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Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

Video: Environmental Advocacy at Stetson Law

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy serves as an interdisciplinary focal point for education, research and service activities related to global, regional and local biodiversity issues.

The Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy hosts international speakers and conferences, and it coordinates courses, seminars and internships on a variety of topics, including wetland law and policy, environmental law, natural resources and international environmental law. Our latest Annual Report (PDF) provides more details on the Institute's activities for 2019-2020.

Video: Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

 

Upcoming Events

  • March 25, 2021, at 12p.m. ET: Dr. Rodrigo A. Medellín, Instituto de Ecologia, UNAM, will present "Bats and Emerging Infectious Diseases: Myths, Realities, and Hope in Pandemic Times" (Register in advance)

  • March 25–27, 2021: International Finals of the 25th Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Receives Award from American Bar Association

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy The ABA's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources selected Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy to receive the Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award. On Aug. 7, 2016, Professor Gardner accepted the award on behalf of the Institute.
» Read news release

Key Initiatives

  • The Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition (IEMCC) is the world's largest moot court competition devoted exclusively to global environmental issues. Founded at Stetson in 1996, the competition now includes regional and national rounds in Africa, Brazil, Colombia, India, Ireland, Mexico, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and the United States, with the top teams advancing to the International Finals hosted at Stetson Law each spring. The virtual rounds of the 24th Annual Stetson IEMCC were held on April 2-4, 2020. The North American Regional Round of the 25th Annual Stetson IEMCC will be held online January 8–9, 2021, and the International Finals will be held March 25–27, 2021.
  • The International Wildlife Law Conference brings together lawyers, policymakers, scientists, and students interested in wildlife protection efforts. Co-sponsored by the Institute since 2007, the 20th International Wildlife Law Conference was presented virtually on April 1-2, 2020. The next conference will be hosted by Cardiff University.
  • Stetson is the only law school in the world with a memorandum of cooperation with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international environmental treaty dedicated to conserving wetlands.
  • The Stetson Sea Turtle Initiative works to assist the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, a regional treaty with 16 member countries.
  • Each year, the Institute offers the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series. The lectures are open to the public and provide interdisciplinary perspectives and dialogue about important environmental issues.
  • The ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop was an annual event coordinated with the renowned Washington-based Environmental Law Institute. The sixth annual workshop was held at Stetson Law on Nov. 8, 2018.

Amicus Briefs

[Note: The views expressed in these briefs do not represent the views of Stetson University College of Law or any other institution identified in the brief. Affiliations of counsel are provided in the briefs for identification purposes only.]

SCOTUSU.S. Supreme Court Cites Amici Curiae Brief Filed by Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy
Last July, Professor Royal Gardner (Director of Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy), Erin Okuno (Assistant Director of the Biodiversity Institute), and a team of attorneys filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of aquatic scientists and scientific societies in the Supreme Court of the United States. The brief explained why the consideration of science is required to achieve the Clean Water Act’s objective to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” The team of attorneys traveled to Washington, D.C. in November to observe the oral arguments, during which Justice Breyer mentioned the amici curiae brief of the scientists and scientific societies. On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Clean Water Act covers the “functional equivalent” of direct discharges of pollutants to navigable waters, and the majority opinion cited the amici curiae brief. The case is County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (No. 18-260).
» Read More
» Read the Amici Curiae Brief

» Read the Supreme Court Opinion

Boyd Hill Stetson's Biodiversity Institute Files Amici Curiae Brief in Supreme Court of the United States
On July 19, 2019, Professor Roy Gardner, Erin Okuno, and a team of attorneys filed an amici curiae brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of four individual aquatic scientists and eight national and international scientific societies. The brief explains why the consideration of science is required to achieve the Clean Water Act's objective.
» Read the Amici Curiae Brief

Wetland Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Files Another Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Clean Water Rule
In July 2018, a team of attorneys, including Professor Royal Gardner (Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson Law), Erin Okuno (Foreman Biodiversity Fellow at Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (Associate Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School), Kathleen Gardner, and Christopher Greer (Park Jensen Bennett LLP), filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) in support of the Clean Water Rule. The team filed the brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.This is the second brief the team has filed on behalf of SWS.
» Read the Amicus Curiae Brief

Society of Wetland Scientists Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Files Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of Society of Wetland Scientists in Opposition to Suspension of Clean Water Rule
Professor Royal Gardner (Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson Law), Erin Okuno (Foreman Biodiversity Fellow at Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (Associate Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School), Kathleen Gardner, and Christopher Greer (Park Jensen Bennett LLP) filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in May 2018. They filed the brief on behalf of the Society of Wetland Scientists, a leading professional association of wetland and aquatic scientists around the world. The brief explains the necessity of considering the scientific basis of the Clean Water Rule, which defines the geographic coverage of the Clean Water Act.
» Read More
» Read the Amicus Curiae Brief

