Jim Lochhead is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost water rights and natural resources attorneys. He currently is a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, where he works on issues relating to water rights, interstate and international water matters, Endangered Species Act, public lands and natural resources, state and federal public policy, zoning, land use and real estate development.
He is the former executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, where he oversaw departments that included the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Minerals and Geology, Water Resources, Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Soil Conservation Board, State Land Board and Wildlife.
Jim Lochhead has lived in Glenwood Springs for more than 30 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado in 1974, and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1978.
He has experience on a wide range of issues, having represented hydroelectric utilities, developers, ski areas, municipalities, states and special districts in all types of water supply planning, permitting, water court matters and litigation. He has negotiated interstate, basin-wide endangered species recovery programs for the Platte and Colorado River Basins. He has testified before Congressional and state legislative committees, and drafted federal and state legislation. He also has expertise in zoning, land use and real estate development.
For the past 20 years, Jim Lochhead has represented the state of Colorado and a coalition of major water utilities and districts – including Denver Water – with regard to interstate Colorado River operations and issues. He was Colorado’s commissioner for and vice-chairman of the Upper Colorado River Commission.
He currently serves on the State Board of Great Outdoors Colorado. He has served on the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Colorado’s Roadless Area Task Force; the Board of Directors for Colorado Conservation Trust; the Board of Trustees for Colorado Water Trust; the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado and The Nature Conservancy Colorado Program.
He is married to Abby Steel Lochhead, a fourth-generation Coloradan who grew up in Denver and is a nurse for the Nurse Family Partnership Family Visitor Programs. They have two children. Their daughter, Koby Polaski, is a University of Denver School of Law graduate and an immigration attorney at the Joseph Law Firm in Aurora. Their son Ian has a business degree from the University of Denver and now coaches ski racing at Ski Club Vail.
Jim Lochhead is a former runner and triathlete who now enjoys golf and skiing.