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 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 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.  For example, over twenty of his students have authored state analyses in a comprehensive study of the public trust doctrine in the American states.

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. 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



  • Natural Resources Law: Private Rights and the Public Interest  (West Pub. Co., 2015) (co-author).
  • The Public Trust Doctrine in Environmental and Natural Resources Law (Carolina Academic Press 2013) (co-author), with teachers manual. 
  • Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press, 1st ed. 2002, 2d ed. 2008, 3d ed. 2013, 4th ed. 2018) (with teachers manual and annual teacher’s updates) (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).
  • Environmental Law: International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth Publishing Co. 1992, New York University Press, 1993).



  • The Public Trust Doctrine in Forty Five States (editor, twenty-three student authors) (2014 ed.)
  • The Columbia River Basin:  From the Stevens Treaties to the Northwest Power Act(available from the Northwest Water Law and Policy Project, 1994).
  • Salmon Law and History:  Sources and Analysis (available from the Northwest Water Law and Policy Project, 1994) (co-author).
  • Highways and the Environment:  Resource Protection and the Federal Highway Program (study for the National Transportation Research Board, 1994; winner of Vance Award for best publication on transportation law in 1994).



(SSRN Author Page; Google Scholar Page)

OLDER ARTICLES (1976-2003, by subject matter)

