NWRA Table Talk Series 


August 6, 2020
The Evolving Legal World of Water: Judicial rulings, federal regulations and state initiatives

Western Water Table Talk Welcome and Comments —Commissioner Brenda Burman, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

This panel is a must for all water leaders. Recent court decisions, including the Supreme Court decision in Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and the Baley vs. United States decision (Klamath takings) as well as the 9th Circuit decision in Glaser have major ramifications for water managers. Couple this with the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule and numerous state-level efforts to define “waters of the state,” and water leaders are left facing a legal minefield. Legal experts and water managers will help bring clarity to the new, and increasingly complex, world of water law in light of these evolving issues.   

Patrick Sigl - Supervising Attorney, Environment, Land & Water Rights Section, Salt River Project
Maribeth M. Klein, Senior Attorney, Environmental, Land & Water Section Salt River Project
Mr. David Filippi – Partner, Stoel Rives
Andre Monette  - Partner, Best Best and Krieger
Norm Semanko – Shareholder, Parsons Behle and Latimer

August 13, 2020
Updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

From dams to drains the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) affects every infrastructure project with a federal nexus. On July 15th the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced a final rule updating this landmark law for the first time in 40 years. Senior federal officials and natural resource experts will discuss how the rule was updated and what it means for water managers. 

Karen Budd-Falen, Department of the Interior
Wade Haerle, Principal EIS Solutions

August 19, 2020 - BONUS SESSION
The New Title Transfer Program with Kiel Weaver, Associate Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

August 20, 2020
Preserving history and cultural resources: how to do it and still develop water infrastructure

Federal laws require that cultural and historical and cultural values are recognized and considered under infrastructure proposals.  Compliance is necessary, just like NEPA or ESA.  This session will shine light on how to navigate those laws, and uses the case study of the Crow project in Montana as an example.  ​

Christine Varah, Cultural Resources Project Manager, SWCA 

August 27, 2020
Leading from the top: two federal water agencies’ approach to water management

In this session, we will facilitate a dialogue between the nation’s most important water management agencies. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Major General Spellmon (invited) will talk about how their agencies, in different ways, address water needs throughout the country. We will also cover the similarities and differences between the agencies and the critical issues they are facing.

September 10, 2020
WRDA, Appropriations and the fiscal water puzzle: examining infrastructure funding solutions

In this session, we will hear from the individuals driving efforts to develop and fund water infrastructure. Panelists will include leading federal experts and figures from state authorities and local water districts. Speakers will discuss topics including how to get around challenges involving the Office of Management and Budget and finding innovative methods to fund water projects at the state and local levels. Panelists will provide perspectives on the various ways water projects are being successfully funded.

The Honorable John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
The Honorable Marcy Kaptur, Chairwoman, House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations (Invited)
The Honorable Mike Simpson, Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations (Invited)
Lance Gaebe, Executive Vice President, North Dakota Water Users Association
James Broderick, Executive Director, Southeastern Colorado Water Conservation District

September 17, 2020
Western Water Table Talk: putting information to action! 
The Western Water Table Talk Series will feature incredible speakers who provide critical information about the future of water infrastructure. In the final session of the series we will hold an engaging discussion that will focus on empowering water users to take this information and effect beneficial change at the local, state, and federal levels. The session will review the Western Water Table Talk Series and provide tools that participants can use to advocate for polices that will benefit water users and help our nation build a strong water future.