Senior Environmental Specialist

  • Port of San Diego
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • May 31, 2019
Full time Biology - Ecology Conservation/ Natural Resources Environmental Science - Engineering Water Quality Watershed - Stormwater - Wastewater Wetlands - Coastlines - Floodplains Wildlife - Endangered Species - Biodiversity

Job Description


The Port is seeking qualified candidates to support natural resources programs. This position is a Senior level position in the Environmental Conservation Department responsible for high level project management. Candidates will be responsible for applying for and executing grants for endangered species program and wetlands restoration projects; preparing permit applications and ensuring permit compliance for Army Corps of Engineers and Regional Water Quality Control Board permits; coordination with other Port departments to implement the Chula Vista Natural Resources Management Plan for the development of the Chula Vista Bayfront including reviewing potential ecological impacts from public parks, an RV park and a resort hotel and conference center and long-term monitoring; implementation of the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan; obtaining entitlements for a saltmarsh mitigation bank; managing advisory committees; managing consultant agreements and work product; and strong presentation, communication and writing skills.
Candidates should posses a strong background in environmental laws and regulations; skilled in project management and permit compliance; and effectively communicating with resource agencies and the public.


Under direction, serves as a team leader or project manager over specialized environmental functions; performs a variety of specialized and complex professional duties involved in the development, implementation and administration of high priority environmental projects to ensure the Port's compliance with federal, state and local environmental protection laws and regulations; plans, organizes, oversees and evaluates the work of professional and technical staff; enforces environmental regulations of the Port code; provides policy advice and represents the department and the Port with federal, state, and local agencies; and performs related work as assigned.


Senior Environmental Specialists serve as team leaders or project managers for work groups or teams. Incumbents serve as the advanced professional level class in the Environmental Specialist class series. Incumbents are assigned complex project responsibilities requiring a broad understanding of the Port's environmental protection program goals, objectives, and technical requirements in any and/or all of its program areas, including natural resources management, stormwater management, watershed management, site assessment and remediation, bay water and sediment quality, climate planning, energy management, sustainability, air quality, and public engagement and information. Incumbents develop, implement and administer policies and projects to ensure Port operations and activities comply with environmental protection laws and regulations. Incumbents are expected to exercise expert independent judgment, initiative and decision-making authority to develop timely solutions to complex problems. Projects and assignments require a high degree of knowledge and ability in identifying and solving problems, analyzing federal, state and local codes and policies; and maintaining effective contacts and relationships with government officials and agency staff, business representatives, community organizations, and the public. Assignments are given in terms of broad objectives and evaluated based on overall results.
Senior Environmental Specialist is distinguished from Associate Environmental Specialist in that an incumbent in the former class develops, executes and monitors the most complex or sensitive environmental projects, serves as a team leader for a group of environmental specialists or similar work groups, and may supervise subordinate staff as assigned.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The following statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.