Professor Royal Gardner Amici Curiae Brief Filed on Behalf of Scientists in Support of Clean Water Rule
On Jan. 20, 2017, Professor Royal Gardner (Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (University of Wisconsin Law School), and Erin Okuno (Stetson Law) filed an amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. They filed the brief on behalf of 12 wetland and water scientists, including Dr. Kirsten Work and Dr. Benjamin R. Tanner (Stetson University), in support of the Clean Water Rule, which defines the geographic coverage of the Clean Water Act.
» Read the Amici Curiae Brief

Recent News

Eve SamplesFriends of the Everglades Executive Director Delivers Foreman Biodiversity Lecture
On February 4, 2021, Eve Samples, Executive Director of Friends of the Everglades, presented “From ‘River of Grass’ to Toxic Estuaries: How the Legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Can Inform Today’s Fight for Clean Water.” Eve discussed the challenges facing the Greater Everglades ecosystem and the work that Friends of the Everglades and other environmental advocates are doing to save the Everglades.
» Watch Lecture

Stetson Law Alum Discusses How to Protect Florida’s Coasts as Part of J.P. BrookerForeman Biodiversity Lecture Series
Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, Director of Florida Conservation at Ocean Conservancy and a Stetson Law alum, delivered a virtual Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture on October 6, 2020. J.P. presented “Currents and Crossroads: A Vision for Florida’s Ocean and Coasts.” He discussed new and long-term threats to Florida’s coastal environment and how to protect the coasts from these threats.
» Watch Lecture

Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Mark Rains

Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Mark Rains Present Virtual Foreman Biodiversity Lecture on Scientists and Civic Engagement
On September 15, 2020, Dr. David Kaplan (University of Florida) and Dr. Mark Rains (University of South Florida) presented "Scientists and Civic Engagement: Closing the 'Groundwater Loophole' in the Clean Water Act" as part of Stetson Law's Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series. Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Rains gave an online lecture about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and their experiences participating as amici curiae in the case.
» Watch Lecture

SCOTUS

U.S. Supreme Court Cites Amici Curiae Brief Filed by Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy
Last July, Professor Royal Gardner (Director of Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy), Erin Okuno (Assistant Director of the Biodiversity Institute), and a team of attorneys filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of aquatic scientists and scientific societies in the Supreme Court of the United States. The brief explained why the consideration of science is required to achieve the Clean Water Act’s objective to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Clean Water Act covers the “functional equivalent” of direct discharges of pollutants to navigable waters, and the majority opinion cited the amici curiae brief. The case is County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (No. 18-260).
» Read More
» Read the Amici Curiae Brief
» Read the Supreme Court Opinion

2020 IEMCC Poster

Team from National University of Advanced Legal Studies Wins 24th Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition
Stetson Law hosted the virtual rounds of the 24th Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition (IEMCC) on April 2–4, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the competition was moved to an online format, and 17 teams from 10 jurisdictions participated in the virtual rounds of the Stetson IEMCC. The team from National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, India, was the competition champion, and the team from National Law Institute University, Bhopal, India, was the runner-up.
» Learn More
» View Photos

IWLC-20

Stetson Law Virtually Hosts 20th International Wildlife Law Conference
On April 1–2, 2020, speakers and attendees from around the world participated in the 20th International Wildlife Law Conference. The event was hosted virtually and included presentations and panels on topics such as trophy hunting, fisheries, marine biodiversity, and wildlife and animal welfare. Stetson Law’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy coordinated the virtual conference, which was co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the University of Cologne, the Institute of Environment Education and Research at Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Tilburg University, and the University of Barcelona Faculty of Law.
» Learn More
» View Photos

For more articles, visit our News page. 

Service Opportunities

  • Service opportunities are available for students at a local, national, and international level. Recent projects include researching sea turtle protection legislation in Latin America and the Caribbean, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on endangered species issues in California, designating Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge as a Ramsar Site, and conducting beach clean-ups.

Courses and Scholarship

  • Stetson Law offers a wide range of environmental- and biodiversity-related courses, and Stetson offers a Certificate of Concentration in Environmental Law for select J.D. students who wish to focus their studies on environmental law.
  • Our faculty members teach courses such as Environmental Advocacy, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, and Wetland Law and Policy. Scholarship produced by Stetson faculty has real-world impacts on topics such as animal law, land use, and wetland mitigation.
  • Stetson students have the opportunity to serve as student editors of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy .