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Environmental Law Society Convenes Conversation about Future of California’s Water

November 12, 2013

On Nov. 5, the Environmental Law Society (ELS) hosted “Striking a Balance: The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and the Future of California’s Water,” engaging practitioners, students, and alumni in a conversation about the controversial BDCP, which is slated to be released in December 2013.

The event began with a presentation by Gerald Meral, deputy director of the California Natural Resources Agency, the agency that drafted the BDCP. It continued with Richard Roos-Collins, one of the state’s preeminent water law practitioners and an adjunct professor of Water and Natural Resources Law at USF, posing a series of questions to panelists who represented a range of stakeholders with differing perspectives on the upcoming BDCP. Panelists included Kate Poole, senior attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council, Steve Rothert, regional director of the California office of American Rivers, and Ara Azhederian, water policy administrator at the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

From left to right: Derek Sagehorn (ELS Outreach Coordinator), Adjunct Prof. Richard Roos-Collins, Ara Azhderian, Gerald Meral, Steve Rothert, Kate Poole, Michael Hewitt, and Prof. Alice Kaswan.

Prof. Alice Kaswan said, “With the expert guidance of water law expert Richard Roos-Collins, the panelists illuminated the diverse views of their constituencies, whether water users, state agencies, or environmental interests, with clarity and civility—and in a manner that should be a model for the intense and passionate debates about the BDCP that loom ahead.”

“This event was a great opportunity for our members to meet current practitioners in the field and interact with them in a professional setting. ELS’ goal is to provide many opportunities like this for our members to create the networks needed to develop their individual career paths,” said Michael Hewitt 2L, president of the USF Environmental Law Society. “We chose to highlight the BDCP because of its significant impacts on California's water supply and fragile natural habitats.” Hewitt noted that the event also provides a preview for the January 2014 California Water Law Symposium, an annual event organized collaboratively by students at Bay Area law schools, including USF.

The event was also sponsored by USF's newly launched Environmental Law Student and Alumni Society and the Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Section.