Jonathan advises clients on a wide range of complex western water law and water policy issues. His experience includes advising clients in matters related to state surface water rights, state groundwater rights, adequate water supply determinations, federal reserve water rights and the Law of the Colorado River, as well as regarding public land ownership and development, and creative policy solutions pertaining to water and other natural resources management challenges. He has worked extensively with major conservation foundations, organizations and governmental entities, as well as advises industrial clients, including those in the mining and steel industries on regulatory compliance issues, working with local, state and federal agencies.

    Jonathon’s experience with federal and state environmental laws and agencies extends to the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), US Forest Service regulations, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Endangered Species Act and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). His California state law experience includes the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act and the Carpenter-Presley-Tanner Hazardous Substance Account Act. He has advised clients on federal Indian law and international mining issues pertaining to indigenous peoples. Further, Jonathan has experience working with transboundary issues between the US and Mexico regarding water supply management, water quality and waste disposal.

    Jonathon serves on the 12-person web board for the American Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, and Resources. Prior to joining the firm, he worked for the Colorado River Water Conservation District and served as a legal fellow for the Native American Rights Fund and as a legal intern for the Colorado Water Trust. He is a frequent contributor to Squire Patton Boggs FrESH Blog, and has multiple publications with the University of Denver Water Law Review.

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    • Advised a large conservation foundation on the consequences of litigation involving federal reserved water rights implications for Arizona’s adequate water supply determinations involving conflicting groundwater pumping issues. The matter included advising on potential strategies for federal government, local entity and interested party involvement to collaboratively work to ensure potential enforcement of federal rights to groundwater would not inhibit nearby real estate development.
    • Represented an international steel company in litigation involving nuisance claims and groundwater rights affected by alleged groundwater contamination.
    • Drafted motion to intervene on behalf of mining company in a case brought against the US Forest Service by a nonprofit group and a tribal entity for its issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact for activities involving baseline water quality assessment for a tailings facility located on Forest Service Land in Arizona.
    • Drafted report for international mining company assessing whether tribal consultation requirements under federal laws, including National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), US Forest Service regulations, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), state mine reclamation and financial assurance laws concerning private mineral projects impacting tribal water supplies and public lands under customary tribal use, require mining companies to comply with the International Commission on Mining and Metals’ Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.
    • Drafted navigability-for-riverbed title determination reports for the Arizona Navigable Streams Commission, which included interpretation of federal navigability standard based on US Supreme Court cases and evaluation of historic and technical evidence of navigability.
    • Advised steel company on groundwater and soil contamination remediation efforts under California state laws (Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act and Carpenter-Presley-Tanner Hazardous Substance Account Act) and CERCLA, working closely alongside groundwater hydrogeology and soil composition experts; developed strategy for collaboration with state agencies and local water district.
    • Drafted proposed regulations for a conservation foundation modifying Arizona’s implementation of CWA and state groundwater discharge permitting requirements to allow for a clearer definition of what is not a “direct hydrologic connection.”
    • Advised large nonprofit conservation client regarding federal reservoir operations, Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts on such operations, interstate water transport, water banking and other short-term transfer mechanisms of water in the Colorado River Basin.
    • Drafted memoranda related to saline water disposal and agricultural water transfer mechanisms along US-Mexico border for a large nonprofit conservation client seeking to improve ecological function of the Colorado River Delta.
    • Advised client providing waste disposal services for oil and gas industry on regulations affecting beneficial reuse of oilfield waste.
    • Advised client seeking to dispose of fracking wastewater across state lines on restrictions on interstate transport of produced water for disposal.
    • Researched temporary transfer laws for water rights in western states (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO, UT, NM, AZ, NV, CA) and edited Liquid Assets impact investing report for the Walton Family Foundation, which included topics such as improved forest and watershed management opportunities, green infrastructure, public-private partnership opportunities, improved rangeland management.


    • University of Denver, J.D., DU Water Review, 2013
    • Vanderbilt University, B.A., 2007


    • Colorado

    Memberships and Affiliations

    • American Bar Association (ABA), Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER)
    • Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources Litigation Committee
    • University of Denver Sturm College of Law Alumni Council


    • English
    • Spanish
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    • Author, “Western Water Managers Move Toward Collaborative Approaches to Water Management,” Water World, October, 1, 2016.
    • Author, “Getting to the Right Side of the River: Lessons for Binational Cooperation on the Road to Minute 319,” University of Denver Water Law Review, 2015.
    • Author, “2015 Year in Superfund,” ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2015.
    • Guest lecturer, “Groundwater Law,” Professor Tom Romero’s Water Law class, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2015 – present.
    • Author, “Addressing Supply and Demand Imbalances in the Colorado River Basin,” University of Denver Water Law Review Symposium, April 2013.

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