Replay available from our video archive

The Eighth Annual Comprehensive Conference on

Tribal Water in the Southwest

Key new developments for Tribal water rights and management, settlement processes and implementation, infrastructure development, and water marketing

Presented on May 20 & 21, 2021

Download PDF Brochure
Seminar Image

Program Overview

Who Should Order

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

Why You will Benefit from the Replay

As we embark on the beginnings of a new federal Administration in Washington and the tenure of the first Native American Secretary of Interior, change for the better is in the air. Throughout the West and in Indian Country there is an expectancy of significant improvements in Tribal-federal relationships and opportunities for reservation economic development. Tribal water rights, impacts of the changing climate, and environmental protections are front burner issues with this Administration and the Department.

This year we again have brought together a group of speakers well versed in the significant Tribal water issues in the Southwest, who will provide their insight in what has happened in the past year and how to navigate what is expected to occur in the next few years. Colorado River management negotiations are beginning among the stakeholders with significant tribal participation. It is crucial that these negotiations address the long-range consequences of reduced runoff and resulting shortages across the entire Basin for all users. Litigation of Tribal water rights is on the upswing to gain access to these dwindling water supplies before it is too late.

While the last Administration was remarkably successful in gaining congressional approval of several Tribal water settlements, there is much more work to do. Speakers from the Administration will provide updates on what has been accomplished and can be accomplished going forward.

This conference prides itself on offering lively and informative discussions with our speakers and we hope you will join us.

~ John C. Bezdek, Esq. of Water Power Law Group and John B. Weldon, Jr., Esq. of Salmon Lewis & Weldon, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Impact of the election on Tribal water rights, settlements, andr resource management
  • Climatological forecasts for near and long term water supplies
  • Water management issues in the Colorado River Basin:
  • ~ Status report on the Drought Contingency Plan
  • ~ The Fill Mead First proposal for minimizing evaporative and groundwater seepage losses
  • ~ Approaches currently being pursued by the Ducey Administration for getting the stakeholders onto common ground
  • National update on Tribal Water Rights Settlements
  • Settlement implementation case studies
  • Litigation update and case preparation strategies including building a solid record
  • Anticipating and resolving post litigation issues
  • Groundwater issues after Agua Caliente
  • Effective water marketing strategies forTribes

What Participants Said

  • Very good conference and agenda w/ professional speakers. Thank you for all the information
  • "Now I have a better understanding on how Tribal Water is a big issue and there are laws, settlements, and financial gates to get through. All the speakers and topics were very interesting."
  • "First experience attending this conference, I enjoyed it very much, a lot of information was shared."
  • Great speakers.

Agenda Day 1

9:00 am

Mountain Standard / Pacific Daylight Time: Introduction & Overview

John C. Bezdek, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Water Power Law Group / Washington, DC

John B. Weldon, Jr., Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Salmon Lewis & Weldon / Phoenix, AZ

9:15 am

Impact of the Election on Tribal Water Rights, Settlements, and Resource Management

What can we reasonably expect from Congress and the Department of the Interior?

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

9:45 am

Update on the Atmospheric Science: How Much Water Will Mother Nature be Supplying?

Climatological forecasts for near and long term water supplies

Erinanne Saffell, Ph.D. , Assistant State Climatologist for Arizona
Arizona State University / Tempe, AZ

10:15 am


10:30 am

Water Management Issues in the Colorado River Basin

The Fill Mead First proposal and the potential benefits of alternative management of Lake Mead and Lake Powell: what it could mean for tribes

Eric Balken , Executive Director
Glenn Canyon Institute / Salt Lake City, UT

Status report on the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) and the issues currently being addressed: Will we be seeing a shortage declaration coming around the bend?

