Leon Szeptycki is a research collaborator at Water in the West and former executive director of the progam. He is an attorney who specializes in water quality, water use and watershed restoration. His work includes issues related to stream flow restoration in the context of the western appropriative rights system and increasing human demands on water. Over his career, Leon has worked on a broad range of matters related to the restoration of river health and water quality on a landscape scale.
From 2006 until 2012, Leon taught at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he ran the Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic and helped create an interdisciplinary course in conservation for students in the environmental sciences department and the law school. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Trout Unlimited, a national conservation organization devoted to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon rivers. While at Trout Unlimited, Leon helped develop innovative legal and policy tools for voluntary watershed restoration by a variety of means, include dam removal and reclamation of abandoned mine sites. He has also worked in private law practice and at the U.S. Department of Justice. Leon received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
In 2016, Leon was appointed by CA Gov Jerry Brown to the Board of Directors of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, an organization formed in 2016 whose sole purpose is to oversee the removal of four dams on the upper Klamath river.