Peter H. Dykstra | Partner
Peter counsels public and private clients on water rights, land conservation transactions and strategies, ecosystem service markets, and complex natural resource projects. As part of his diverse water and natural resources law practice, Peter assists government agencies, nonprofits, and business entities with strategic planning, project planning, real estate acquisitions, and regulatory compliance under a wide variety of federal, state, and local laws.
In addition to his law practice, Peter helps clients with issues before Congress, the Washington State Legislature, and federal and state government agencies, including working to pass federal and state legislation, secure public funding for projects, and develop collaborative public/private partnerships for large-scale, innovative solutions to natural resource challenges. Peter also uses his experience building collaboration among a wide variety of stakeholders to help create, facilitate and motivate coalitions of nontraditional allies. In that work, Peter has a strong track record of helping “strange bedfellows” come together to develop and implement successful policy and funding strategies focused on long-term environmental restoration and economic sustainability.
Prior to returning to law practice in 2013, Peter served as Pacific Northwest Regional Director of the Wilderness Society, Washington State Director of The Trust for Public Land, and Managing Director of the Washington Water Trust. During his time in the conservation nonprofit sector, Peter designed and participated in programs that broadened the constituency for land and water protection and achieved extensive conservation outcomes for Washington State. Through his work, over 90,000 acres of land was conserved, over $250 million of funding for land and water protection was secured, and several pieces of legislation furthering natural resources protection passed Congress and the Washington State Legislature. Prior to his work in the nonprofit community, Peter spent several years in private law practice in Seattle. He began his career as an Assistant Attorney General for Washington State.
J.D., Indiana University, cum laude, 1997
M.P.A., Indiana University, 1997
B.A., Indiana University, 1992
Best Lawyer – Environmental and Natural Resources Law
The Best Lawyers in America, 2018
Enviropreneur Institute, 2009
Washington Law & Politics, 2001
Ecological Restoration Business Association
Pacific Northwest Regional Advisor
Environmental Law Institute
Advisory Committee on NRDs, Banking, and Watershed Approach (2017)
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition
Pro bono Counsel
Board President (2012-2014)
Board Member (2006-2016)
Board Member (2013-2016 and 2008-2011)
Washington Rivers Conservancy
Founding Chair and Board Member, 2005 – 2010
Puget Sound Section of American Planning Association
Board Member (1999-2002), President (2001-2002)
U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Publications & Presentations
Ensuring Mitigation, Speaker, Washington Legislative Task Force on Mitigation, Olympia, WA, September 28, 2018.
Mitigation & Response to Hirst (CLE), Speaker, Water Law in Central Washington, The Seminar Group, Ellensburg, WA, August 16-17, 2018.
Water Banking for Agricultural Water Supplies (CLE), Co-Chair, Water Law in Washington, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, June 14-15, 2018.
Perspectives on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, Speaker, Collaboration and Compromise in the Rural West, Stanford Bill Lane Center, Yakima, WA, March 22-23, 2018.
Law and Policy of Columbia Basin Instream Flow Restoration, Speaker, River Restoration NW Symposium, Stevenson, WA, February 8, 2018.
Water Issues in Western Land Conservation (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2017: The National Land Conservation Conference, Denver, CO, October 26 – 28, 2017.
Water Infrastructure Improvement: Case Study of Integrated Water Management Solutions Under the Columbia River Water Management Program (CLE), Co-Chair, Water Law in Washington, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, July 25-26, 2017.
Availability of Water: A Legal Perspective, Speaker, AWRA-WA State Conference, Portland, OR, October 3, 2017.
Creative Mitigation Strategies (CLE), Speaker, Shoreline Regulation in Washington State: Marine Shorelines, Rivers and Lakes, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, June 1-2, 2017
Making Conservation Count: Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, Speaker, Washington Salmon Recovery Conference, Wenatchee, WA, April 25-27, 2017.
National Mitigation Banking Association Annual Policy Conference, Speaker, New Opportunities in Efficient Restoration: NRDAR and Case Studies, National Mitigation Banking Association, Washington, DC, March 22, 2017.
Water Resources and the Growth Management Act: Seeking Creative Solutions as Water law and GMA Intersect, WA/OR American Planning Association Joint Conference, Portland, OR, October 28, 2016.
Water Resource Planning and the Growth Management Act (CLE), Speaker, Water Law in Washington, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, July 18 – 19, 2016.
Water Banks: Successful Solutions (CLE), Speaker, Fire and Drought: Legal Implications for Washington State, King County Bar Association, Seattle WA, March 31, 2016.
Grabbing the Tiger by the Tail: Land Trust Collaboration for Large Landscape Conservation Success, Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2015: The National Land Conservation Conference, Sacramento, CA, October 8 – 10, 2015.
Water Issues in Western Land Conservation (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2015: The National Land Conservation Conference, Sacramento, CA, October 8 – 10, 2015.
Streamflows in the Columbia River (CLE), Speaker, 24th Annual Comprehensive Conference on Water Law in Washington, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, July 27 – 28, 2015.
Creative Mitigation Strategies (CLE), Speaker, Shoreline Regulation in Washington State: Marine Shorelines, Rivers and Lakes, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, May 1, 2015.
