Craig A. Carnes, Jr.

Craig A. Carnes, Jr.
Rated by Super Lawyers

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Practice Focus

Water Rights
Water Transfers
Groundwater, Groundwater Management and Conjunctive Use
Fisheries and Endangered Species Compliance
Water Quality Permitting and Compliance
CEQA / NEPA Documentation and Compliance
Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Bar and Court Admissions
State Bar of California
Supreme Court of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California
United States District Court, Central District of California
United States District Court, Southern District of California
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 2005
B.S., California State University, Sacramento, 2001

Craig Carnes is a Partner in Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan, and is part of the water practice group. Craig’s practice focuses on water and natural resources law.

Representative Experience

Craig's experience includes a broad range of matters, including:

  • Experience in water law, municipal law, environmental law, administrative law, and litigation.
  • Represent clients in citizen suits brought under the ESA
  • Represent clients in suits brought under CEQA
  • Counsel clients on various aspects of SGMA
  • Represent mutual water company in negotiations relating to potential annexation with public water district
  • Served as general counsel for mutual water company
  • Review and comment on CEQA/NEPA environmental documents
  • Represent water district in dispute over a water supply agreement
  • Represent clients in matters before the State Water Resources Control Board on various issues
  • Draft, review and/or analyze water supply (and related) agreements
  • Perform water supply/rights due diligence review for real property acquisitions
  • Assist in the representation of a client developing a desalination project
  • Represent irrigation district in litigation over water supply
  • Represent client in dispute over decreed water rights
  • Research and analyze numerous groundwater and surface water rights issues
  • Research and analyze various other legal issues, including real property issues

Representative Clients

Water suppliers
Groundwater sustainability agencies
Vineyard owners and operators
Water right holders

Awards and Professional Recognition

Northern California Super Lawyers, “Rising Star” (Environmental Law), 2014

Traynor Honor Society McGeorge Dean’s Scholarship (three-year academic scholarship)

Witkin Award in Criminal Procedure (2003), Professional Responsibility (2003), and BioTerrorism and Public Health Law (2004)


Contributor to the Association of California Water Agency’s Summary of Appellate Cases, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019.

Contributor to the American Bar Association’s The Year in Review (Section of Environment, Energy and Resources), 2012-2018.

“Water Law Alert: State and Federal Agencies Address State of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan”

Stoel Rives Water Law Alert, Dec. 2010.

Previous monthly article contributor to the California Land Use & Policy Reporter.

Prior Experience

Before joining Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan, Craig was an associate with Stoel Rives LLP in the Environmental, Land Use and Natural Resources group. Craig also interned with California State Parks, and worked on matters involving the California Environmental Quality Act and Clean Water Act. While in law school, Craig served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Morrison C. England, Jr. at the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.