Overview

About Merissa

Merissa Moeller advises clients on the use and development of natural resources, with emphases on water resources and rural land use matters. Merissa brings nearly a decade of experience working with Oregon’s natural resource users. During that time, she has represented 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 is a strategic problem solver who helps clients tackle complex regulatory issues from multiple angles.

Merissa’s water and natural resources 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, and fish and wildlife laws.

In her land use practice, Merissa represents developers before local governments, the Land Use Board of Appeals, and Oregon’s appellate courts. She has particular experience working with rural developers, including renewable energy companies, to site projects on agricultural and forest land protected for its natural resource values. Merissa’s cross-disciplinary expertise enables her to approach permitting and compliance challenges strategically and holistically.

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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Experience

Experience

  • 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, lenders, and developers regarding water rights and land use entitlements associated with agricultural and forestry properties.
  • Oregon Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife v. Crook Cnty., 315 Or App 625, 504 P3d 68 (2021)—Secured favorable decision on behalf of commercial solar developer interpreting state-level consultation requirements and legal protections for wildlife habitat.
  • Baley v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 19-1134 (2020)—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.
  • Representation of irrigation district and forestry company in state water rights adjudication.
  • Representation of municipality to protect regional water supply in multi-party Endangered Species Act citizen suit.
  • Representation of 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

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law), 2021–2023
  • Resource Education and Agricultural Leadership (“REAL”) Oregon Leadership Program, 2021–2022
  • Oregon Reporter, The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, Water Law Newsletter
  • Member, Oregon Water Resources Congress
  • Member, Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association
  • Board of Directors, Women in Environment, 2019–2021
  • Member, Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group Committee, 2019–2021
  • 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

  • “Five Recent Opinions Highlight Procedural Barriers to Resolving Ongoing Disputes About Releases of Stored Water from Upper Klamath Lake,” The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, Water Law Newsletter, Vol. 55, No. 3, 2022
  • “How to Flip Turn: Starting a Commercial Wine Label with Meg Rulli, Owner of Flipturn Cellars,” Stoel Rives “Deeply Rooted” Podcast, S2E2, 2022
  • “Permitting Renewable Energy on Agricultural Land,” Agriculture Law in the Northwest Conference, The Seminar Group, Hood River, OR, July 15, 2022
  • “Impacts to Wildlife,” The Law of Environmental Protection, Environmental Law Institute, 2022
  • “Adventures in Commercial Solar Permitting,” Oregon Land Use Law Seminar, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, December 3, 2021
  • “Environmental Law Alphabet Soup,” Oregon Water Resources Congress Annual Conference, Hood River, OR, November 29, 2021
  • “Deschutes Basin Updates,” 30th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, November 4, 2021
  • “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,” The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, Water Law Newsletter, 2020
  • “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, E-Outlook, Environmental & Natural Resources Section, Oregon State Bar, May 2017
  • “Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area,” Washington State Bar Association, Real Property Deskbook, 2016



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