James Eklund leads the Water & Natural Resources practice at Sherman & Howard, where he is a strong advocate for smart water infrastructure and a recognized authority on water management in the American West.
In addition to advising and managing Norse Sky Ranch, his family’s Western Colorado ranch (homesteaded in 1888), James works with sovereign governments, multi-state authorities, state agencies, and private interests to deliver critical water infrastructure projects and to design policy regarding water law, natural resources, infrastructure, and environmental protection. He uses his depth of policy-making experience and notable connections with federal, state, and local decision makers to assist clients on a wide variety of matters including environmental, regulatory and legislative issues, and matters involving the use of public-private partnerships.
James served as served as Colorado’s lead negotiator and signatory on the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan and as Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board where he built a reputation as a leader in negotiation and diplomacy. He is recognized for bringing together numerous stakeholders with opposing goals to collaboratively craft binding solutions to common problems. James was the architect of Colorado’s Water Plan, the largest civic engagement process in state history, and served as legal counsel to Colorado’s Governor.
Many many years ago, James attended Stanford University, the University of Denver College of Law, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Now he teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs, and the University of Denver.