About Merissa

Merissa Moeller advises clients on water resources, natural resources, and land use matters, applying her diverse experience representing individual landowners and developers, businesses and local governments, state natural resources agencies, an interstate land use planning commission, and the courts. With that broad policy perspective, Merissa strives to ground legal challenges in the real world, to deliver practical solutions for clients.

Merissa’s practice includes strategic counseling, regulatory compliance, and permitting work on behalf of the hydropower industry and other renewable energy developers, municipal water utilities, irrigation districts, wineries, the timber industry, and other natural resource users. She advises clients on water resource development, water rights, and water quality permitting and certifications. She also regularly works with clients to secure land use permits from local governments and to develop compliance and mitigation strategies under the Endangered Species Act and other federal and state environmental laws.

During law school, Merissa worked on behalf of Oregon’s natural resource agencies with the Oregon Department of Justice and as a legal extern for the Columbia River Gorge Commission. Merissa also served as a judicial clerk at the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals for the Honorable Lynn Nakamoto and Honorable Roger DeHoog.

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  • Regularly counsels municipal, agricultural, and industrial water users to achieve long-term water supply planning and water quality goals.
  • Regularly advises current landowners and potential property buyers and lenders regarding water rights associated with wineries and other agricultural properties.
  • Drafted U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of state and national water resource suppliers in significant water rights takings case involving tribal water right claims and Endangered Species Act.
  • Represented irrigation district and forestry company in state water rights adjudication.
  • Represented municipality to protect regional water supply in multi-party Endangered Species Act citizen suit.
  • Represented major hydroelectric facility in two-state water quality certification proceedings under section 401 of the Clean Water Act, required for federal relicensing.
  • Regularly works with natural resource users, water suppliers, and renewable energy companies to develop habitat conservation plans and other Endangered Species Act compliance strategies.
  • Regularly works with solar and wind energy developers to develop mitigation strategies and to obtain siting permits from local governments and Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
  • Regularly represents rural and urban developers in Oregon land use proceedings, including asserting and defending appeals.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America (Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law), 2021–2022
  • Board Member, Women in Environment
  • Member, Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group Committee
  • Member, Environmental and Natural Resources Section and Real Estate and Land Use Section, Oregon State Bar

Civic Activities

  • Attorney Mentor, Lewis & Clark Law School law student mentoring program
  • Volunteer appellate moot court judge, Lewis & Clark Law School
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Deschutes Basin Updates,” 30th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, November 4, 2020
  • “Impacts to Wildlife,” The Law of Environmental Protection, Environmental Law Institute, (forthcoming)
  • “Recent Developments in Oregon Wetlands Permitting,” National Association for Industrial and Office Parks Public Affairs Forum, March 18, 2021
  • “Water Rights 101,” 29th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, November 5, 2020
  • Oregon Court Invalidates Groundwater Regulation Rules in Upper Klamath Basin, April 2020 (forthcoming)
  • “Trump Administration Wades into WOTUS Definition,” Oregon Real Estate and Land Use Digest, Oregon State Bar, February 2020
  • “The Endangered Species Act and Oregon Agriculture: Nuts and Bolts and the Next 50 Years,” Oregon Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference, Portland, OR, November 16, 2019
  • County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund: Implications for Public Water Suppliers,” Oregon Water Resources Congress Water Law Conference, October 3, 2019
  • “Water Law 101: An Overview of Water Rights in Oregon,” 27th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, November 8, 2018
  • POTUS Undoes WOTUS, on to SCOTUS (co-author), E-Outlook, Environmental & Natural Resources Section, Oregon State Bar, May 2017
  • “Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area” (co-author), Washington State Bar Association, Real Property Deskbook, 2016

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