Oliver Houck’s specialties involve environmental, natural resources and criminal law. He is active in legal proceedings involving wildlife, wetland, coastal and pollution issues and publishes regularly on these and related topics.
He has published several books, including “Taking Back Eden
” (on environmental lawsuits abroad), “Down on the Batture
” (on the Lower Mississippi River), "The Clean Water Act TMDL Program
" (pollution control), and most recently “Downstream Toward Home
” (on rivers of North America). He also has written extensively for academic journals and general interest publications.
Houck served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and as National Wildlife Federation general counsel and vice president before joining the Tulane law faculty in 1981. He has since served on the boards of Defenders of Wildlife, the Environmental Law Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund, an advisory board of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two committees of the National Science Foundation. He has also founded several public interest organizations in Louisiana and at Tulane Law School and has consulted on the development of environmental law in Cuba and other Latin American countries.
Houck’s classes emphasize relationships between ecology and law, and he regularly takes students on field trips into coastal ecosystems, the Pearl and Atchafalaya swamps and other natural areas. He has received the law school’s Felix Frankfurter Distinguished Teacher Award was named a recipient of the Sumter Marks Award in 2000 and 2002 for his publications. He also has been honored with the New Orleans Press Club Award, the Tulane University Graduate Teaching Award and the 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Bar Association’s Environmental Section.
He has been recognized as Louisiana’s Conservationist of the Year, Gambit magazine’s New Orleanian of the Year and the New Orleans Young Leadership Council’s Role Model of the Year.