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Public Interest Law Project

Richard Deitchman

October 10, 2011

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The Freshwater Trust

The Freshwater Trust, Portland, OR

Before entering law school, I was interested in hydrologic science and stream restoration.   I majored in geology in college and completed a graduate degree in hydrology at the University of Wisconsin.  In the fall of 2009 as a first year law student, I met the staff at The Freshwater Trust (TFT), and PILP provided me the opportunity to work for the summer on legal and policy issues related to stream restoration.

TFT works collaboratively to engage communities in restoring and maintaining freshwater health. TFT’s Conservation Department partners with public and private landowners to undertake habitat and stream flow restoration projects that improve water quality and native fish habitat.  As an intern, I worked with TFT staff on legal research and memorandum writing related to liability for NGOs in the event that an in-stream restoration project causes personal injury and/or property damage, restoration projects including research and travel to meet with landowners engaged in flow projects in Eastern Oregon and conservation advice with restoration field work.

Receiving the PILP stipend provided the funding for me to complete this exciting and career relevant project, which was supervised by four Lewis & Clark alums.  In addition to the substantive legal work, I was able to meet various attorneys, government agency staff, local watershed leaders and private landowners. TFT’s staff includes many non-legal employees (land and education managers) with whom I developed friendships.  I was able to learn more about stream restoration science and the basics of non-profit organization management.  Overall, I had a productive experience and a great introduction to environmental legal work in Oregon.  Also, I met a lot of great folks working on important water issues and had the chance to get out and see environmental work in other parts of Oregon.  I am thankful to PILP for this opportunity.

 

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