Michael Blumm

Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law

Legal Research Center 344
Legal Assistant:


Professor Blumm is one of the architects of the Law School’s acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. He has been teaching, writing, and practicing in the environmental and natural resources law field for over forty years. He came to the law school after practicing with an environmental group and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., where he helped draft the EPA’s first wetland protection regulations.  Blumm’s chief interests are in the restoration of the Pacific Northwest salmon runs, the preservation of the West’s public lands and waters, the management of natural resources by Indian tribes, the modern use of the public trust doctrine, and governmental authority to regulate private property for public purposes.

Professor Blumm was instrumental in the founding of the Law School’s pioneering Externship Program, which began in Washington D.C. in 1979 as part of the environmental law program and over the years has expanded to include all legal subjects.   The Externship Program has sponsored over 600 students who spend a semester all over the country gaining practical experience working for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and law firms. 

For over a decade during the 1980s, Blumm edited the Natural Resources Law Institute’s Anadromous Fish Law Memo.  He then spent seven years during the 1990s co-directing the Northwest Water Law and Policy Project.  He has co-authored casebooks on Natural Resources Law, Public Trust Law, and Native American Natural Resources Law.

Blumm is a prolific scholar, with well over one-hundred and fifty published articles, book chapters, and monographs on salmon, water, public lands, wetlands, environmental impact assessment, public trust law, and constitutional takings law, to name just a few topics.  Much of his scholarship involves student co-authors; in fact, over fifty students have been his co-authors over the years.  He also regularly helps students publish on their own. 

Blumm was visiting professor at the University of Melbourne in 1988, Fulbright Professor at the University of Athens in 1991, and visiting professor at the University of California-Berkeley in 2004 and Vermont in 2015-16. He has lectured on a variety of topics as visiting professor in in law schools in Australia, Canada, Greece, and Brazil, and has been distinguished visitor at Florida State University, the University of Calgary, Vermont Law School, and several Australian law schools.  In 2005-07, he was Chair of the American Association of Law School’s Natural Resources Law Section.  

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • BA cum laude with departmental honors 1972 Williams College
  • JD honors 1976 George Washington University Law School
  • LLM highest honors 1979 George Washington University Law School



A Brief American Legal History (West Publishing, Nutshell Series, 2023).

Pacific Salmon Law and the Environment: Treaties, Endangered Species, Dam Removal, Climate Change, and Beyond (Environmental Law Inst., 2022)

Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press, 1st ed. 2002; 2nd ed. 2008; 3rd ed. 2013; 4th ed. 2018, 5th ed. 2023) (with teacher’s manual and annual teacher’s updates) (co-author).

The Public Trust Doctrine in Environmental and Natural Resources Law (Carolina Academic Press, 1st ed. 2013; 2nd ed. 2015, 3rd ed. 2021) (with teacher’s manual and annual teacher’s updates) (co-author).

Natural Resources Law: Private Rights and the Public Interest (West Pub. Co., 2015) (with teacher’s manual) (co-author).

Sacrificing the Salmon: A Legal and Policy History of the Decline of Columbia Basin Salmon (BookWorld Publications, 2002, republished by Vandeplas Publishing, 2013).

The Northwest Salmon Crisis: A Documentary History (Oregon State University Press 1996) (contributing author).

Waters and Water Rights (The Michie Co. 1991, 1994, 1996, Lexis-Nexis 2004, 3d. ed. 2009) (author of chapters on Reserved Water Rights, (1991-2011) Federal Hydroelectric Regulation (1991-2000), and the Columbia River Basin (1991-2017).

Environmental Law: International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth Publishing Co. 1992, New York University Press, 1993).


Salmon, Climate Change, and the Future 52 Environmental Law Reporter, 10980 (2022).

Our Common Ground: An Appreciative Essay on John Leshy’s Public Lands History 31 NYU Environmental Law Journal, 187 (2022).

The World’s Largest Dam Removal Project: The Klamath River Dams 101 Oregon Law Review, 1 (2022) (with Dara Illowsky).

The 30 by 30 Proposal, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and the Protection of Tribal Cultural Lands 52 Environmental Law Reporter, 10366 (2022) (with Gregory Allen).

Constitutionalizing the Public Trust Doctrine in Chile 52 Environmental Law, 1 (2022) (with Matthew Hebert).

Federal Grazing Lands and Their Suitability as ‘Conservation Lands’ in the 30 by 30 Program 52 Environmental Law Reporter, 1 (2022) (with Kacey Hovden and Gregory Allen).

Emerging Best Practices in International Atmospheric Trust Case Law, 2022 Utah L. Rev. 941 (2022) (with Rachel Pemberton).

The Public Trust Doctrine and the Chicago Lakefront, 11 Michigan J. of Environmental and Administrative Law 315 (2022).

Walker Lake and the Public Trust in Nevada’s Waters, 40 Virginia Environmental L. J. 1 (2022) (with Michael Benjamin Smith ’21).

The Mistake on the Snake: The Lower Snake River Dams, 58 Idaho L. Rev. 1 (2022).

The World’s Largest Ecosystem Management Plan: The Northwest Forest Plan After a Quarter-Century, 52 Environmental Law 151 (2022) (with Susan Jane Brown and Chelsea Stewart-Fusek.

Tribal Consultation: Toward Meaningful Collaboration with the Federal Government, 33 Colorado Environmental L. Rev. 1 (2022) (with Lizzy Pennock ’21).

