CLASSIFICATION NO. 799
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY SPECIALIST
Under direction, to assist in the development, implementation, coordination and evaluation of the County's programs to promote salmon recovery as required by the Endangered Species Act; to promote environmental and fish habitat recovery activities; to research, evaluate and recommend conservation and sustainability programs; and to do other work as required.
The Department of Water Environment Services manages and operates the County's utility service districts including sewerage facilities, collection systems, pumping stations, treatment plants, storm and surface water management.
The Environmental Policy Specialist provides a high level of technical and policy coordination expertise within the County on endangered species, site restoration and other environmental issues. The incumbent represents the County on local, regional, and state committees and boards related to fish recovery programs and coordinates technical teams defining and developing programs to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Incumbents conduct research on new and enhanced conservation methods and continually review and evaluate department operations for their environmental impact.
The Environmental Policy Specialist differs from the Surface Water Technician, which implements water quality and quantity controls, but does not have responsibility for fish recovery program coordination. It differs from the Surface Water Program Coordinator, which has responsibility for surface water construction projects for managing storm water runoff but does not have responsibility for environmental improvement in fish habitat or fish recovery programs.
Duties may include but are not limited to the following:
- Participates in and coordinates research and development of environmental policies, procedures, and systems; assists in development of programmatic responses to federal register 4(d) Rule and habitat conservation plans ; develops a thorough understanding of the factors for decline for salmonids within the County.
- Performs site assessments of wetland and stream ecology to evaluate habitat problems; assists in the development and implementation of projects to improve water quality in the drainage system, such as planting vegetation in wetlands; designs stream and wetland restoration projects to resolve fish habitat problems; selects appropriate vegetation for riparian zones; ensures compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding instream and wetland construction work; prepares permits for projects; supervises construction projects during in-water work periods; recruits and coordinates in-house, contractor and/or volunteer maintenance work.
- Prepares grant applications for funding of projects; researches and collects supplemental information to support grant application; assists in making presentations to granting committees; prepares and submits required reports and data for grants received, and maintains records for the required retention period; continually searches for new grant funding sources.
- Establishes and coordinates meetings of technical teams and agencies involved in developing programs to address and implement the ESA requirements; insures a wide array of interests are represented and focused on achieving a common goal and required deliverables.
- Reviews and evaluates department operations and policies for their impact on the environment in terms of sustainability; researches and investigates conservation programs, such as energy conservation and green buildings; determines feasibility of program application; coordinates with department staff to analyze data and cost effectiveness and develops recommendations for implementation; guides and monitors implementation and ongoing effectiveness of programs; recommends adjustments as required.
- Collects and analyzes data on existing surface water systems to evaluate programs and ensure federal requirements are met; conducts research on salmonid biology, life cycle, properly functioning habitat conditions, and water quality parameters; investigates how other agencies in the Pacific Northwest respond to ESA listings and requirements and studies whether their programs would be applicable to County operations.
- Coordinates with other local, state and federal agencies and jurisdictions in the region on restoration projects, permitting issues and ESA-related efforts such as diagnostic models, assessments, studies, information exchanges and joint restoration projects.
- Participates in the development review process by reviewing and commenting on submittals involving wetland and stream riparian area impacts and requests for variances to Rules and Regulations buffer requirements for these resources; assists customers in addressing protection of the resource in their plans and submittals; coordinates with Development Review staff and natural resource agencies; conducts site visits and attends meetings as required.
- Collects data for programs from other divisions within the county; prepares annual progress reports to state and federal agencies on implementation and reporting of endangered species act related activities and programs.
- Presents programs to professional, citizen and youth groups in a variety of formats, including public speaking, class room and field instruction; represents the department at a variety of interdepartmental, interagency and citizen meetings and committees.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Thorough knowledge of: Environmental science and/or fisheries biology; fish habitat conservation; botany, hydrology, soils, and vegetation related to wetlands; research techniques in environmental science, fisheries biology, salmonid biology, and conservation biology and ecology.
Working knowledge of: County, state, and federal laws and regulations relevant to recovery of listed species, including the Federal Endangered Species Act 4d Rule; Clean Water Act; microcomputer applications in data collection and statistics; basic design and construction of water quality facilities; basic hydrology; water sampling techniques; federal and state permitting processes; federal and state environmental, health and safety regulations, rules and standards applicable to surface water management; current conservation and sustainability methods, techniques and strategies, including accepted industry practices in green design and construction; energy conservation and efficiency methods, practices and techniques; principles and techniques of conflict resolution; basic techniques of supervision; standard office equipment, including computer systems and software programs such as word processing, databases and spreadsheets.
Skill to: Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; prepare and make written and oral presentations to individuals, small groups and large audiences; prepare and administer project budgets; write grant applications; coordinate projects, meetings, and staff from regional and county agencies; resolve conflicts; evaluate and develop improvements in operations, policies, procedures and methods that relate to fish recovery including development of a salmon recovery plan and habitat conservation plan; develop and design successful restoration projects; plan and conduct research projects; analyze issues and problems from multiple perspectives to identify alternative solutions and recommend appropriate action; identify vegetation and soils related to wetland and stream habitats; perform hydrological analysis; prepare clear and concise reports; read and interpret maps, plans, and specifications; prepare and interpret construction drawings and specifications; prepare and maintain accurate records; oversee a crew of technicians or volunteer personnel; develop and maintain effective working relationships with County employees, employees of federal state and local agencies, contractors and the public.
Field activities include strenuous physical labor. Some duties may be performed under adverse weather conditions and in hazardous locations, such as elevated platforms or ladders, streams and ditches. Incumbents may be exposed to communicable diseases in storm water.
Possession of or ability to obtain wetland delineation certification through U.S. Army Corp of Engineers within one year of hire.
Attendance at periodic public meetings during early morning, evening, and weekend hours.
Employment is contingent upon passing a post-offer physical assessment. Accommodation requests will be reviewed on an individual basis in compliance with State and Federal legislation.
Driving is required for County business on a regular basis or to accomplish work. Incumbents must possess a valid driver's license, and possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.
MINIMUM RECRUITING STANDARD
Any satisfactory combination of education, experience and training that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.