The Board of Advisors includes leaders in the water resources community who are dedicated to improving the management and outcomes of general stream adjudications and other complex water-related litigation.
Publications by the Board of Advisors
The Dividing the Waters Program of The National Judicial College expresses its thanks to the members of the Board of Advisors who participated in developing these papers on water. Their commitment to improving adjudication of complex water litigation remains a model for the entire water law community.
Mitigating the Exercise of Water Rights and Water Use: A White Paper on Questions Judges May Consider
Adam Gravley is a partner with Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr, LLP in Seattle, Washington. The law firm concentrates in the areas of energy, environment, natural resources, real estate and land use, and governmental relations. Mr. Gravley’s practice focuses on water rights and resources, real estate, and civil litigation. He has represented municipalities in the Yakima River basin general stream adjudication, in appeals of water permitting decisions, and in litigation contesting the constitutionality of state water legislation. He assists business clients in acquiring project water supply and serves investors as diligence and strategic counsel. Mr. Gravley also represents public agency and private clients in legislation and policy development, in complex project planning and development, and in multi-party mediation, settlement, and negotiations.
Mr. Gravley is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Water Resources Committee, co-chair of the ABA Water Law Conference, and President of the American Water Resources Association (Washington Chapter), and he is a frequent speaker and co-chair at water law seminars. Mr. Gravley earned his bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College, master’s degree from Brown University, and Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.
Sarah A. KlahnCo-Chair
Sarah Klahn is a shareholder at Somach Simmons & Dunn in Denver, CO. Sarah represents municipalities, ranchers and private entities in Colorado, New Mexico and Idaho, for whom she has tried cases of first impression, settled large complex matters with durable negotiated solutions, and won appeals in both Idaho and Colorado Supreme Courts. In addition to her expertise in water law, she has also litigated cases involving the extent of agency authority, state/federal jurisdictional questions, water quality, municipal law and Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) issues.
She was an expert witness in the Colorado redistricting case Hall v. Moreno. Recently, she was selected as the first hearing officer for the Truckee River Operating Agreement, which provides for prospective means to resolve disputes under this complex agreement dividing up the waters of the Truckee and Tahoe basins.
Sarah also makes time to give back to her profession in various writing and speaking engagements; annually she is also the editor of the Water Law Chapter of Colorado Methods of Practice, editor of the RMMLF Mining Law chapter on water rights, and is one of the co-authors of Law of Water Resource Utilization to be published by the ABA in 2018.
In her off hours, Sarah stays immersed in the water world — over the summer, she pursues long distance marathon swimming and has completed several 10k races. She will swim the width of Lake Tahoe in 2018. During the winter months, Sarah takes snow water equivalent measurements during backcountry telemark ski expeditions
Ms. Klahn earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, master’s degree from Colorado State University, and Juris Doctor from the University of Wyoming, College of Law.
David R.E. Aladjem, Esq.
David R.E. Aladjem is an attorney with the Sacramento law firm of Downey Brand, LLP. Mr. Aladjem regularly serves as counsel for public agencies in connection with complex multiparty water negotiations throughout California. His practice involves all aspects of the acquisition, management and transfer of water rights in California, including the conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater.
He is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Water Resources Committee and is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Water Law Conference. Mr. Aladjem is a member of the California Association of Water Agency’s task force on water transfers. In 2009, he received the Association’s Excellence in Water Leadership Award for his work in the successful negotiation of a statewide California policy regarding the use of recycled water.
In 2005, Mr. Aladjem received the Sacramento Area Council of Governments “Citizen of the Year” award for his work in a complex land-use/air quality/transportation planning stakeholder process that was intended to end the decades-long battles over growth and Sacramento’s urban form. Mr. Aladjem received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University where he was named to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).
Nathan joined Smith Hartvigsen as of counsel in 2015. Previously, he served as the assistant director and general counsel for the Western States Water Council, where he represented state engineers and water quality administrators from Utah and seventeen other western states. He has experience in water rights, water quality, energy, public policy, and government relations. A trained mediator and facilitator, Nathan has led multi-stakeholder initiatives that have influenced federal legislation and policies involving the Clean Water Act, groundwater, and tribal and federal reserved water rights. Nathan began his legal career as an attorney and mediator with Dart, Adamson & Donovan in Salt Lake City.