The Future of the Columbia River (CLE), Speaker, 23rd Annual Comprehensive Conference on Water Law in Washington, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, June 19 – 20, 2014.
Water Rights in Western Conservation Easements (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2013: The National Land Conservation Conference, New Orleans, LA, September 17 – 19, 2013.
Water: Something You Can Trust, Speaker, Washington Salmon Recovery Conference, Vancouver, WA, May 14 –15, 2013.
Water Rights in Western Conservation Easements (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2012: The National Land Conservation Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, September 30 – October 2, 2012.
Strategies to Protect Municipal Water Supply, Speaker, NW Environmental Funders, Whitefish, MT, 2011.
LWCF Funding and Land Trusts, Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2010: The National Land Conservation Conference, Hartford, CT, October 3 – 5, 2010.
Water Rights: Conservation Easements and Other Techniques to Protect In-Stream Flows, Speaker and Faculty Advisor, CLE International, Seattle, WA, March 18 – 19, 2010.
Water Rights in Western Conservation Easements (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2009: The National Land Conservation Conference, Portland, OR, October 12 – 14, 2009.
Entrepreneurship and the Environment, Speaker, PERC, Emigrant, MT, 2009.
How Should the Laws Governing Water Right Transfers Be Changed? (CLE), Speaker, Washington Water Law 2009: New and Evolving Policy Priorities, Rules and Litigation, Law Seminars Intl. Seattle, WA, June 4 – 5, 2009.
Water Banking/Exchange Workshop. Speaker, Washington Department of Ecology, Moses Lake, WA, 2008.
Water Banking/Exchange Workshop, Speaker, Washington Department of Ecology, Edmonds, WA, 2008.
Water Rights Transfers (CLE), Speaker, Water Rights in Washington Seminar, WSBA Seattle, WA, 2007.
Water Rights in Western Conservation Easements (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2007: The National Land Conservation Conference, Denver, Co, October 3 – 6, 2007.
Water Rights in Western Conservation Easements (CLE), Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2006: The National Land Conservation Conference, Nashville, TN, October 12 – 15, 2006.
Ecosystem Service Payments: Water Markets, Speaker, Washington Working Forest Forum, Union, WA, November 21 – 22, 2005.
Water Rights 101, Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2003: The National Land Conservation Conference, Sacramento, CA, October 16 – 19, 2003.
Water Rights 101, Speaker, Land Trust Alliance Rally 2002: The National Land Conservation Conference, Austin, TX, October 26 – 29, 2002.
Water for Fish: Recent Interplay between Western Water Rights and the Endangered Species Act, WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law Newsletter, July 2001.
Defining the Mother Lode: Yellowstone National Park v. the New World Mine, Author, 24 Ecology Law Quarterly 299, 1997.
Employment and Teaching History
Pacific Northwest Regional Director, The Wilderness Society. Oversaw national conservation organization’s efforts to protect wildlands and inspire people to care for wild places throughout Washington and Oregon. Directed political strategy and implementation for organization and its partners in Olympia and for Washington and Oregon congressional delegations. Led diverse, multi-departmental team of conservation policy, communications, science, and philanthropy experts.
Reinvigorated North Cascades Initiative and established it as a strategic, politically-savvy, landscape-scale conservation effort.
Chief architect of conservation community initiative to protect 200,000 acres of public and private forestland as critical element of Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, including leading strategy for securing funding for purchase of over 50,000 acres from willing private sellers.
Provided strategic direction to TWS recreation program, including co-leading the development of National Forest Access Coalition.
Guided creation of forest restoration collaborative in Chelan and Okanogan Counties in partnership with county commissioners, tribes, salmon recovery groups, US Forest Service, and The Nature Conservancy.
Political and grasstops strategist for successful effort to secure Presidential proclamation for San Juan Islands National Monument. (2010 – 2013)
Adjunct Professor, Seattle University, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Taught Environmental Law and Policy to undergraduate students.
(2005 – 2012)
Washington State Director, The Trust for Public Land. Oversaw this national conservation organization’s efforts to conserve land for people in Washington State from main-street to mountaintop.
Guided creation and implementation of major conservation initiatives in Puget Sound and north central Washington including developing strategic multi-organization collaborations, designing community-based conservation plans, and motivating grassroots and political constituencies.
Secured over $100 million in public funding for strategic conservation projects in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal government entities and private landowners. Directed negotiations and closing for over $80 million of these transactions.
Led successful 3-year Puget Sound effort with The Nature Conservancy and People for Puget Sound to establish 10 new parks, restore 50 miles of habitat, and protect 1,000 miles of shorelines. (2004 – 2010)
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Washington, Department of Urban Design and Planning. Lectured on legal and administrative aspects of land use planning. (2004 – 2008)
Managing Director, Washington Water Trust. Provided strategic leadership and legal counsel to board of directors and staff of nonprofit organization that developed water markets for instream flows to benefit the environment in Washington. Negotiated and closed many of Washington’s first nonprofit water right acquisitions and leases, including writing all documents related to real estate transactions, and completed all phases of regulatory processes. (2002 – 2004)
Attorney, Mentor Law Group. (2001 – 2002)
Attorney, Carney Badley Spellman (1999 – 2001)
Assistant Attorney General, Washington Attorney General’s Office. (1997 – 1999)