1.    Serves as a project manager, team leader and/or primary reviewer of environmental projects to ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, codes, and District policies and procedures.
2.    Assigns, directs, reviews, oversees, and monitors the work of professional and technical staff and consultants; acts as team leader for staff coordinating department and inter-departmental planning activities; regularly monitors performance of team members and consultants; trains and mentors professional and technical staff, facilitates acquisition of resources and training for team members and ensures staff training needs are met; coaches staff for better performance; edits written work of staff for accuracy and readability of content; coordinates and balances workloads among team members; monitors turn-around time for completion of assignments; evaluates and modifies procedures to improve service delivery; mediates conflict between team members; keeps statistics of team's work.
3.    Provides leadership and works with staff to create a high performance, service-oriented work environment that supports the Port's mission, objectives and service expectations; provides leadership and participates in programs and activities that promote workplace diversity and a positive employee relations environment.
4.    Researches, develops, recommends, implements and monitors activities of environmental programs; plans, organizes, supervises the development of and recommends program designs and budgets; directs, manages and participates in the development and recommendation of associated program policies and operating and administrative procedures; develops and supervises development of annual work programs and calendars; plans, organizes and implements work activities to meet established overall program goals policies and objectives and analyzes alternative methods or processes to meet program and service delivery goals; monitors and ensures program compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and regulatory agency and program requirements; maintains and reports on program activities and performance results; assists in tracking program expenditures.
5.    Coordinates with Port staff, division management and elected officials; makes recommendations and presents reports to the Board of Port Commissioners; keeps department management and Port Commissioners apprised of the status of department programs and the department's ability to meet regulatory requirements.
6.    Performs or oversees environmental field investigative and compliance work and special studies requiring a high level of technical expertise and knowledge within areas of assigned specialty; plans, organizes and manages site assessments and field investigations, plans, manages, directs or performs field sampling, other environmental survey activities and activities associated with storm water, watersheds, bay water and sediment quality and hazardous waste management property inspections and clean-up/mitigation efforts and their associated educational programs; plans, organizes and directs the activities of field crews; performs or directs performance of both Port and tenant environmental compliance investigations; oversees the compilation and analyses of or compiles, analyzes and summarizes data and findings and develops and recommends courses of action.
7.    Formulates and manages detailed program plans; manages and participates in the development and recommendations of environmental programs (air, sediment and water quality; climate change, energy management, sustainability, stormwater, etc.), policies, operating and administrative policies and procedures; oversees development of policies, work plans, programs, calendars; plans, organizes and implements work activities to meet established environmental policies. Monitors and ensures compliance with all applicable laws and regulations; facilitates the resolution of environmental issues between stakeholders, maintains and reports on program activities and performance results in compliance with environmental policies.
8.    Coordinates or assists in coordinating program activities with pertinent outside agencies; determines and makes recommendations regarding appropriate levels of coordination; participates in developing program partnerships with external agencies and organizations; assists in development of agreements for multi-agency efforts.
9.    Provides expertise, consultation, information and technical assistance to other departments, tenants, agencies and organizations; responds to a variety of environmental inquiries from representatives of different Port divisions/departments or tenants and develops and provides recommendations for addressing environmental issues; interprets, explains and applies laws, regulations, rules, policies, processes and procedures related to areas of responsibility for Port management, staff and tenants; coordinates with other agencies for information sharing and community education; responds to requests for information regarding program activities or requirements; represents the department in meetings with internal and external agencies regarding program issues; plans, develops and conducts in-house training for assigned programs.
10. Plans, develops and conducts program outreach and promotional activities for assigned programs; develops or directs development of information, outreach and educational materials; works with in-house staff to plan, organize and implement effective public and media relations goals and strategies; makes presentations to tenants and community, neighborhood, business and school groups on assigned programs; plans and carries out initiatives to encourage public participation in program activities.
11. Develops budgets and manages consultant contracts; identifies candidates; prepares and distributes RFPs; convenes interview panels and selects consultants; reviews work product and authorizes payments.
12. Participates in analyses of environmental components related to programs of specialty in Port and tenant development and improvement projects; reviews and comments on bid specifications, contractor submittals and other applicable areas of projects; identifies issues and develops and offers recommendations for mitigation.
13. Develops, writes, reviews, presents and maintains a variety of reports, documents, correspondence and records related to assigned programs; composes and presents written technical reports and reviews subordinate staff reports; drafts correspondence to other Port departments and state and federal regulatory agencies; drafts agenda items; maintains and oversees maintenance of accurate, complete and current records.
14. Develops budgets and manages consultant contracts; identifies candidates; prepares and distributes RFPs; convenes interview panels and selects consultants; reviews work products and authorizes payments.
15. Monitors grant and funding opportunities; prepares funding proposals and applications; administers grants; prepares project status reports on grant-funded projects; writes contracts and inter-agency agreements and negotiates funding.
16. Keeps informed of new regulations, pending legislation and trends in environmental issues that impact department programs and processes.
17. Develops, manipulates and maintains computerized databases, spreadsheets, progress monitoring systems and filing systems.
18. Prepares complex reports, memos, agenda sheets, and correspondence.

 1.    Provides backup for team and inter-departmental members as necessary.


Knowledge of: 

1.    Principles, theories, methods and techniques of natural resources management, environmental protection, storm water, watershed management, sustainability and site assessment and remediation.
2.    Principles, practices and methods of program administration and organizational analysis.
3.    Principles and practices of project planning and management.
4.    Principles and techniques of workload management and coordination.
5.    Principles and practices of public administration, including purchasing, contracting and maintenance of public records.
6.    Federal, state and local laws, regulations and court decisions applicable to assigned areas of responsibility.
7.    Principles and practices of public outreach and involvement, including conducting presentations and public engagement.
8.    Principles and practices of sound business communication.
9.    Computer capabilities applicable to functional responsibilities.
10. Principles and practices of effective supervision.
11. Research methods and analysis techniques.
12. Strong writing skills.

Ability to:

1.    Manage large, complex and politically sensitive projects and contracts including budgets, schedules and quality of work product.
2.    Perform difficult and complex technical research and analysis of environmental issues or problems, evaluating alternatives and recommending or adopting effective courses of action.
3.    Understand and apply laws, regulations, ordinances and policies applicable to assigned program responsibilities.
4.    Understand, interpret and respond to internal and external customer needs and expectations.
5.    Supervise and evaluate the work of professional consultants, contractors and designated staff, as assigned.
6.    Motivate and direct the work of assigned team or project staff and provide for their training and professional development.
7.    Present ideas and requirements clearly and persuasively, orally and in writing, to policy and decision-making bodies, organizations, committees, applicants and citizens, involving complex and politically sensitive issues while adhering to the intent of Port policies.
8.    Collect, evaluate and interpret appropriate and applicable data, either in statistical or narrative form.
9.    Coordinate project activities with multiple stakeholders to build agreement and consensus, where feasible.
10. Apply sound, creative problem-solving techniques to resolve difficult program issues and problems.
11. Ensure the maintenance of all required files, records and documentation.
12. Exercise independent judgment and initiative within established policies and guidelines.
13. Exercise tact and diplomacy in dealing with difficult and sensitive people, issues and situations.
14. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those encountered in the course of work.
15. Review, prepare or direct the preparation of complex plans, applications, and specifications.


Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation from a four-year college or university with a major in environmental, biological, physical, chemical or earth science or a closely related field to work being performed by the Port; and five years of progressively responsible professional environmental experience. A Master's Degree in environmental, biological, physical, chemical or earth science or a closely related field can be substituted for one year of experience. Time served as a District Intern counts towards the years of experience.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:A current, valid California Class C driver's license at time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.

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Job Level



Government- Local/Regional


$74,009.00 - $111,013.00 Annually