Steve M. Anderson


Tel: (951) 826-8279


At a Glance

Steve is regularly involved with surface and groundwater rights issues, including the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
He helps clients with mitigation banking, land conservation and Endangered Species Act matters.
Steve also serves as a volunteer attorney and board member for a local legal aid clinic.

Steve Anderson works on water rights, groundwater, wetlands, in-lieu fee program, endangered species, environmental mitigation, conservation easements and other natural resource law matters. As a partner at Best Best & Krieger LLP, Steve is a member of the firm’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources, Special Districts and Municipal Law practice groups.

Water Law
Steve is regularly involved in water issues faced by public agencies and private clients across California, including water rights disputes, groundwater, recycled water, water diversions and reporting, drought impacts on water supply, implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, water bonds (Proposition 1), water supply assessments, wastewater and integrated water planning. Steve routinely drafts water rights opinions and contracts involving water supplies.
General Counsel Practice
Steve serves as general counsel to water districts, court-appointed watermasters, resource conservation districts and other special districts. In this capacity, Steve works on Brown Act, conflict of interest, contracting, grant funding, employment, transactional and other public agency governance issues, in addition to natural resource law matters.
CWA, ESA and More
Steve also assists public and private entities with Section 404 wetlands permitting, in-lieu fee programs, mitigation banking and other federal Clean Water Act issues. He helps clients in complying with Section 7 consultation requirements, habitat conservation planning and conservation banking issues under the federal Endangered Species Act. Steve routinely interacts with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Regional Water Quality Control Boards and other state and federal regulatory agencies on permitting for infrastructure development and other public and private projects.
Steve represents public and private clients in administrative proceedings and civil litigation in state and federal courts involving the Delta, the Colorado River, State Water Resources Control Board orders, the ESA, the CWA, the California Endangered Species Act, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act and other laws.
Steve regularly makes presentations on water, endangered species, CWA, mitigation and land conservation issues at local, regional and statewide conferences. Steve has taught courses on the ESA and habitat conservation planning at the University of California, Riverside. He also frequently drafts articles on the ESA and California water law issues for state and national publications.
Before joining BB&K, Steve served as a judicial law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court.
Steve also serves as a volunteer attorney and board member of the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association legal aid project, a nonprofit that provides free legal services to the under-served. 
Sample Recent Matters

  • Assisted public agencies in forming GSAs under SGMA in more than eight groundwater basins.
  • Represented public water agency in dispute over local surface water supplies; litigation settled on favorable terms.
  • Secured approval for the first Army Corps/EPA in-lieu fee program approved in the Los Angeles District under the 2008 CWA Mitigation Rule.
  • Represented coalition of water agencies in endangered fish species litigation related to Delta water supplies.
  • Assisted resource conservation districts and nonprofit land trust to place into conservation thousands of acres of protected riparian habitat and uplands.
  • Helped vineyard owner in dispute with uphill neighbor over groundwater pumping.
  • Prepared water rights opinion in support of multi-million dollar real estate transaction.


  • University of California, Hastings, J.D.
  • University of California, San Diego, B.A.


  • California
  • District of Columbia


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Water Law, 2019-2021
  • Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Service Award
  • IELLA Legal Aid Clinic Volunteer Attorney of the Year, 2001


Legal Alerts Sep 24, 2020

Western Joshua Trees Receive Temporary Protection Under the California Endangered Species Act

Designation Impacts Local Ordinances and Developments Involving the Tree

Legal Alerts Sep 10, 2020

Critical Habitat Designation Regulation Change Proposed

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Proposes New Rule Regarding Exclusion of Lands from Critical Habitat for Federally Listed Species

Legal Alerts Sep 01, 2020

California Supreme Court Clarifies Ministerial vs. Discretionary Actions Under CEQA for Well Construction Permits

Decision in Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus Case

Legal Alerts Jan 13, 2020

New Environmental and Telecommunications Laws

Part 3: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Legal Alerts Oct 16, 2019

Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658

New California Law to Help Achieve SGMA Requirements

Legal Alerts Apr 04, 2019

New Wetlands Protections in California Proposed

SWRCB Votes to Adopt Regulations that Could Impact Permitting Procedures

Legal Alerts Dec 04, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Agency Discretion Under ESA

Critical Habitat for Endangered Species Decision

Legal Alerts Aug 06, 2018

Groundwater Extraction Permits Not Subject to CEQA in San Luis Obispo County

Approval is a Ministerial Action, not subject to CEQA, Appellate Court Finds

Legal Alerts May 22, 2017

State Water Board Adopts Groundwater Extraction Fees For SGMA Intervention

Fee Imposition Will Begin This Summer

Legal Alerts Feb 02, 2017

State Water Board Releases Latest Round of Proposed Emergency Drought Regulations for California*

Written Comments Due in Five Days

Legal Alerts Dec 02, 2016

Draft Plan Released to Establish Permanent Water Conservation Requirements Throughout California

Public Comments Accepted Until Dec. 19

Legal Alerts Jul 27, 2016

California State Water Board Extends Public Comment Period for Wetlands Policy; New Permits Likely to be Required

Public Comments Due Aug.18

Legal Alerts Jul 20, 2016

California State Water Board Releases Revised Drinking Water Fee Regulations

Public Comments Due July 29th

Legal Alerts May 19, 2016

Emergency Groundwater Sustainability Plan Regulations Adopted By California Water Commission

Key Principle: Sustainable Management Through Local Efforts

Legal Alerts May 09, 2016

New Executive Order Released By California Governor for Long-Term Water Planning Released

State Water Resources Control Board Releases Draft Regulation to Modify Water Conservation Requirements

Legal Alerts May 04, 2016

California State Water Board Set to Impose New Drinking Water Fees on Public Water Systems

Public Comments Due June 22

Legal Alerts Mar 11, 2016

March 15 Deadline Approaches For California Water Suppliers to Apply for Adjustments to Water Conservation Requirements

Climate, Growth and Water Supply Adjustments Ease Conservation Burden in Some Communities

Legal Alerts Feb 19, 2016

DWR Releases Draft Emergency Regulations for Groundwater Sustainability Plans in California

Proposed Regulations Include Required Plan Elements and Criteria for State Review

Legal Alerts Feb 10, 2016

California State Water Board Issues Directive on Submitting Information to Adjust Conservation Standards

Climate, Population Growth Among New Factors For Mandatory Drought Restrictions

Legal Alerts Jan 20, 2016

California State Water Board Releases Proposed Text of Emergency Water Conservation Regulation

Public Comments Due Jan. 28

  • "Federal Agencies to Defer the Applicability of the 2015 ‘Waters Of The United States’ Rule," Argent Communications, Jan. 8, 2018
  • “New Federal Drought Action Plan Owes a Lot to Lessons Learned in California,” BBKnowledge, March 25, 2016
  • “California State Water Board Will Hold Public Workshop on Draft Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting Water Diversions,” BBKnowledge, Dec. 8, 2015
  • “Natural Resource Conservation Subject of White House Directive to Agencies,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 19, 2015
  • “As El Nino Looms, State Weighs Extension of Conservation Regs,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 12, 2015
  • “California Water Board Lifts Curtailment of Senior Water Rights in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 30, 2015
  • “[PRESENTATION] The Federal Endangered Species Act: Practical Strategies for Implementing Public Projects Affected by FESA,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 13, 2015
  • “Drought: Problems Arise When Water Supply Goes Down,” BBKnowledge, Sept. 2, 2015
  • “First Water Curtailment Action Filed in California,” BBKnowledge, July 21, 2015
  • “California Water Suppliers Take Steps to Meet Conservation Standards,” BBKnowledge, June 26, 2015
  • “California Appellate Court: CDFW Notification Required for Water Diversions,” BBKnowledge, June 16, 2015
  • “Water Bond Passes Easily – But Real Work Begins Now for Public Agencies,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 5, 2014
  • “Mitigate Early and Often: Four Public Agency Strategies for Streamlining Projects” PublicCEO, March 4, 2014 (via BBKnowledge)

Contact Steve M. Anderson

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