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Jeanne M. Zolezzi is a recognized expert in California Water Rights. This expertise is acknowledged by her leadership role in the American Bar Association water matters. Her practice includes counseling, administrative matters and water rights litigation. For over twenty-three years she has represented public agency and private clients in the acquisition and confirmation of water rights. She handles state and federal litigation against the State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Bureau of Reclamation.
Ms. Zolezzi has appeared as amicus curie before the Nevada Supreme Court, arguing that the public trust doctrine should be affirmatively applied to Nevada water rights adjudication matters.
Ms. Zolezzi represented the plaintiff in a rare water right adjudication of a stream: Putah Creek in Solano County. The litigation involved hundreds of parties and included lands within Lake, Solano and Yolo Counties. After a decade of litigation, she was able to successfully settle all aspects of the litigation and develop a working partnership among the United States, local governmental agencies and private water right holders.
Representing clients that hold water supply contracts with the United States, Ms. Zolezzi has negotiated renewals of those contracts with the federal government, and processed the CEQA and NEPA documentation required for their approval, guaranteeing a continued long-term water supply to thousands of acres of land. She is currently in litigation with the United States over implementation of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and its injury to water users within the watersheds of origin in San Joaquin County.
Ms. Zolezzi acts as lead counsel for a group of State Water Project contractor Plaintiffs demanding that the State of California recognize their priority to Project water because of their county and watershed or origin status.
Ms. Zolezzi represented Castaic Lake Water Agency when it implemented the first whole-sale purchase of a district receiving water from the State Water Project; she negotiated and documented the purchase of and transfer of water from the Devil's Den Water District in Kern County to Castaic Lake Water Agency. Ms. Zolezzi routinely negotiates water transfers from her agricultural clients to water users through the State of California.
She appears regularly before the State Water Resources Control Board, and represents clients in the continuing Bay Delta Water Rights Hearings. Those hearings are now in litigation where Ms. Zolezzi represented clients asserting the rights of lands within the areas of origin to protection under California law through litigation on implementation of the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan.
In addition to her practice in Natural Resources, Ms. Zolezzi undertakes title and environmental review for the annual acquisition of millions of dollars of agricultural property for clients throughout the western United States.
Ms. Zolezzi has lectured on environmental and natural resource topics in numerous professional settings, including the American Bar Association's Annual Water Law Conference, the Water Education Foundation, and the Association of California Water Agencies.
During law school, Ms. Zolezzi was an intern for Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court. Ms. Zolezzi is a fifth generation San Joaquin County resident, and her family has farmed in that area for over 100 years. She continues to live on orchard lands with her husband and three children.