All VLS Courses
Legal Adaptation to Global Warming
Using global warming adaptation as an example of how the law and legal institutions evolve in response to major social changes, the course examines the legal challenges raised by the need for our society to adapt to the impacts of global warming. Topics include the need for alternative tools for dealing with eroding coastal shores and higher flooding risks, strategies for relocating urban populations to higher ground, modifications to the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife laws, federal and state property insurance policies, and techniques for reallocating water supplies.
An introduction to the concept of ownership and its legal implications: rights to control, enjoy, and transfer real and personal property, including public and private restrictions on use; estates in land; concurrent ownership; adverse possession; easements and licenses; and landlords and tenants.
Water Resources Law
Examines the three main systems of water law in the United States: Eastern riparian systems, the prior appropriation doctrine of the West, and the nationally diverse laws regulating the use of groundwater. The course will also review federal water allocation issues, interstate water disputes, tribal water rights matters, and will highlight contemporary water allocation dilemmas throughout the country.
Watershed Management and Protection
Taking "ecosystem approach" to the study of watersheds and the laws that attempt to restore and maintain them, the course contrasts the current fragmented approach of pollution control and land use law with the kind of integration that is needed to deal more effectively with the problems affecting watersheds. Topics include the public trust doctrine, water allocation, pollution control, floodplains and wetlands conservation, storm water controls, "factory farms," endangered species preservation, and ecological restoration.