Peter J. Kiel


  • Biography

    Peter is a Partner specializing in water law and environmental permitting.  He represents public agencies, vineyards and wineries, and electrical power producers in water right, water quality, endangered species (ESA and CESA), and environmental impact (NEPA and CEQA) compliance and permitting, real estate transactions, and related litigation.  Peter practices before state and federal environmental regulatory agencies including the State and Regional Water Boards, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  He also represents clients in Sacramento on State legislative and regulatory developments affecting water users and the wine industry.

    Before joining the firm in 2018, Peter practiced 14 years at a boutique energy and water firm in Sacramento where he worked on just about every type of legal issue arising out of the diversion and use of water.  He continues his water right practice at DP&F, which includes water right  analyses, water right permitting and water transfers, and compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  His water clients include water districts, open space and land conservation organizations, geothermal and natural gas power plants, vineyards, and wine industry trade associations.

    Endangered species and wildlife law is a growing area of his practice, and in addition to obtaining State and federal Endangered Species Act approvals, he defends citizen suits brought under the federal ESA, and is helping develop one of the first salmonid Safe Harbor Agreements in California.

    His land use practice focuses on agricultural and rural properties, and addresses boundary and title disputes, easements, transactions, and compliance with local land use and environmental regulatory requirements.

    Peter is also dedicated to environmental conservation.  He advises landowners and conversation organizations on instream flow dedications, conservation easements, and related legal issues.

    Before becoming an attorney, Peter worked as an environmental scientist and law clerk for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program.

  • Education
    • J.D. University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2002
    • B.S. University of California, Berkeley (with Honors), 1997
  • Writings and Presentations


    • Reporter: California water resources for the American Bar Association Natural Resources Section Annual Publication, “Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law – Year-In-Review.”
    • “Banking Groundwater in California: Who Owns the Aquifer Storage Space?”, 18 Natural Resources & Environment, No. 2 at 25 (2003)


    • Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)
    • California Water Policy Conference
    • Center for State and Local Government Law
    • Continuing Education of the Bar
    • Groundwater Resources Association of California
    • North Coast Wine Industry EXPO
    • Salmonid Restoration Foundation
    • Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
    • UC Hastings College of the Law
    • Water Education Foundation
  • Professional Activities and Recognition
    • “Northern California Rising Stars” (2009-15), California Super Lawyers magazine.
    • “Top Lawyers List,” Environmental (2015) Sacramento Magazine.
    • Division of Water Rights Executive Leadership Program, U.C. Davis (2009)
    • Water Diversion Measurement and Reporting Certificate, U.C. Cooperative Extension (2018)