Somach Simmons and Dunn, Attorneys at Law Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Areas

Education

  • Agricultural Leadership Program, 1998-2000
  • McGeorge School of Law (J.D., 1996)
  • Boston University (B.A., 1988)

Industry

  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA)
  • California Association of Stormwater Quality Agencies (CASQA)

Theresa Dunham
Shareholder

Tess Dunham is Somach Simmons & Dunn’s managing shareholder.  Her legal skills are combined with a unique background outside of law, allowing her to help clients more strategically. A leading water quality lawyer, Tess was raised on her family’s farm. While still active in the family’s business, she forged a career in politics, lobbying, environmental consulting, and public policy–eventually balancing some roles while attending law school at night.

Now an accomplished advisor on water quality issues, she is called upon by growers and ranchers to help with situations they face. She is also called upon by large industry groups, including one of the largest statewide coalitions of dairy organizations and a trade group whose members provide half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tess deftly transitions from agricultural work to highly complex work for some of California’s largest cities, counties, publicly-owned treatment works, and public agencies.

Her policy experience, gained from working for the Governor’s Office, the Department of Conservation, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and as a lobbyist, leaves her with not only an inside perspective of working with the public agencies that govern water quality, but with relationships that can mean the difference between reaching productive resolutions to problems.

When precedent-setting issues are at stake, she is often the attorney called on because of her substantive knowledge of water quality. She has submitted amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, California Appellate Courts, and will soon be adding the California Supreme Court to that list.

Representative Matters

Agricultural Resources

Provide ongoing water quality regulatory and legal services to the California Rice Commission, Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition, and others. For example, assist Central Valley agricultural entities in negotiating a Long-Term Irrigated Lands Program with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Provide ongoing water quality regulatory and legal services to the California Strawberry Commission in negotiating a new Conditional Waiver from Waste Discharge Requirements with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Assist Central Valley dairy industry in forming a new organization to conduct representative groundwater monitoring to ensure compliance with Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board monitoring requirements.

Represent non-industrial timber landowners in proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board challenging the Conditional Timber Waiver issued by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Water Quality

Provide ongoing water quality regulatory and legal services to the Pyrethroid Working Group.

Provide ongoing regulatory and legal services to the Central Valley Clean Water Association, which represents over 50 publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) located in the Central Valley.

Represent the Central Valley Clean Water Association, City of Stockton, and others in various pending litigation matters challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s implementation and interpretation of the Bay-Delta Plan.

Represent numerous POTWs before various Regional Water Quality Control Boards in negotiating and obtaining favorable NPDES permits and state issued waste discharge requirements.

Represent numerous POTWs before the State Water Resources Control Board in various petition proceedings.

Represent Ventura County in prolonged negotiations and proceedings before the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for County-wide Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Permit.

Represent the City of Lompoc before the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for approval of the City’s Phase II stormwater management plan.

Represent numerous public agencies in enforcement proceedings brought by various Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Represent various companies in negotiating reasonable settlement agreements with the Department of Pesticide Regulation for alleged violations of state pesticide laws.

Endangered Species Act and Wetlands

Represent individual landowner in potential enforcement proceeding for violation of state and federal wetlands requirements.

Education

  • Agricultural Leadership Program, 1998-2000
  • McGeorge School of Law (J.D., 1996)
  • Boston University (B.A., 1988)

Industry

  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA)
  • California Association of Stormwater Quality Agencies (CASQA)