Natural resources attorney with unique expertise combining public agency work with water law. Specializes in emerging groundwater laws and implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Immersive, team-player, prioritizing a preemptive approach to representation.
Jena Acos’ practice thrives at the intersection of water and public agency law. She intimately understands how natural resource issues interrelate with the economic, social and regulatory aspects inherent in public agency work. She takes a strategic approach to breaking down problems and generating candid dialogue that is often key to resolving complex issues.
Jena’s clients include one of California’s largest water districts responsible for managing one of the state’s critically overdrafted groundwater basins. Jena advises clients on SGMA and the development of groundwater management plans. Along with institutional government entities, Jena works with various water rights holders on both small-scale and larger projects.
Jena serves as a contract city attorney for the City of Carpinteria, where she works closely with city staff to draft, review and enforce contracts and ordinances as well as navigate critical jurisdictional issues. Her work has included addressing comprehensive regulations for short-term rentals, taking on racial and social justice issues, negotiating land use matters with developers and energy companies and helping the city navigate sea-level rise, coastal access and various housing issues.
Special counsel to the newly formed GSA for the Westside Subbasin. Westside Subbasin consists mainly of the lands in the Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the United States comprised of over 1,000 square miles of farmland. Provides counsel to GSA, including compliance with SGMA’s procedural requirements, preparation of the GSP, and collaboration with neighboring GSAs and stakeholders.
Counsel to a group of local agencies in Ventura County to draft and negotiate a joint powers agreement to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency pursuant to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, Board Member
California Groundwater Resource Association Central Coast Board, Vice President
Georgetown Pro Bono Fellows Program
Central American Refugee Committee (CRECE)
Planning for College Success
California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG)
Northwest Youth Corp – Conservation Corps
Brownstein Water: Current Trends in Water Law & PolicyContributor
3rd Annual Western Groundwater CongressSpeaker, 3rd Annual Western Groundwater Congress, Groundwater Resources Association, September 14-17, 2020
Groundwater Fees and FinanceSpeaker, GRA/CGC 2020 Groundwater Law And Legislation Forum Agenda, March 11, 2020
Rate-Setting with a Divining Rod - Groundwater Fees with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)Panelist, 2020 Annual Conference, California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, January 29, 2020
California Sea Level Rise: A Primer
Guest Lecturer, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, Environmental Law Seminar Class, June 4, 2019
Panelist, GRA/CGC 2019 Groundwater Law and Legislation Forum, Sacramento, CA, March 27, 2019
SGMA Fee Issues: How to Fund GSA Implementation, GSP Projects, and How to Avoid Prop 218 Pitfalls
Panelist, AGWA - AGWT Annual Groundwater Conference, Ontario, CA, February 12, 2019
Fee Authority Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
Speaker, Groundwater Resources Association's First Annual Western Groundwater Congress, Sacramento, CA, September 27, 2018
Take me to the (Ground)Water: Hot Legal Issues in Groundwater Law
Moderator, Groundwater Resources Association's First Annual Western Groundwater Congress, Sacramento, CA, September 27, 2018
Climate Change and State and Local Water Management
Speaker, California Water Law and Policy - 33rd Conference Program, San Francisco, CA, June 12, 2018
2017 Groundwater Law Workshop
Co-Chair, 2017 Groundwater Law Workshop, Sacramento, CA, October 2, 2017; Water Quality Panel Moderator
CEQA News You Can Use - Vol. 1, Issue 2Brownstein Client Alert, February 2, 2017
California Water Law
Speaker, California Water Law MCLE, Santa Barbara, CA, Nov. 10, 2016
CEQA News You Can Use - Vol. 1, Issue 1Brownstein Client Alert, October 6, 2016
The Golden Rule* of Water ManagementCo-author, Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal, Symposium Edition, Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2015
Handling the application, lease, transfer and sale of water rights
Speaker, Water Rights in California, National Business Institute, Ventura, CA, January 12, 2016
Land Use Planning and Sea Level Rise—Are We Doing Anything about It Yet?
Presenter, California Land Use Law & Policy Conference, March 9, 2015
Groundwater Regulation on the Rise as Counties Gear Up to Meet Sustainable Management RequirementsBrownstein Client Alert, February 2, 2015
2019 Young Pro, Water & Wastes Digest
Top 50 Women in Business 2019, Pacific Coast Business Times, March 2019
Global Law Scholar, Georgetown University Law School
Senior Articles Editor, The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law