  • A.  General Environmental Law
    • “Roads Not Taken: EPA vs. Clean Water,” 33 Environmental Law 79 (2003) (for a symposium).
    • “Twenty Years of Environmental Law: Role Reversals Between Congress and The Executive, Judicial Activism Undermining The Environment, and The Proliferation of Environmental (and Anti-Environmental) Groups,” 20 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 5 (2001) (for a symposium).
    • “Environment, Economy, and Community in the Pacific Northwest,” 17 (University of Montana) Public Land and Resources Law Review 1 (1996).
    • “Studying Environmental Law:  An Overview and a Seminar Outline,” 12 Journal of Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law 309 (1992).
    • “A Primer on Environmental Law and Some Directions for the Future,” 11 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 381 (1992), reprinted in 2 Environmental Law Anthology809 (Law Book Publishers, 1992-93) (also published in Greek in the University of Athens Law Review, 1992).
    • “The Fallacies of Free Market Environmentalism,” 15 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 371 (1992) (for a symposium), reprinted in 2 Environmental Law Anthology 431 (Law Book Publishers, 1992-93); and An Environmental Law Anthology 319 (Anderson Pub. Co., 1996).
    • “Pluralism and the Environment:  The Role of Comment Agencies in NEPA Litigation,” 14 Harvard Environmental Law Review 277 (1990) (co-author), reprinted inLand Use and Environment Law Review 607 (1991).
    • “The National Environmental Policy Act At Twenty:  A Preface,” 20 Environmental Law 447 (1990) (for a symposium).
    • “Liberty, the New Property, and Environmental Law,” 24 University of San Francisco Law Review 385 (1990) (for a symposium).
    • “The Origin, Evolution, and Direction of U.S. National Environmental Policy Act,” 5 (Australian) Environmental Law and Planning Journal 177 (1988).
    • “Environmental Decision-making, Judicial Review, and the Democratization of the Leviathan State:  Some Comments on the Huffman/Funk Colloquy,” 4 Advocate no. 2 at 10 (Lewis & Clark Law School alumni magazine,1985).
    • “Implementing the Clean Water Act:  Progress, Problems, and Possibilities,” inReadings in Water Quality Management (Ann Arbor Sciences, 1980).
    • “The Marine Sanctuaries Program:  A Framework for Critical Areas Management in the Sea,” 8 Environmental Law Reporter (Environmental Law Institute) 50016 (1978)   (reprinted in Senate Commerce Committee, Hearings on the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Serial No. 95-65, at 45)  (co-author).
    • “Evaluating State Coastal Zone Plans:  Questions to Ask,” in Coastal Zone ’78, at 98 (1978) (co-author).
    • “The Promise of Federal Consistency Under Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act,” 6 Environmental Law Reporter (Environmental Law Institute) 50047 (1976) (co-author).
  • B.  Constitutional Takings of Property
  • C.  Public Lands
    • “Water For National Forests: The Bypass Flow Controversy and The Great Divide in Western Water Law,” 18 Stanford Environmental Law Review 3 (1999) (co-author).
    • “The Proposed Transfer of BLM Timber Lands to the State of Oregon:  Environmental and Economic Questions,” 32 Land and Water Law Review (University of Wyoming) 353 (1997) (co-author) (for a symposium).
    • “The Case Against Transferring BLM Lands to the States,” 7 Fordham Environmental Law Journal 387 (1996).
    • “Public Choice Theory and the Public Lands:  Why Multiple Use Failed,” 18 Harvard Environmental Law Review 405 (1994).
    • “Ancient Forests and the Supreme Court:  Issuing a Blank Check for Appropriation Riders,” 43 Washington U. Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 35 (1993) (for a symposium).
    • “Ancient Forests, Spotted Owls, and Modern Public Land Law,” 18 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 605 (1991).
  • D.  Water Law
  • E.  Tribal Natural Resources
  • F.  Salmon/Hydropower
    •  Avoiding Dam Breaching Through Off-Site Mitigation: NMFS’s 2000 Biological Opinion on Columbia Basin Hydroelectric Operations, 32 Environmental Law 241 (2002) (co-author).
    • “The BPA Power-Salmon Crisis: A Way Out,” 31 Environmental Law Reporter 10726 (2001) (co-author) (earlier version published in Restoration, the journal of the Oregon Sea Grant Program).
    • “The Decline of the Hydropower Czar and The Rise of Agency Pluralism in Hydroelectric Licensing,” 26 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 81 (2001) (co-author).
    • “Salmon and The Endangered Species Act: Lessons From The Columbia Basin,” 74Washington Law Review 519 (1999) (co-author) (for a symposium).
    • “The Amphibious Salmon:  The Evolution of Ecosystem Management in the Columbia Basin,” 24 (University of California-Berkeley) Ecology Law Quarterly 653 (1997) (for a symposium).
    • “Beyond the Parity Promise:  Struggling to Save Columbia Basin Salmon in the Mid-1990s,” 27 Environmental Law 21 (1997) (co-author) (for a symposium).
    • “Salmon Law and Policy in 1985:  A Brief Overview,” 26 Environmental Law 651 (1996) (for a symposium).
    • “Columbia Basin Salmon and the Courts:  Reviving the Parity Promise,” 25Environmental Law 351 (1995) (for a symposium).
    • “Saving Idaho’s Salmon:  A History of Failure and A Dubious Future, Part II” (chapter in Current Trends and Policies in Water Law, a 1994 publication of the American Bar Association) (co-author).