John B. Draper
John B. Draper co-founded Draper & Draper, LLC with his son, Matthew E. Draper, in Santa Fe, NM in 2014. He has 35 years’ experience representing clients in natural resources disputes, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been counsel of record for three states before the U.S. Supreme Court continuously since 1991, and has argued before the Justices three times and some 300 days of trial before Supreme Court-appointed Special Masters. He also represents private parties in water matters primarily in the state of New Mexico, regularly appearing before the New Mexico State Engineer in administrative proceedings and appeals, court adjudications of water rights, and in the purchase and sale of privately held water rights.
Previously, he was a shareholder for more than 30 years in the Santa Fe law firm of Montgomery and Andrews, with whom he continues to collaborate. Mr. Draper holds numerous leadership positions in the natural resources legal bar and has served as co-chair of the annual New Mexico Water Law Conference for more than 20 years. He is also a member of the Trustee Council of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He was the first chair of the New Mexico State Bar Natural Resources Specialization Subcommittee, and served on the advisory board of the Utton Transboundary Center at the University of New Mexico.
Mr. Draper earned his bachelor’s degree with high honors in electrical engineering from Princeton University and Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the University of New Mexico where he was editor-in-chief of the “New Mexico Law Review” and “Natural Resources Journal.” He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation to study law in Sweden. He also has a graduate degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College.
Eric L. Garner
Eric L. Garner is a managing partner of Best Best & Krieger. Mr. Garner is one of the leading experts on water in California. He has litigated cases and negotiated key agreements involving major water bodies across the state, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Mojave River, the Santa Ana River, and the Santa Maria, Chino, Monterey and Antelope Valley groundwater basins. He also has worked with renewable energy firms in their efforts to obtain water supplies for solar plants in the California desert. Mr. Garner has also worked internationally, helping to craft water laws in South Africa, Trinidad, and Pakistan.
He was the first American to chair the International Bar Association’s Water Law Committee, and served as a member of the IBA Council that oversees the section on energy, environment, natural resources and infrastructure law. The Daily Journal, citing Garner’s expertise in water law and his role in the International Bar Association, has named him as one of the “Top 100” lawyers in California. Mr. Garner also received the prestigious California “Lawyer of the Year” award from California Lawyer magazine for helping to settle a dispute among hundreds of farmers, ranchers and urban dwellers for the rights to the groundwater in the Santa Maria area, north of Santa Barbara.
As an author, Garner co-wrote California Water and the 2nd edition, California Water II – widely considered to be the leading text on the history, law and policy of the state’s most precious natural resource. Mr. Garner is an adjunct professor of water law at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Earlham College and Juris Doctor from University of Michigan.
Christopher H. Meyer
Chris Meyer is a partner at Givens Pursley LLP. For more than three decades, Mr. Meyer has practiced water law, planning and zoning law, constitutional law, natural resources law, road and public access law, constitutional law, and legislative matters. Best Lawyers in America has named him “Lawyer of the Year” four times. He is described in the Idaho Yearbook Directory as “centrally located in the world of Idaho public affairs” and “a key figure in Idaho water law.”
His clients include Fortune Ten companies, municipal water providers, cities, counties, highway districts, energy companies, food producers, mining companies, and land developers. Before joining Givens Pursley in 1991, Chris taught water law and negotiation at the University of Colorado Law School. Prior to that, he practiced environmental law in Washington, D.C.
Gregory H. Morrison
Greg Morrison is a member of Parsons Behle & Latimer’s Environmental and Natural Resources practice group, where he focuses his practice primarily on water and administrative law. Greg’s practice includes advising on water appropriations and development for several large-scale mining projects throughout Nevada, as well as agricultural, municipal, ranching, and wildlife uses. He advises a variety of private and public interests on matters involving water acquisition and permitting, environmental compliance on the state and federal level, and property development and disputes. Greg’s practice ranges from administrative matters in front of the Nevada State Engineer to appellate practice in the Nevada Supreme Court.
