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Ecologist

San Francisco, CA 

Deadline Oct 31, 2021

WRA, Inc. provides professional environmental consulting services in plant, wildlife, and wetland ecology; GIS; environmental planning; regulatory compliance; mitigation and conservation banking; landscape architecture; and engineering. We have been in operation for over forty years and are in the midst of a gradual shift from a small business to a medium sized business. This means that we simultaneously benefit from having developed a relationship-oriented company culture over the years while evolving and implementing systems, processes, and structures to support the growth and evolution as a business. WRA is an employee-owned company, and we are invested in long-term high-quality professional experiences for all of our staff.

We are seeking an ecologist to work with our Conservation Strategies team facilitating the entitlement of mitigation/conservation banks, in-lieu fee programs, and turnkey mitigation projects. The Conservation Strategies Team works with private landowners, investors, non-profits, and public entities to entitle mitigation projects, implement restoration and land management, and understand mitigation markets and drivers. 

This is an early to mid-career interdisciplinary role requiring expertise in the following areas:

 

  • California ecology, habitat restoration, and land management – particularly regarding wetlands and streams
  • Mitigation and conservation banking
  • California regulatory environment
  • California vegetation surveys and wetland delineations

 

The majority of mitigation projects overseen by the Conservation Strategies team are within California and require a thorough knowledge of the ecology of various California landscapes ranging from vernal pools to coastal rivers to tidal wetlands. This role requires ecological expertise in these landscapes and the ability to write and verbally communicate that expertise with a variety of stakeholders including clients, agency members, internal team members, and other WRA staff such as landscape architects, engineers, GIS analysts, and regulatory permitting specialists. It also requires communicating, both in writing and verbally, regarding real estate issues, financial pro formas, and mitigation markets. This position will report directly to the Senior Restoration Ecologist within the Conservation Strategies team and assist with projects across the entire team as needed. Specific duties include:

 

  • Drafting mitigation bank entitlement documents including prospectuses, bank enabling instruments, easements, development plans, interim and long-term management plans, credit analyses, service area descriptions
  • Collaborating with other Conservation Strategies team staff, landscape architects, engineers, GIS analysts, and regulatory permitting specialists to develop strategic site assessment approaches, restoration designs, performance standards and monitoring plans, crediting strategies, and land management plans
  • Preparing written responses to comments from the regulatory agencies on mitigation bank entitlement documents and permit application packages
  • Attending meetings with regulatory agencies, clients, and teaming partners
  • Assisting the Senior Restoration Ecologist and other Conservation Strategies staff with the management of site assessments for our projects including wetland delineations, vegetation surveys, and special-status species surveys.
  • Drafting strategic memos to clients and regulatory agency staff
  • Reviewing title reports, real estate encumbrance documents, financial pro formas, and mitigation supply and demand data
  • Coordinating with GIS analysts on preparation of figures and analysis of geospatial data

 

Requirements:

 

  • Strong written and oral communication skills are essential to this position. Much of the work for this position will include drafting technical documents around ecology, mitigation, restoration, and land management. The ability to write and speak to both technical and non-technical audiences on a variety of subjects is critical for success in this role.
  • The ability and comfort to work independently on a variety of tasks. The Senior Restoration Ecologist and other senior staff will review all work products and provide strategic guidance, however, the expectation for this role is that high quality work will be prepared on time and within budget without extensive oversight and assistance.
  • The ability to engage in self-directed learning. This position necessitates the ability to quickly learn and synthesize information through self-directed learning such as reading scientific papers and policy briefs, attending webinars and conferences, and reviewing past work products.
  • Excellent time and budget management skills. WRA is a fast-paced environment with staff involved in many projects at any given time. This necessitates strong time management skills and the ability to review and understand budgets.
  • Strategic decision-making ability. An ideal candidate will feel comfortable and confident making strategic decisions on his/her work products and projects in a timely manner, while engaging senior team members as needed for input.
  • Be a flexible team player. Given the size of the Conservation Strategies team and our work, this position requires an individual who is willing to work on multiple projects at any given time and assist other team members as needed.

 

Qualifications and Experience:

 

  • Bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, environmental science or other related discipline; master’s degree is a plus.
  • A minimum of 2-3 years of work experience with mitigation, habitat restoration, land management, and/or environmental permitting.
  • Strong working knowledge of ecology, California ecosystems, habitat restoration, and land management. Particular ecosystems of interest include: seasonal wetlands, vernal pools, rivers and streams, tidal wetlands, oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, perennial grasslands, riparian habitat and chaparral.
  • Experience conducting wetland delineations and vegetation surveys, particularly in California.
  • Understanding of mitigation banking, in-lieu fee programs, permittee-responsible mitigation, and regional habitat conservation plans/natural community conservation plans (highly desirable, but not required).
  • Understanding of California regulatory environment including Section 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act, Section 1602 of the California Fish and Game Code, the Porter-Cologne Act, Endangered Species Act, California Endangered Species Act, California Environmental Quality Act, Section 2081 of the California Fish and Game Code, and Magnuson-Stevenson Fisheries Act (highly desirable, but not required).
  • Familiarity with California sensitive species, particularly California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, vernal pool branchiopods, California Ridgway’s rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, giant garter snake, salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, burrowing owl, least Bell’s vireo, California gnatcatcher, and Swainson’s hawk. (highly desirable, but not required)
  • Environmental consulting experience (highly desirable, but not required)

 

The Conservation Strategies team at WRA is a tight knit, collaborative team that values creative solutions, individual initiative, and interdisciplinary thinking. Our smaller size allows team members the flexibility to be involved in a variety of projects and to actively contribute to the development of the team. While individual expertise and interests are acknowledged and utilized, all team members are expected to help when needed on an array of projects in a fast-paced environment. During the COVID-19 pandemic and while shelter-in-place mandates are required, employees are permitted to work remotely or from home.

Our preference is for this role to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Who are we?

WRA’s company vision is “cultivating a sustainable future where people and the environment thrive” and that starts with our staff. We are committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment, and we have developed flexible policies, internal practices, and are investing in programs that prioritize learning and sustainability. We aim to create conditions that allow employees to prioritize their families, lead healthy and balanced lives, and to bring their authentic selves to work every day. We believe that by creating an exceptional workplace, our employees will be able to do their best work and be able to meaningfully contribute to the sustainability of the environment and the communities in which we live.

WRA is an equal opportunity employer, and we are committed to creating a diverse workforce. We recruit, employ, train, compensate and promote regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law.

 

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Posted September 2, 2021



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