Jump to Navigation

Douglas W. MacDougal

Thank you for your interest in communicating with Marten Law.

Unless you are an existing client of Marten Law, please note transmission of an email does not establish an attorney-client relationship and any information transmitted is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

Please do not include confidential information in any correspondence with the firm until written confirmation has been received from Marten Law that the firm has completed a conflicts check and agreed to represent you in a particular matter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Click to Email: dmacdougal@martenlaw.com

Doug MacDougal has over 30 years of experience in water rights, natural resources, and real estate law.

His water-related experience includes representing clients in water rights, permitting and regulatory matters, and natural resource policy issues. Doug has been lead counsel on a number of complex water negotiations in Oregon water basins, involving federal, tribal, environmental, and private party interests. He has substantial experience in contested water cases involving water right transfers, stream and groundwater hydrology, and native rights, and has been involved in the ongoing Klamath Adjudication. He frequently consults on individual, basin, and watershed issues involving water rights, the Clean Water Act, endangered species, dams, and hydropower operations. He also has been heavily engaged in various ESA Section 7 consultations, and has undertaken a variety of due diligence assignments involving water, natural resource, and real estate issues in large multi-party transactions. His work emphasizes representation of ports, irrigation water users, ranches, and municipalities.

Doug often plays a lead role in multidisciplinary projects including consultants, lawyers, and other parties. He is skilled in resolving difficult issues and experienced in finding pathways to solutions and, using his technical science background, able to understand and comment on scientific reports related to client projects.

Doug is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and is named one of “Portland’s Best Lawyers” in water law by Portland Monthly.

Representative Experience

  • Represent an irrigation district in a collective negotiating effort to attempt to settle water rights of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
  • Represent owner of several ranches in the Wood River in contested cases on claims of USBIA and Klamath Tribes for tribal instream water rights in the Klamath Basin Adjudication.
  • Represented large hydropower client in Klamath Basin Adjudication and contests to tribal instream water rights on the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake in the Klamath Adjudication. Worked on a successful settlement of that controversy.
  • Represented three large irrigation districts in southern Oregon in a multi-year Endangered Species Act consultation on a large Bureau of Reclamation project, culminating in a no-jeopardy biological opinion.
  • Represented national conservation organization in the settlement on more than 25,000 acres of land in separate case involving the Sycan Marsh and the Williamson River Delta in the Klamath Basin Adjudication. Worked with tribal and United States interests in settling claims in that multiyear effort.
  • Represent a port on the Columbia River in the development of its Water Management and Conservation Plan and in the perfection and marketing of its water rights.
  • Advise a large Oregon municipality in the strategic planning and perfection of its water rights
  • Represent southern Oregon resort landowner in various land transactions with the Bureau of Reclamation
  • Concluded informal consultations with federal and state resource agencies on developing a fisheries plan to protect bull trout, a listed species, and other resources in the Upper Hood River Basin.
  • Counseled a large ranch in eastern Oregon dealing with regulatory issues and prior appropriation conflicts among water users.
  • Represented an Oregon Coast municipality in fending off a contest by another municipality in the development of its wellfield critically needed for its future growth.
  • Undertook water and natural resource due diligence for a large west coast bank in the financing of tens of thousands of acres of farmland in Eastern Oregon.
  • Obtained a significant water right and NPDES permit for a Port on the Columbia River for industrial development.


  • Partner, Marten Law LLP, Portland, OR (2010 - present)
  • Shareholder, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, Portland, OR (1998 - 2010)
  • Partner, Ashford & Wriston, Honolulu, HI (1973 - 1998)


  • J.D., cum laude, Washington and Lee University (1973)
    (Law Review Note and Comment Editor)
  • B.S., Mathematics, University of Vermont (1967)

Admitted To Practice

  • State Bars of Oregon, Washington and Hawaii
  • U.S. District Courts for District of Oregon and Hawaii