The Protection of Nature and a New Constitution for Chile: Lessons from the Public Trust Doctrine, Chile-California Conservation Exchange (2021). (with co-authors)

Undamming the Pacific Northwest: An Update, chap. 18 of Salmon Law and the Environment: Treaties, Endangered Species, Dam Removal, Climate Change and Beyond, Environmental Law Online (2021).

Right-Sizing the Supreme Court: A History of Congressional Changes, 72 Case Western Reserve L. Rev. 9 (2021) (with Kate Flanagan ’21 and Annamarie White ’22).

Salmon and the Clean Water Act: An Unfinished Agenda, 51 Environmental Law Reporter 10109 (2021) (with Michael Benjamin Smith ’21).

Adding Confusion to the Muddy Waters of the Oswego Lake Decision: A Response to Dean Huffman, Environmental Law Online (2020) (with Ryan Roberts ’21).

Oregon’s Amphibious Public Trust Doctrine: The Oswego Lake Decision, 50 Environmental Law 1229 (2020) (with Ryan Roberts ’21).

The Public Trust Doctrine Fifty Years after Sax and Some Thoughts on its Future, 44 Public Land & Resources L. Rev. 1 (2021) (with Zach Schwartz ’21).

The Belloni Decision and Its Legacy: United States v. Oregon and Its Far-Reaching Effects After a Half-Century, 50  Environmental Law 347 (2020) (wirh Cari Baermann ’20).

Environmental Law at 50: A Cutting-Edge Journal Examining the Central Issues of Our Time, 50 Environmental Law 1 (2020).

A Dozen Landmark Nuisance Cases and Their Environmental Significance, 62 Arizona L. Rev. 403 (2020).

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act at 50: Overlooked Watershed Protection, 9 Michigan J. of Environmental and Administrative Law 1 (2019) (with Max Yoklic ’19).

Revisiting Background Principles in Takings Litigation, 71 Florida L. Rev. 1165 (2019) (with Rachel Wolford ’19).

The Fight Over Columbia Basin Salmon Spills and the Future of the Lower Snake River Dams, 9 Washington J. of Environmental Law and Policy 1 (2019) (with Doug DeRoy ’19).

Democratizing Treaty Fishing Rights: Denying Fossil-Fuel Exports in the Pacific Northwest, 30 Colorado Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Review 1 (2019) (with Jeffrey Litwak).

Indigenous Rights in the U.S. Marine Environment: The Stevens Treaties and Their Effects on Harvests and Habitat, in Indigenous Rights in the Marine Environment (Hart Publishing, 2019) (with Olivier Jamin ’17, LLM ’18).

Proprietary and Sovereign Public Trust Duties: From Justinian and Hale to Lamprey and Oswego Lake (with Courtney Engel ’19), 43 Vermont L. Rev. 1 (2019).

The Trump Administration’s Public Lands Revolution: Redefining “the Public” in Public Lands Law, 48 Environmental Law 311 (2018) (part of Environmental Law’s spring symposium on the Trump Administration, with Olivier Jamin ’17, LLM ’18).

“No Ordinary Lawsuit:” Climate Change, Due Process, and the Public Trust Doctrine, 67 American U. L. Rev.1 (2017) (with Mary Wood).

“Coordinating” with the Federal Government: Assessing County Efforts to Control Decisionmaking on Public Lands, 38 Public Land and Resources Law Review 1 (U. Montana) 1 (2017) (with James Fraser ’17).

The Nation’s First Forester-In-Chief: The Overlooked Role of FDR and the Environment, 33 Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law 25 (Florida State) (2017).

Still Crying Out For a “Major Overhaul” After All These Years—Salmon and the Fourth Failed Biological Opinion on Columbia Basin Hydroelectric Operations (with Julianne Fry M.L.S. ’16 & Olivier Jamin ’17), 47 Environmental Law 287 (2017).

Indian Treaty Fishing Rights and the Environment: Affirming the Right to Habitat Protection and Restoration, 92 Washington Law Review 1 (2017).

The Public Trust as an Antimonopoly Doctrine (with Aurora Paulsen, LLM ’16), 44 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 1 (2017).

The Property Clause and Its Discontents: Lessons from the Malheur Occupation (with Olivier Jamin ’17), 43 Ecology Law Quarterly (UC-Berkeley) 781 (2016).

Two Wrongs?: Correcting Professor Lazarus’s Erroneous View of the Public Trust Doctrine, 46 Environmental Law 481 (2016) (response to a Harvard law professor’s remarks at a Lewis & Clark Law symposium).

Federal Reserved Water Rights as a Rule of Law, 50 Idaho Law Review 369 (2016) (a critical response to an article co-authored by former student—and Distinguished Environmental Graduate and Law School trustee—Jeff Fereday ’80), (article was requested by a former LLM student now on the Idaho Law faculty, an advisor to the Idaho Law Review).

Horne v. Department of Agriculture: Expanding Per Se Takings While Endorsing State Sovereign Ownership of Wildlife, 75 Maryland Law Review 657 (2016) (co-authored with John Echeverria, Vermont Law School).

Antimonopoly in American Public Land Law, 28 Georgetown Environmental Law Review 155 (2016) (co-authored with Kara Tebeau ’15).

(Ground)Waters of the United States: Unlawfully Excluding Tributary Groundwater from Clean Water Act Jurisdiction, 46 Environmental Law 333 (2016) (co-authored with Steven M. Thiel ’15) (part of a symposium on Clean Water Act jurisdiction).

Shared Sovereignty: The Role of Expert Agencies in Environmental Law, 42 Ecology Law Quarterly (U.C. Berkeley) 609 (2015) (co-authored with Andrea Lang ’15, LLM ’16).

(older articles on CV)