Michelle is licensed in California and Colorado and her practice focuses on water rights, water quality, and land use matters. Drawing on experience in administrative and public agency law, and a background that blends environmental science and policy, Michelle supports public and private clients in solving complex problems pertaining to an array of water resource and environmental matters.
Michelle counsels clients on trial and appellate litigation, administrative adjudication, and transactional matters, including property acquisitions. She is experienced in a variety of matters before the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards), including matters regarding water right permitting and licensing as well as compliance with water quality-related programs and regulations. Her practice includes preparing and defending investigations of clients’ water rights, crafting arguments in administrative adjudications over water storage and delivery projects of statewide concern, and advising public entities in complying with discharge permitting regulations.
Michelle is a founding member of Somach Simmons & Dunn’s pro bono committee, which educates firm attorneys about available pro bono opportunities and supports attorneys’ efforts in performing public service and community outreach. She is also a participant in the Sacramento Legal Employers Diversity Collective, a partnership between the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and Sacramento-area legal employers.
Outside of work, Michelle enjoys hiking and running on northern California trails and exploring national parks.
Assist in representation of the State of Texas in original jurisdiction proceeding before the United States Supreme Court regarding enforcement of the Rio Grande Compact.
Assist in representation of public entities in administrative and state court proceedings related to the proposed Delta Conveyance Project.
Represent landowners and public agencies with respect to the existence and scope of their water rights, including proceedings before the State Water Board.
Represent irrigation districts Fully Appropriated Stream proceedings and related water right matters before the State Water Board.
Represented a California city in water rights and quiet title litigation.
Negotiated water and sewer line easement agreement for California city.
Provide ongoing regulatory and legal advice to publicly-owned treatment works, including evaluating, negotiating, and obtaining National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued by regional water quality control boards.
Represent public defendants in Clean Water Act citizen suit actions.
Represent various agencies/municipalities on compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.