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Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Environmental and Natural Resources Law, University of Oregon

Adell L. Amos holds the Goodwin Senior Faculty Fellowship and serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UO School of Law. She teaches regularly in the nationally-ranked Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, including courses in Water Law, Federal Administrative Law, Environmental Conflict Resolution, and Oregon Water Law and Policy. She also holds a courtesy appointment at Oregon State University as a member of the graduate faculty for Water Resources and Policy Management program. Her research emphasizes the jurisdictional governance structures that are deployed for water resources management in the United States and internationally. She focuses on the relationship between federal and state governments on water resource management, the role of administrative agencies in setting national, state, and local water policy, the role of law in developing strategies for water resource management, and the impact of stakeholder participation in water resource decision-making.

In 2008, Amos was recognized for her expertise in water resources law and policy and accepted a two-year appointment with the Obama Administration in Washington DC as the Deputy Solicitor for Land and Water Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior. In this role, Amos oversaw legal and policy issues involving the nation’s water resources and public lands. She supervised a team of attorneys in DC and across the country providing legal and policy counsel directly to the Secretary of Interior and Deputy Secretary as well as the offices for the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In particular, she worked directly on water resilience and planning, wilderness policy, the National Landscape Conservation System, renewable energy and its associated water footprint, low-impact hydropower, dam removal efforts including the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, and many others. Amos returned to UO in 2011 with renewed energy for the importance of teaching and researching in the area of water resource management, public participation, and the role of law in the policy arena.

Amos first joined the faculty in 2005 after practicing environmental and natural resources law with the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington DC. She worked as an Attorney- Advisor and served as the national lead on water and natural resources issues in the Office of the Solicitor, Division of Parks and Wildlife, where she represented and advised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service on state and federal water rights and water management issues. Her portfolio included work in most of the major river basins in the United States – including the Klamath, Snake, Columbia, Middle Rio Grande, Mississippi, Colorado, Gunnison, Platte, and others. She provided legal and policy advice on the interaction of state and federal water law with the full range of environmental statutes including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Federal Power Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Her work also included the Park Service Organic Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, the Reclamation Act, the Flood Control Act among other authorizing legislation for federal agencies.

Her most recent scholarship focuses on the integration of law and policy into hydrologic and socioeconomic modeling for the Willamette River Basin as well as the legal framework that provides the backdrop for water conflicts and dispute resolution through a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary effort funded by the NOAA and the National Science Foundation. She also has active projects underway addressing the status of state instream flow programs throughout the Western United States, the impact of legal decision-making on public policy dispute resolution efforts in water-conflict basins, and strategic efforts to protect water resources for national public lands including the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Park System and the newly created, National Landscape Conservation System. She has published broadly in the field of water law including, most recently “Developing the Law of the River: The Integration of Law and Policy into Hydrologic and Socio-Economic Modeling Efforts in the Willamette River Basin” in the University of Kansas Law Review; “Dam Removal and Hydropower Production in the United States – Ushering in a New Era” in the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation; and “Advancing Freshwater Conservation in the Context of Energy and Climate Policy in the Denver Water Law Review. She has a forthcoming manuscript with West Publishing, along with the late Professor David Getches of the University of Colorado and Professor Sandra Zellmer at the University of Nebraska, entitled Water Law in a Nutshell - part of the nationally recognized series for law students and practitioners providing succinct and comprehensive summaries of an entire field of law.

She frequently speaks on water, energy, conflict resolution and climate topics including addresses at the University of Nebraska, the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Wingspread Foundation, the National Conservation Training Center. She has completed numerous grant-funded projects for the National Science Foundation, NOAA-CIRC, the Nature Conservancy, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, among others.

Professor Amos earned her B.A in 1995 from Drury College and her J.D. in 1998 from the University of Oregon (Coif). After law school, Amos clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for The Honorable Proctor Hug, Jr. (then Chief Judge). She is a member of the Missouri bar, admitted in 1999.


  • –present
    Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of environmental and natural resources law, University of Oregon