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In 1992, Hobbs Straus assisted the Cochiti Pueblo of New Mexico in securing a legislative settlement of its claim for destruction of tribal crop lands flooded by seepage from the Cochiti Dam.

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2nd Annual Advanced Conference on Tribal Water in California

Law Seminars International Presents:
The Second Annual Advanced Conference on

Tribal Water in California

New legal and policy developments, sovereignty, settlements, resources and opportunities

March 17 & 18, 2014
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, CA


Who Should Attend

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

Why You Should Attend

Tribal water rights have become an increasingly important issue in California at both the local and state level. This is especially so in water-scarce areas of California where Tribes' Winters Doctrine reserved rights, as well as water rights protected under state law, come into play. 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. The conference will also build on last year's discussion of alternatives for Tribes to consider in the use and development of their water rights, whether arising under federal or state law, including recommendations for changes in state law or policy that would enable Tribes to have an appropriate role in local water planning decisions. Finally, the conference will provide an update of recent Indian water rights settlements, and will examine the significant interplay between energy and water policy in terms of water consumption and potential water contamination. 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.

~ Program Co-Chairs: Stephen V. Quesenberry, Esq. of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP and Mark St. Angelo, Esq. of Morongo Band of Mission Indians

What You Will Learn

  • Tribal water law 101: The basics of Indian reserved water rights
  • BIA Water Rights Updates
  • Tribal groundwater rights in California
  • Case studies of recent and attempted settlements of disputes over Tribal water rights: The importance of unique historical and physical characteristics
  • Rural water programs and ecosystem restoration developments
  • Updates on the lower Colorado River Basin water dispute
  • Issues at the intersection of California state water law initiatives and Tribal water rights
  • New developments arising from consumption of water by new energy projects: What is the interplay between energy policy and water policy?
  • Legal and technical considerations for addressing off-reservation pumping and recharge that affects the quality of Tribal water