Greg is also licensed in California, where his practice has included diligence for large-scale agricultural and development projects, as well as compliance with California’s recently-enacted Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. He has been involved in water-related litigation on behalf of large municipal appropriators as well as individual small farmers. Greg’s licensure and
familiarity with multi-state water issues was exercised during the process of enactment of the Truckee River Operating Agreement as a federal regulation – a process involving federal, state, tribal, municipal, and individual interests and several layers of litigation in federal and state courts.
Maria O’Brien is an attorney with Modrall Sperling. Her practice focuses on water resources and related regulatory matters including National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act compliance. She represents a variety of stakeholder interests both public and private in the water resource arena in the context of general stream adjudications, negotiation and litigation to protect and acquire water resources.
Ms. O’Brien represents the State of Oklahoma with regards to water claims by several Oklahoma Indian tribes. She represents BHP Navajo Coal Company with regard to water supply matters in the San Juan River Basin which includes ESA issues and the settlement of Indian water claims. She represented the City of Albuquerque in protection of its municipal water supply with regard to Endangered Species Act claims in litigation involving the endangered Rio Grande Silvery Minnow which ultimately resulted in the City’s successful efforts to protect its San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project. Ms. O’Brien represents the Pueblo de Pojoaque in the context of the Aamodt litigation, the oldest case on the federal docket involving four Pueblos and thousands of non-Indian defendants.
She participated in the six-year effort to draft a settlement agreement which received congressional approval and funding and was signed into law by President Obama as the Claims Resolution Act in December 2010. She serves as chair of the Water Resource Practice for the Modrall Sperling Natural Resources and Environment Department. Ms. O’Brien earned her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College, master’s degree in botany from the University of Rhode Island, and her Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Daniel J. O’Hanlon
Mr. O’Hanlon focuses on environmental law and includes litigation, counseling and permitting in the areas of water resources, remediation of contaminated property, endangered species, and wetlands. He serves as special counsel to a number of public agencies and associations in the water resources area, including the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Westlands Water District, and the State Water Contractors, as well as represents both public and private entities.
In practice since 1985, Mr. O’Hanlon is an accomplished litigator with in-depth experience representing clients in a variety of environmental matters including water rights maters before the State Water Resources Control Board and state courts involving endangered species, instream flows, and the public trust doctrine. He handles litigation involving the application of the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and underlying regulations to the operations of major water projects. Mr. O’Hanlon’s litigation experience encompasses a wide range of proceedings, including bench and jury trials, writ of mandate and other administrative record based litigation, appellate practice, arbitration, and mediation.
Mr. O’Hanlon is an active member of various committees and subcommittees of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), as well as on the Editorial Board, California Water Law Policy Reporter. In 2016, he was listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Water Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law.
Terese (T.C.) Richmond
Terese (T.C.) Richmond serves as general counsel for Cascade Water Alliance. Ms. Richmond has over 35 years’ experience representing state and local governmental agencies in Washington and Arizona as a partner with Van Ness Feldman LLP; as counsel to resource agencies and the University of Washington with the Washington Attorney General’s Office; as chief counsel to the Arizona Department of Water Resources; as special assistant to the governor (WA) regarding federal water resource legislation; and as King County senior deputy prosecuting attorney, Transit and Water Quality Section. Ms. Richmond earned her bachelor’s degree from Whitman College and Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law. She also served as vice-chair of the federal advisory committee that authored the Third National Climate Assessment
John R. Zimmerman
John Zimmerman now serves as the Water Resources Manager for the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA). TMWA is a not-for-profit, community-owned water utility overseen by elected officials and citizen appointees from Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County. At TMWA, John is responsible for ensuring that TMWA has sufficient water rights to satisfy its customers water needs and to optimize the use of its water resources.
Previously, John was a member of Parsons Behle & Latimer’s Environmental and Natural Resources practice group, where he practiced primarily water and mining law. John’s practice included diligence related to large water, mining, and agricultural projects. He has considerable experience structuring and negotiating acquisitions; performing title review; and assisting clients with the legal review, acquisition, and maintenance of water, mineral, surface, and access rights. Additionally, John has substantial experience working with the Nevada State Engineer in obtaining and managing water rights for mining, agricultural, industrial, and commercial real estate projects.