Representation on natural resources issues for Tribes
Mentor Law Group’s attorneys provide counsel to tribal and non-tribal governments on common and complex natural resources issues, such as water right adjudications and protection of cultural and natural resources. We assist tribal governments in asserting their right to water resources, fishing and hunting. Additionally, we have represented private entities in discussions and negotiations with tribal governments on a variety of natural resources issues.
We assist in water right adjudications and advise tribal governments on the extent and nature of water rights under treaties, executive orders, other agreements and case law. We work closely with a range of expert consultants, including hydrologists, engineers, planners and other experts to develop the record for water rights adjudications and to aid our clients in long term water planning and natural resource protection. Mentor Law Group also assists tribal governments in evaluating water right adjudications, settlement agreements and cooperative agreements with state and federal agencies.
- Assisted a tribal government in the acquisition of land with water rights and the protection of those water rights for use on the land and to benefit fish and wildlife instream.
- Assisted the client in identifying funding opportunities for additional acquisitions.
- Advocated on behalf of a tribal government in a water right adjudication to protect existing water uses and water resources for future use and development for the reservation and aboriginal lands.
Cultural and Natural Resources
Mentor Law Group provides legal services to protect the lands and resources of ancestral territory which are necessary to protecting tribal heritage. Our firm has experience enforcing the federal trust responsibility on behalf of tribes, calling on federal agencies to account for the cost of acquiring and managing tribal resources. We have worked closely with tribes to acquire compensation for loss of aboriginal title to lands and to recover territorial control of former reservation lands, including co-management of lands, acquisition of private lands, and advocating for taking lands into trust. The protection of our clients’ rights necessarily involves working with state and federal agencies, state legislators and Congress to obtain funding and legislation for our clients.
- Advocated on behalf of a tribal government following the mishandling of cultural resources.
- Negotiated a cooperative agreement for a tribal government with federal, state and local governments for co-management of fish and wildlife and protection of cultural resources.
- Assisted in the transfer of fee title to lands held in trust.
- Advocated with federal agencies to help a tribe achieve eligibility for treatment as a state, giving tribe the authority to enact and enforce standards under federal environmental laws.