas of California.

This comprehensive conference will present an overview of the federal and California law governing Tribal water rights, with specific attention to the interplay of those rights and the challenges facing all water users in California. In this regard, the conference will highlight the findings of recent hydrologic modeling studies documenting depletion of underground water reserves in California, the policy development initiatives being considered in response, and why consideration of Indian water rights is critical to the success of these initiatives. California's reliance on groundwater increases substantially during a drought. This conference will focus attention on tribal governments that are grappling with the drought and the new State laws regulating groundwater as they develop strategies to protect and preserve their water rights and access to water sources. Specifically, how federally reserved water rights interface with the state's new regulatory scheme and existing state groundwater law, and how tribal interests and concerns can be advanced in this new water-scarce and regulatory environment.

Throughout the conference, we will explore ways in which Tribes, local governments and water agencies can work cooperatively to ensure an adequate and sustained supply of water for mutually beneficial uses into the future. We hope you can join us.

~Program Co-Chairs: Timothy C. Seward, Esq., Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP and Denise Turner Walsh, Esq., Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians

What You Will Learn


Thursday, November 12, 2015

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction and Overview

Timothy C. Seward, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP / Sacramento, CA

Denise Turner Walsh, Esq., Program Co-Chair, Attorney General
Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians / Valley Center, CA

8:45 am

California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Follow Up on Legislation with an impact on Tribes

Provisions and developments with the greatest impact on the interplay between state management initiatives and Tribal water rights

The Hon. Cynthia Gomez, Tribal Advisor, Office of the Governor
State of California, The Governor's Office of the Tribal Advisor / Sacramento, CA

Current provisions and progress towards local entity management of groundwater basins and sub-basins pursuant to a sustainable groundwater management plan

Erik Ekdahl, Ph.D., Groundwater Management Program Manager
California EPA, State Water Resources Control Board / Sacramento, CA

Update on the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Tribal Consultation Policy

Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor
California Department of Water Resources / Sacramento, CA

10:30 am


10:45 am

Related 2015 Legislation with Potential Impacts on Tribes

The Water Bond: Opportunities for planning and project funding; potential issues for Tribes regarding disbursements to other entities

Sandra L. Schubert, Esq.
Somach Simmons & Dunn / Sacramento, CA

AB 52: Establishing Tribal cultural resources as a new category of environmental impacts that must be considered under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and new requirements for consultation with Tribes; interplay with water bond projects

Michelle L. LaPena, Esq.
LaPena Law Corporation / Sacramento, CA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Fact-Based Planning: Current Developments in Groundwater Geohydrology Science and Engineering

Quantifying subsurface flows and the boundary between surface and groundwater, the impacts of groundwater wells, aquifer-scale analysis, and related topics

Lindsay A. Swain, P.G., Principal Geohydrologist
GEOSCIENCE Support Services, Inc. / Claremont, CA

2:00 pm

Groundwater Assessments and Identification of Priority Basins

Impact of the drought and the current status of groundwater Basins in California; how to identify where your basin is on the priority list; importance of knowing whether water rights have been adjudicated for the basin

Walter E. Rusinek, Esq.
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP / San Diego, CA

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Water Rights Conflicts in Times of Drought: Physical vs. Legal Availability of Water

Issues arising from the combination of prior appropriation rights for groundwater and reasonable use for surface water; role of the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring program; junior rights delivery calls and how the process works

David Sandino, Esq., Chief Counsel
California Department of Water Resources / Sacramento, CA

3:30 pm

Tools for Tribes for Using the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act to Protect Tribal Waters: Issues at the Intersection of Surface Water and Groundwater Quality

EPA as the enforcer of Indian Health Service (IHS) involvement in protecting drinking water wells: Strategies for addressing groundwater issues through regulation of surface water

Jill Elise Grant, Esq.
Jill Grant & Associates, LLC / Washington, DC

How the agencies work together; available funding for Tribal domestic water systems and tips for accessing it

Sean Bush, District Engineer, Escondido District
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service / Escondido, CA

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP and Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians


Friday, November 13, 2015

8:30 am

Introduction to Day 2

Timothy C. Seward, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP / Sacramento, CA

Denise Turner Walsh, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians / Valley Center, CA

8:45 am

New Developments Involving the Interplay Between Western States' Prior-Appropriation Water Laws and Indian Reserved Water Rights

Update on recent litigation involving the Winters Doctrine and Tribal reserved rights; the McCarran Amendment waiving federal sovereign immunity for the adjudication of federal water rights and resulting state regulatory authority

Stephanie Zehren-Thomas, Esq.
Hester & Zehren, LLC / Louisville, CO

Case study of the Agua Caliente litigation including the process, decisions, and what happens next

Heather Whiteman Runs Him, Esq., Staff Attorney
Native American Rights Fund / Boulder, CO

10:00 am


10:15 am

Getting Your Ducks in a Row: Tips for Quantifying Tribal Water Rights

A lawyer and expert work through the options for quantifying rights, including alternative methodologies for Tribes with small land bases or little irrigational land, and the impact of federally reserved rights vs. removal of trust status

Thomas P. Schlosser, Esq.
Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak & Somerville / Seattle, WA

Joe Ely, Tribal Project Coordinator, Director of Indian Project Development
Stetson Engineers Inc. / Chandler, AZ

11:30 am

Maximizing the Value of Water Supplies from a Tribal Point of View

Opportunities and limitations for selling water; innovative approaches to marketing Indian water

Jason T. Hauter, Esq.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP / Washington, DC

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Tribal Participation in the State's Processes for Development of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and Plans (GSPs)

