College of Law

Great Lakes Water Conference

"Water in the Courts" - A virtual conference

On Nov. 6, 2020, the college hosted the 20th Annual Great Lakes Water Conference. Water-related cases of international, national, regional, and local import were the focus of the conference. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's conference was conducted virtually online as a live webinar.

Titled "Water in the Courts," the half-day conference featured six legal experts addressing litigation about the Enbridge oil pipeline underlying the Straits of Mackinac; an interstate groundwater allocation case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court; the Court's recent County of Maui decision affecting permitting under the Clean Water Act; challenges to the new federal "waters of the United States" rule, high water levels and flooding in and around Lake Ontario; and the Lake Erie Bill of Rights.

This conference was sponsored by The University of Toledo College of Law and its affiliated Legal Institute of the Great Lakes.


  • 9 a.m. - Welcome/Opening
  • 9:10 a.m. - First Half Speakers
    • Enbridge Oil Pipeline Underlying Straits of Mackinac Litigation: Prof. Nicholas Schroeck, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (Detroit, Mich.)
    • Lake Ontario High Water Levels and Flooding Disputes: Prof. Patricia Galvao Ferreira, University of Windsor Faculty of Law (Windsor, Ontario)
    • Mississippi v. Tennessee, U.S. Supreme Court Interstate Groundwater Allocation Case: Prof. Noah Hall, Wayne State University Law School (Detroit, Mich.)
  • 10:40 a.m. - Halftime Break
  • 10:50 a.m. - Second Half Speakers
    • County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, U.S. Supreme Court Decision: Prof. Steph Tai, University of Wisconsin Law School (Madison, Wis.)
    • New 'Waters of the United States' Rule and Challenges Thereto: Prof. Heidi Gorovitz Robertson, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Cleveland, Ohio)
    • Lake Erie Bill of Rights and Its Invalidation: Prof. Kenneth Kilbert, University of Toledo College of Law (Toledo, Ohio)
  • 12:20 p.m. - Closing

CLE Materials

Previous Conferences

Historically, water law has been the province of lawyers and policymakers in the arid western United States. In recent years, however, lawmakers in the Great Lakes region have come to recognize the critical role that water management plays in securing a healthy and vibrant society over the long term. In recognition of this development, the College of Law and the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes sponsor annual conferences each fall on water issues of importance to the Great Lakes region and the nation. For more information, explore the conference brochure links below.

Last Updated: 11/19/20