Nicole Klobas, Esq. , Deputy Chief Counsel
Arizona Department of Water Resources / Phoenix, AZ

Lawrence Marquez , Native American Affairs Office Manager
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation / Glendale, AZ

12:00 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm

Special Address: Development of Solutions for the Lower Colorado River Basin

Pathways to getting the stakeholders onto common ground and the approaches currently being pursued by the Ducey Administration

Charles Podolak, Ph.D , Natural Resources Policy Advisor
Office of Governor Doug Ducey / Phoenix, AZ

1:45 pm

National Update on Tribal Water Rights Settlements

Overview of Tribal/state water settlements working their way through the Federal pipeline

Pamela S. Williams, Esq. , Director, Indian Water Rights Office
U.S. Department of the Interior / Phoenix, AZ

Joshua Mann, Esq. , Policy Analyst
Department of the Interior / Albuquerque, NM

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Implementation of Water Settlements

Case study of the Navajo/Utah settlement

Stanley M. Pollack, Esq. , Contract Attorney
Navajo Nation Department of Justice / Albuquerque, NM

Case study of the Aamodt Settlement: State and Tribal perspective on prioritizing use of additional funding when it comes in

Robert A. Mora, Sr. , Former Governor
Pueblo of Tesuque / Santa Fe, NM

John W. Utton
Utton & Kery, P.A. / Santa Fe, NM

5:00 pm

Adjourn Day 1

Friday, May 21, 2021

9:00 am

Mountain Standard / Pacific Daylight Time: Tribal Water Litigation Update

Nationally: Overview of state and federal cases impacting Tribal water

Heather Whiteman Runs Him, Esq. , Director, Tribal Justice Clinic
James E. Rogers College of Law / Tucson, AZ

Early-stage case study of the upcoming Navajo litigation: Tips for strategically planning the approach to the case

Jeffrey S. Leonard, Esq.
Sacks Tierney / Scottsdale, AZ

10:30 am


10:45 am

Building a Solid Record

Problems areas and strategy development for assembling the evidence you need to effectively pursue your case

Judith M. Dworkin, Esq.
Sacks Tierney / Scottsdale, AZ

Trying the first case under Gila V: Practical issues in applying Gila V to a real case

Colin F. Campbell, Esq.
Osborn Maledon / Phoenix, AZ

12:00 pm

Lunch Break

1:15 pm

Post Litigation Issues

Tips for identifying and addressing unresolved issues

Catherine F. Munson, Esq.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton / Washington, DC

2:00 pm

Groundwater Update

Where things are with groundwater as we sift through Agua Caliente?

Paul Stanton Kibel, Esq. , Co-Director, LLM Environmental Law Program
Golden Gate University School of Law / San Francisco, CA

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Effective Water Marketing Strategies

Marketing Tribal water rights: Update on current water markets and examples of water transactions by Colorado River Tribes

Brett Bovee , Rocky Mountain Regional Director
WestWater Research / Fort Collins, CO

Case study of the Lower Colorado River Indian Tribes' efforts to market their water

Margaret J. Vick, Ph.D., Esq.
Margaret J. Vick, PLC / Tempe, AZ

4:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

John C. Bezdek, John C. Bezdek, Program Co-Chair, is a shareholder at Water Power Law Group. He formerly served as Counselor to the Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior and as Deputy Director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office.

John B. Weldon, Jr., John B. Weldon, Jr., Program Co-Chair, is a founding member of Salmon Lewis & Weldon. His practice focuses on water law, natural resources litigation, environmental law, Indian law, and electric power and utilities.

Eric Balken, Eric Balken, Executive Director of the Glenn Canyon Institute (GCI), has been deeply involved with Colorado River policy for the past decade. The scientific research coordinated by GCI has generated nationwide discussion around the Fill Mead First proposal.

Brett Bovee Brett Bovee is the Rocky Mountain Regional Director for WestWater Research and has performed dozens of focused water right valuation studies and broader economic and water market analyses. This includes studies focused on water valuation, comprehensive water planning, irrigated agriculture, scenario modeling, and water project feasibility.

Colin F. Campbell returned to Osborn Maledon after serving as a judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court for 17 years, including five as Presiding Judge. He has had extensive trial experience from both sides of the bench.

Judith M. Dworkin Judith M. Dworkin is the managing shareholder at Sacks Tierney and leads the firm's Indian Law and Tribal Relations practice group. She is the Presiding Appellate Justice of the Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community Council Court and has served as a judge pro tem for the Tohono O'odham Nation and a special judge to the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Tribe in Nevada as well as a Solicitor to the Hualapai Tribe.

Jason T. Hauter Jason T. Hauter is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He primarily represents Indian tribes and Tribally owned enterprises, advising on a variety of matters including Indian water rights. He has served as in-house counsel for the Gila Indian River Community.