    • “Saving Idaho’s Salmon:  A History of Failure and A Dubious Future,” 28 Idaho Law Review 669 (1992) (for a symposium).
    • “The Unraveling of the Parity Promise:  Hydropower, Salmon, and Endangered Species in the Columbia Basin,” 21 Environmental Law 657 (1991) (co-author).
    • “Federalism, Hydroelectric Licensing, and the Future of Minimum Streamflows After California v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” 21 Environmental Law 113 (1991).
    • “The Northwest Power Act’s Institutional Innovations and Unfulfilled Promises,” 2 (University of Oregon) Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 165 (1987).
    • “The Appointments Clause, Innovative Federalism, and the Constitutionality of the Northwest Power Planning Council,” 8 (University of Utah) Journal of Energy Law and Policy 1 (1987).
    • “Why Study Pacific Salmon Law?—A Course Outline,” 22 Idaho Law Review 629 (1986).
    • “A Trilogy of Tribes v. FERC:  Reforming the Federal Role in Hydropower Licensing,” 10 Harvard Environmental Law Review 1 (1986).
    • “Reexamining the Parity Promise:  More Challenges Than Successes to the Implementation of the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program,” 16 Environmental Law 461 (1986) (for a symposium)
    • “Small Scale Hydropower and Anadromous Fish:  Lessons and Questions From the Winchester Dam Controversy,” 16 Environmental Law 583 (1986) (co-author) (for a symposium).
    • “NEPA Meets the Northwest Power Act (And Prevails):  The Ninth Circuit Orders An EIS on the Bonneville Power Administration’s Power Sale Contracts,” 25 (University of New Mexico) Natural Resources Journal 1005 (1985).
    • “ALCOA v. Central Lincoln PUD and Some Myths About Northwest Electric Power Policymaking:  A Call For Continued Judicial ‘Hard Looks’,” 15 Environmental Law 365 (1985).
    • “Implementing the Parity Promise:  An Evaluation of the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program,” 14 Environmental Law 277 (1984).
    • “Beyond Mitigation—Restoring Federally Damaged Salmon Runs Under the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program,” 14 Environmental Law Reporter(Environmental Law Institute) 10010 (1984) (earlier version published in Western Natural Resource Litigation Digest, Fall 1983).
    • “Risk Management and Northwest Electric Power Planning:  Some Lessons From the Rearview Mirror,” 13 Environmental Law 739 (1983) (for a symposium).
    • “The Northwest’s Hydroelectric Heritage:  Prologue to the Pacific Northwest Electric   Power Planning and Conservation Act,” 58 Washington Law Review 175 (1983) (for a symposium).
    • “Fulfilling the Parity Promise:  A Perspective on Scientific Proof, Economic Cost, and Indian Treaty Rights In the Approval of Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program,” 13 Environmental Law 103 (1982).
    • “Promising a Process for Parity:  The Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act and Anadromous Fish Protection,” 11 Environmental Law 497 (1981) (co-author).
    • “Hydropower vs. Salmon:  The Struggle of the Pacific Northwest’s Anadromous Fish For a Peaceful Coexistence With the Columbia River Power System,” 11Environmental Law 211 (1981).
  • G.  Wetlands
    • “The Clinton Wetlands Plan:  No Net Gain in Wetlands Protection,” 9 Florida State Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law (1994).
    • “Wetlands Law:  ‘No Net Loss’ and Its Decline,” 4 Rivers 122 (1992) (co-author).
    • “Federal Wetlands Protection Under the Clean Water Act:  Intergovernmental Tension, Regulatory Ambivalence, and a Call for Reform,” 60 University of Colorado Law Review 695 (1989) (co-author).
    • “The Clean Water Act’s Section 404 Program Enters Its Adolescence:  An Institutional and Programmatic Perspective,” 8 Ecology Law Quarterly (University of California-Berkeley) 409 (1980).
    • “Wetlands Protection and Coastal Planning:  Avoiding the Perils of Positive Consistency,” 5 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 69 (1978).


  • 1977    Environmental Planning and the Siting of Nuclear Facilities:  The Integration of Water, Air, Coastal, and Comprehensive Planning Into the Nuclear Siting Process(prepared for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission).
  • 1977    An Analysis of the Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to Transport Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay Natural Gas (prepared for the Council on Environmental Quality).
  • 1977    An Assessment of the Need for a National Marine Sanctuaries Program(prepared for the Office of Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce).
  • 1976    The Decision To Transport Alaskan Natural Gas From Prudhoe Bay:  Issues and Decision makers (prepared for the Office of Planning and Evaluation, Environmental Protection Agency).
  • 1976    The Role of Law in the Design and Management of the Santa Catalina Island Conservation and Recreation Plan:  A Guide For Management (prepared for the  Los Angeles county Department of Parks and Recreation).
  • 1976    The Federal Role in Alaska’s Coastal Zone Management Program (prepared for   the Office of the Governor, Alaska Coastal Management Program).
  • 1976    An Inventory and Analysis of Federal Statutes Affecting the Alaska Coastal Management Program (prepared for the Office of the Governor, Alaska Coastal Management Program).
  • 1975    An Inventory and Analysis of Existing Land Management Tools in Alaska(prepared for the Office of the Governor, Alaska Coastal Management Program).