Posted: September 22, 2022

Check out our conversation with Lara Fowler about her approach to engaging communities in water dispute resolution, drawing on examples from her work on the West Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Session Description

During this talk, Lara discusses projects she's worked on, including who is entitled to store groundwater in the greater Los Angeles area and how combining both flood impact resilience and habitat restoration has helped community members in a Washington State river basin move forward. Looking closer to home, she also discusses work on water and agriculture in the Chesapeake Bay region and flood resilience for Pennsylvania communities. Finally, she shares some ideas about what sustainability might mean for Penn State, Pennsylvania, and beyond.


Storyteller Bio

Lara Fowler has a long background in environmental issues, particularly water and dispute resolution. Prior to joining Penn State in 2012, she worked on public policy issues for the Oregon Water Resources Department, attended the University of Washington School of Law, and practiced with Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP from its Seattle, Washington office. As a private practitioner, she worked on a number of projects that brought stakeholders, science, and the law together with a focus on finding workable solutions. For example, she helped facilitate discussions on how to address chronic flooding issues in Washington State’s second largest river basin, mediated challenging water issues in California and Oregon, and counseled private clients on various regulatory matters, both water and energy related.

She now wears multiple administrative hats at Penn State, where she also teaches water law; energy law; negotiation and dispute resolution design; and mediation of environmental and public conflicts. Her current research focuses on how water, energy, and ways of managing conflict play out in a region that includes the Chesapeake Bay, agriculture, flood-prone rivers, biofuels and other types of energy development.

About the Series

Stories from the Field is a c onversation series on community engagement and applied research. The series is designed to bring academics and practitioners together for informal discussions about the challenges and opportunities of doing work with communities, businesses, and the public sector. Stories from the Field is hosted by Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development , an applied research center dedicated to strengthening local and regional development in Pennsylvania and beyond.