Overview of the process; tips for anticipating the issues that may arise and developing Tribal strategies for participaing in the processes including the importance of getting involved before the train leaves the station

Stephen V. Quesenberry, Esq.
Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP / Berkeley, CA

2:15 pm

Resolving Groundwater Rights Disputes

California state processes for adjudicating disputes over basin boundaries and individual rights within basins; of scope state authority to quantify Tribal rights; tips for effective Tribal participation

Colin Cloud Hampson, Esq.
Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP / San Diego, CA

Settlements involving groundwater: Trends and lessons from around the country; implications of the Department of Justice's recent push for settlements as a way to achieve greater certainty for Tribes and their neighbors

Edmund Clay Goodman, Esq.
Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP / Portland, OR

3:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn


Time Shift Your Content

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Regular tuition for in person or webcast attendance for this program is $895 with a group rate of $670 each for two or more registrants from the same firm. For government employees, we offer a special rate of $595. For students, people in their job for less than a year, and public interest NGO's, our rate is $447.50. All rates include admission to all seminar sessions, food and beverages at breaks, and all course materials. Make checks payable to Law Seminars International.

Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Contact our office for more information.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: Law Seminars International is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. This program qualifies for 12 California MCLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


The conference will be held at the Harrah's Resort Southern California at 777 Valley Center Rd. in Valley Center, CA 92082. Call the hotel directly at (760) 751-3100 for reservations at the special negotiated rate of $89 and mention that you are attending a Law Seminars International conference. Rooms are on a first come, first served basis.
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Cancellation & Substitution

You may substitute another person at any time. We will refund tuition, less a $50 cancellation fee, if we receive your cancellation by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2015. After that time, we will credit your tuition toward attendance at another program or the purchase of a Homestudy.

Faculty Bios

Timothy C. Seward, Program Co-Chair, partner, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, assists Indian Tribes in their efforts to enhance, preserve, and protect their nationhood and to provide for the health, safety, and well-being of Tribal citizens. Previously, he was General Counsel for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

Denise Turner Walsh, Program Co-Chair, Attorney General, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, focuses on the development of the Tribe's legal infrastructure to assert and protect the Tribe's sovereignty and right to self-government. She also works to secure the Tribe's commercial footing in gaming, real estate development and investment-related transactions.

Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor, California Department of Water Resources, provides policy support and recommendations regarding Tribal issues. Previously, she was Native American Liaison and Manager of the Office of Legislative and External Affairs and the Office of Health Access at the Department of Health Care Services.

Sean Bush is District Engineer of the Escondido District for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service.

Erik Ekdahl, Ph.D., is Groundwater Management Program Manager, Office of Research, Planning and Performance for the California EPA, State Water Resources Control Boad.

Joe Ely, Tribal Project Coordinator and Director of Indian Project Development with Stetson Engineers Inc., is the former Tribal Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and is experienced in Indian water rights quantification and establishment.

The Hon. Cynthia Gomez, Tribal Advisor, Office of the Governor, State of California, advises on Tribal governments and the implementation of effective government-to-government consultation between the Governor's Administration and California Tribes on policies that affect California Tribal communities.

Edmund Clay Goodman, partner, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, is experienced with Indian issues. In December 2011 he was named the first "Lawyer of the Year" by the National American Indian Housing Council.

Jill Elise Grant, of Jill Grant & Associates, LLC, is an attorney in Washington, D.C. who focuses on the development, implementation, and enforcement of Tribal environmental laws and programs and on associated administrative and appellate litigation.

Colin Cloud Hampson, Program Co-Chair, partner, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP, focuses on all areas of Indian law practice, including Indian gaming, environmental, water and tax and has represented Tribes in litigation in federal, Tribal and state courts.

Jason T. Hauter, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, advises clients regarding American Indian law and policy. Previously, he was in-house counsel for the Gila River Indian Community, representing the community on economic development, construction, taxation and internal policy.

Michelle L. LaPena, LaPena Law Corporation, is experienced in Tribal gaming regulation, cultural resource protection, Indian child welfare, Tribal taxation, administrative law and general civil litigation involving Tribal governments. She is also involved in developing statewide policy on cultural resource protection, implementation of Proposition 215, Tribal taxation, Tribal consultation and gaming regulation.

Stephen V. Quesenberry, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, has represented Tribes and individual Indians on a range of issues. Previously, he was Director of Litigation for California Indian Legal Services.

Walter E. Rusinek, senior counsel, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, is experienced in environmental, natural resource and Native American law, counseling and defending clients and interacting with federal, state and local environmental and energy regulatory agencies.

David Sandino, Chief Counsel, California Department of Water Resources, works on water, environmental, and energy issues for the Department. Previously, he was lead counsel for the California Reclamation Board, which is responsible for flood control protection in the Central Valley.

Thomas P. Schlosser, Director, Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak & Somerville, specializes in federal litigation, natural resource and Indian Tribal property issues, Tribal economic development and environmental regulation matters. He was an officer and founding member of the Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association.

Sandra L. Schubert, Somach Simmons & Dunn, is experienced in water rights, agricultural and land use issues, as well as climate and food safety issues. Previously, she was Undersecretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Lindsay A. Swain, Principal Geohydrologist, GEOSCIENCE Support Services, Inc., is experienced in hydrologic environments from desert to rain forest throughout the United States. Recently he has been preparing Water District data for the new California Groundwater Sustainability Law implementation.

Heather Whiteman Runs Him, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund, focuses on Tribal water rights and natural resource issues. Previously, she served as Joint Lead Counsel for the Crow Tribe of Montana.

Stephanie Zehren-Thomas is co-founder of Hester & Zehren, LLC, a law firm in Louisville, CO, practicing in Indian and Native Populations law.

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