Professional Activities and Honors

  • Vice Chair, Governing Board, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) (appointed by Governor Kulongoski and confirmed by Oregon Senate, 2010.)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Oregon Water Resources Congress (OWRC)
  • Previous Vice Chair, Water Resources Committee, American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources
  • Appointed by Sixteenth Hawaii Legislature to Review Commission on the State Water Code to recommend reforms to Hawaii’s water law; chaired Commission’s Legal Issues Subcommittee
  • 2007 -2017 The Best Lawyers in America© listed
    • 2014 - 2015 Portland, OR Water Law "Lawyer of the Year"

Select Presentations and Publications

  • Regular presenter, annual Oregon Water Law Conference (2012 presentation: Trouble in River City: Ground Water Users Meet Surface Water Rights on the Umatilla River)
  • Regular presenter, Oregon Water Resources Congress annual conference (2012 presentation: The Rogue Project Biological Opinion: Successful End of a Long Struggle)
  • Co-Chair Tribal Water Law Conference, Seattle, WA, 2011 and 2012, and presenter (2012 presentation: The Story of a Judge, a River, and Fish: What’s New in the Columbia River Hydro System)
  • Oregon editor and regular contributor to Western Water Law & Policy Reporter
  • Presenter, ESA Water Conflicts: Views from the Trenches, 16th Annual Endangered Species Act Conference, Seattle, WA (January, 2009)
  • Co-author, amicus brief for Oregon Water Resources Congress [trust concept reasoning was followed by the Oregon Supreme Court in “Ft. Vannoy Irrigation District v. Water Resources Commission,” 234 OR 56, 88 P.3d 277 (2008)]
  • Presenter, The Outer Limits of “Winters”: Adjudicating the Long Reach of Tribal Reserved Water Rights in the Klamath Basin, ABA Annual Water Law Conference, San Diego, CA (2008)
  • Co-author, Water Law chapter, Environmental Deskbook, Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Section (2002 edition and 2006 supplement)
  • Presenter, Quantifying Injury in Water Right Transfers, Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association (May, 2005)
  • Presenter, Use and Misuse of Models in Water Disputes, ABA Annual Water Law Conference, San Diego, CA (2005)
  • Presenter, Irrigation Districts, Tribes and the ESA, Northwest Tribal Water Rights Conference (October, 2004)
  • Co-chair, 20th Annual Water Law Conference on Growth and Scarcity: Managing Water to Avoid Conflict, San Diego, CA (2002)
  • Moderator, panel on Five Perspectives on the Allocation of Scarce Water Resources, 20th Annual Water Law Conference, San Diego, CA (2002)
  • Law Review author, Private Hopes and Public Values in the “Reasonable Beneficial Use” of Hawaii’s Waters: Is Balance Possible?, 18 U. Haw. L. Rev. 1 (1995) [cited and relied on by the Hawaii Supreme Court in “In re Water Use Permit Applications, etc. for the Waiahole Ditch,” 94 Haw. 97; 9 P.3d 409 (2000)]
  • Law Review author, Testing the Current: The Water Code and the Regulation of Hawaii’s Water Resources, 10 U. Haw. L. Rev. 205 (1988)
  • Author, Hawaii Later Law Appendix for Clark, Waters and Water Rights (Michie, 1991 edition and supplements)

Civic Activities

  • Adjunct professor, Department of Physics, Portland State University, OR
  • Author, Newton’s Gravity: An Introductory Guide to the Mechanics of the Universe (Springer, New York, 2012)
  • Instructor, mathematics and astronomy, Saturday Academy, and Saturday Academy TAG Camp, Portland, OR
  • Adjunct professor of law, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (1990 – 1995)

Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID): Fisheries Management Plan

Compliance with MFID’s Special Use Permit from the United States Forest Service evolved into an informal ESA consultation focusing on threatened Bull Trout, and other species, in the Districts’ Laurance Lake reservoir and tributaries. More

Rogue Basin Water User’s Council: Bureau of Reclamation Section 7 ESA Consultation

Douglas McDougall and Jessica Ferrell represented the Rogue Basin Water User’s Council (RBWUC) in an ongoing Section 7 Consultation under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The matter involves the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rogue River Basin Project. More