Elizabeth Howard


I enjoy working with other hardworking individuals to solve problems. It is particularly rewarding to see operations growing and succeeding despite the many challenges they face.

How I represent clients at Schwabe

I work with companies and individuals to navigate complex natural resource and environmental regulations, and to obtain permits and authorizations. I also defend and resolve enforcement and regulatory actions from environmental and natural resources agencies in Oregon. My experience includes water; wetlands; endangered, threatened, and sensitive species; Confined Animal Feeding Operations; fertilizers and pesticides; and public and federal lands.

I have a strong focus on natural resources, agriculture, and commercial and residential development. Because of my time working within these industries, I am regarded as a trusted legal advisor, guiding clients through all aspects of their operations and business activities.

I work with landowners, developers, investors, farms, ranches, dairies, energy development companies, timberland owners, ports, and cities throughout Oregon and Washington.

Chambers & Partners USA, client highlights

“Elizabeth Howard is very good. She is an expert in her field of agricultural and water law and she is really impressive.”


  • Assisted applicants in obtaining water rights (storage, groundwater, surface water), transfers, permit amendments and extensions, groundwater modifications, and other authorizations from and agreements with the Oregon Water Resources Department.
  • Assisted in obtaining Oregon state removal/fill permits, Section 404 (Army Corps of Engineers) permits, Section 401 state water quality certifications, Mutual Order and Agreements, and fish passage authorizations.
  • Defended and resolved enforcement actions issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Department of State Lands, Department of Agriculture, Water Resources Department, and Department of Forestry.
  • Coordinated and led consultant, engineer, public relations, and attorney teams to timely complete complex projects and to defend against state regulatory actions.
  • Provided water rights due diligence, environmental due diligence, and public lands rights of way (access) due diligence and advice for developments, real estate transactions, asset purchases, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Assisted landowners and entities in developing federal and state legislative concepts. Participated in rulemaking and legislative work groups.
  • Represented applicants in contested cases before the Oregon Administrative Hearings Office.
  • Resolved fish damage and water quality impact claims (civil and administrative) through a negotiated settlement with multiple state and federal agencies.
  • Resolved public land trespass notices and enforcement actions related to fires, grazing, and access.
  • Resolved, through stipulated agreement and mutual order and agreement, various Oregon Department of Agriculture claims related to pesticide labeling, use, and applications.
  • Resolved grazing permit enforcement actions and restored grazing activity on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
  • Defended high profile enforcement and termination actions for individual CAFO permit issued to Oregon dairy.
  • Defended and settled reforestation and harvest violations issued by the Oregon Department of Forestry.
  • Assisted in development of Biological Assessments and Biological Evaluations, and obtaining Biological Opinions.


  • Oregon State University, Bachelor of Science degree, Agriculture and Resource Economics (1998)
  • Lewis & Clark, Law School, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude (2001)


  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - District of Oregon
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Oregon State Bar, Agricultural Law Section, Former Chair
  • Oregon State Bar, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section, Member


  • Ranked for Environment Lawyers in Oregon, Chambers USA (2021-2023)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Portland Water Law (2022)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America®, Water Law (2012-2024)
  • Oregon State University, College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Luminary award (2011)
  • Selected to Oregon Super Lawyers Rising Star List, Environmental Law (2008-2012, 2014-2015)
  • Portland Business Journal, Forty Under 40 award (2009)
  • Best Law Firms, “Law Firm of the Year” in Timber Law, Team Member (2015, 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024)
  • Best Law Firms, National Tier 1 Firm in Timber Law, Team Member (2011-2024)

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