Paul Stanton Kibel is Co-Director, LLM Environmental Law Program at Golden Gate University School of Law. He is a former partner at Fitzgerald, Abbott & Beardsley LLP in the environmental/land use practice group. His recent publications include Riverflow: The Right to Keep Water Instream.

Nicole Klobas Nicole Klobas is Deputy Chief Counsel for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. She represents the Department in matters related to the Colorado River and serves as counsel to the Arizona Water Banking Authority. Ms. Klobas participated in negotiations of the 2007 Lower Basin State Forbearance Agreement and other documents associated with the 2007 Interim Guidelines on behalf of the Department.

Jeffrey S. Leonard, Sacks Tierney, is recognized in the Phoenix legal community as an accomplished and experienced civil trial lawyer and litigator in state and federal courts. His trial experience includes a wide variety of business and commercial cases.

Joshua Mann is a Policy Analyst in the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior. He previously served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission.

Lawrence Marquez Lawrence Marquez is Native American Affairs Office Manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Phoenix area office. As the NAAO Manager, he serves as the official representative of the NAAO providing a direct point of contact for Tribes throughout Arizona to address tribal needs and to ensure consistency in Reclamation/Tribal relationships. He also serves as the Federal Team Chair for multiple water rights negotiation and implementation teams.

Robert A. Mora, Sr. is Former Governor of the Pueblo of Tesuque. It is one of the pueblos benefiting from the Aamodt Settlement, which recently received additional funding.

Catherine F. Munson Catherine F. Munson is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and co-leader of the Native American Affairs practice. She specializes in water-related litigation and in advising clients on water matters, including water marketing, leasing, storage, protection of water quality, water regulation, and code drafting.

Charles Podolak is th Charles Podolak is th e Natural Resources Policy Advisor in the Office of Governor Doug Ducey. He joined the Governor's Office from the Salt River Project, where he serves as Director of Water Rights and Contracts. Prior to this position, he served as the Natural Resources Policy Advisor for Senator Jeff Flake.

Stanley M. Pollack Stanley M. Pollack is a Contract Attorney for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. He has represented the Navajo Nation since 1985 in all matters affecting the tribe's water resources and although he has been "retired" for a few years he remains an integral and busy member of the team. He negotiated the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act recently approved by the Senate. He currently is engaged in negotiations and litigation of the Navajo Nation's Colorado River claims in Arizona.

Erinanne Saffell, Ph.D., Erinanne Saffell, Ph.D., is the Assistant State Climatologist for Arizona at Arizona State University. Her climatological research focuses on understanding risk, vulnerability, and resilience associated with extreme weather and climate events.

John W. Utton John W. Utton is a water lawyer and partner in the Santa Fe, New Mexico office of Utton & Kery, P.A., where his primary responsibilities include water rights administrative law and water planning, federal and state water rights litigation, including stream system adjudications. For the last two decades he has represented Santa Fe County in the Aamodt stream system adjudication, including negotiation and approvals of the Settlement Agreement with the four Pueblos in the Pojoaque Basin. He also represented the State of New Mexico in the Navajo Nation settlement in the San Juan Adjudication. Before entering private practice, John served as an assistant attorney general under New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall, from 1992 to 1995, and before that as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico, to the Honorable James A. Parker, 1990 to 1992. He received his J.D. from Stanford University and his B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia.

Margaret J. Vick, Margaret J. Margaret J. Vick, Margaret J. Vick PLC, has more than 20 years of experience working with elected and appointed government officers on complex cross-jurisdictional issues. She serves as Special Counsel for Water Resources for the Colorado River Indian Tribes and as Special Counsel to the Havasupai Tribe.

Heather Whiteman Runs Him Heather Whiteman Runs Him is Director of the Tribal Justice Clinic at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law. She previously was a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and joint lead counsel at the Crow Tribe Office of Executive Counsel.

Pamela S. Williams Pamela S. Williams is the Director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Her duties include coordinating Indian water right settlement issues among the Department's agencies, providing policy advice to officials at the highest levels of the Department and supervising Water Rights Office staff who oversee, coordinate, and manage Federal negotiation, implementation, and assessment teams that the Department has in place throughout the western United States.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: 11.75 AZ MCLE | 12.00 CA MCLE | 11.70 NM MCLE | 11.75 ABCEP environmental professional | 11.75 AICP planner. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

I appreciate LSI's seamless segue from registration, an informative seminar, to end result.