Take Me to the River: Evolving Frameworks for Environmental Flows

October 15, 2020

29th Annual 2020 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Downey Brand Senior Associate and environmental attorney Austin C. Cho will be taking part in a panel discussion at the 2020 Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite. This year’s conference will be an entirely virtual event and will take place October 15-18. The panel Austin is taking part in will be held on October 15, from 9:15-10:45am. The panel will address the integration of consumptive use and environmental flows of California’s water resources. See below for a full description of the panel topic and speakers.

Title – Take Me to the River: Evolving Frameworks for Environmental Flows

Integrating consumptive use with environmental flows is a core challenge for water management. Regulatory methods for protecting instream flows have evolved over the decades, and today California is engaged in a robust conversation about these approaches as the state grapples with the challenge of meeting multiple needs. This panel seeks to contribute to this conversation by exploring the range of old and new approaches to environmental flows. Panelists will examine various methods such as bypass flows, dedications, unimpaired flows, functional flows, and an ecosystem-based management approach to aquatic species conservation. Panelists will also explore the related issues of environmental restoration, regulatory and permitting challenges, and strategies for risk management.


  • Samantha Olson, Attorney IV, State Water Resources Control Board


  • Austin C. Cho, Senior Associate, Downey Brand LLP
  • Rene Henery, California Science Director, Trout Unlimited
  • Julie Rentner, President, River Partners

For more information about this panel and the 2020 conference, please visit the event page.