Senior Environmental Specialist - Time-Limited

County Of Sonoma   Santa Rosa, CA   Full-time     Other
Posted on June 10, 2022
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Permit Sonoma seeks two highly-skilled environmental professionals with technical expertise in environmental review and natural resources management related to fire ecology, forestry, vegetation management, and/or wildfire resiliency.
Starting salary up to $48.69/hour ($101,621/year), a cash allowance of $600/month, and a competitive total compensation package!*

What We Offer

Working at the County of Sonoma offers expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a challenging and rewarding work environment, and the satisfaction of knowing your contributions work to better our shared community. You can also look forward to flexible work arrangements and excellent benefits* including:

  • A hybrid telework schedule that meets the needs of our staff, department operations, and the communities we serve
  • Eligibility for a salary increase after 1,040 hours (6 months when working full-time) for good work performance; eligibility for a salary increase for good performance every year thereafter, until reaching the top of the salary range
  • Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 paid holidays, and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
  • County paid 100% premium contribution for the majority of employee-only and employee + family health plan options
  • An annual Staff Development/Wellness Benefit allowance of up to $500 and ongoing education/training opportunities
  • County contribution to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help fund post-retirement employee health insurance/benefits
  • Retirement fully integrated with Social Security
  • May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave after 12 months of County employment

Join Our Team

Permit Sonoma is recruiting to fill two Senior Environmental Specialist positions to support their wildfire resiliency efforts under the FEMA Grant Program which is currently funded through May 3, 2025. These positions will work to support Permit Sonoma's Fire Prevention and Natural Resources Divisions by ensuring the environmental compliance of large-scale FEMA grant projects such as defensible space/structure hardening (House-Out) and vegetation management (Fire-In). To effectively provide support via phone, email, and in-person, these positions perform a mixture of fieldwork, telework, and on-site work at various County worksites, depending upon the department's needs.

As a Senior Environmental Specialist with Permit Sonoma, you will work to develop, plan, review, and recommend vegetation management measures in accordance with the CalFire Vegetation Treatment Program (VTP), California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures, and/or other requirements in order to eliminate, minimize, and/or mitigate the environmental effects of public or private projects. Additionally, you will prepare technical reports and permit documents; conduct field visits and surveys; apply for and manage grant projects; communicate effectively with staff of regulatory agencies and other County departments; and present at public meetings, hearings, and before boards and/or committees.

As our ideal candidate, you will bring your:

  • Experience in environmental review and permitting, including CEQA and NEPA; CalFire VTP application procedures; Section 401 certifications; cultural review, incidental take, stormwater, and Section 404 permits; and/or lake and streambed alteration agreements
  • Specific technical expertise in biological or ecological disciplines (fire ecology, forestry, landscape ecology, field botany, rare species, etc.) and/or physical process disciplines (hydrology, geology, hydrogeology, water quality, stormwater, etc.)
  • Ability to effectively managed work priorities and met deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Skill for successfully balancing competing needs that often arise during controversial construction projects involving sensitive landscapes
  • Good judgment when gathering, analyzing, and using data to clearly communicate through written reports and verbal presentations
  • Ability to effectively communicate with regulatory agencies, the public, developers, and elected officials

Bring Your Commitment to Public Service to the County of Sonoma

The County of Sonoma is the place to live, grow, and build your career legacy. When you join the County of Sonoma, you'll have the freedom to explore the beauty of our county - its picturesque coastline, majestic redwoods, historic towns, fine dining, award-winning wineries, and a wide variety of entertainment and cultural activities. For additional information about the beauty of our community and the valuable services and support that the County provides our communities, please visit and

Permit Sonoma is currently recruiting to fill two Senior Environmental Specialist positions. The employment list established from this recruitment may be used to fill future full-time, part-time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of the list. Qualified County employees who wish to be considered for future positions should consider applying to this recruitment.

*Salary is negotiable within the established range. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can be found in the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Memorandum Of Understanding (SEIU MOU) and our Employee Benefits directory.



Minimum Qualifications


Education: Academic course work which directly relates to the knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, such course work would include the equivalent of a four year college degree in planning, engineering, technical writing, physical or biological sciences, physical/biological/social and human environmental relations, or other related courses.

Experience: Any combination of experience which would provide the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, two years of experience in engineering and/or public works project experience including some experience in the preparation of environmental reports.


Positions with specialized assignments require training and education in one of the specialty areas which provides an opportunity to acquire the necessary technical knowledge and abilities to perform the duties of the specialty assignment. A typical way to obtain the required qualifications would be the equivalent of a four year college degree with course work in fishery biology, wildlife management, zoology, biology, botany, soils science, agronomy, or a closely related field; and one year experience working within the designated specialty area.

License: Possession of a valid driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required depending upon assignment to perform the essential job functions of the position.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


Considerable knowledge of: Federal, State and local laws, regulations, current programs and court decisions pertaining to environmental protection; environmental considerations in the design, location, and construction of public (flood control, highway, water supply, sanitation) and private (residential, commercial, industrial) projects; and citizen and public interest groups dealing with environmental matters; physical, biological, social and human environmental relationships; and contract management.

Specialized assignments require the following:

Fish and Wildlife
Working knowledge of: fishery and wildlife management principles and methods; the classification, life histories, ecology, habitats, parasites, and diseases of fresh-water fish and California wildlife; research methodology; wildlife resource management, including watershed, range, forestry, fishery, wildlife and recreation techniques and equipment in making biological investigations of fish and wildlife; materials, equipment, and techniques used in fishery and wildlife habitat improvement; and fishery considerations in the design, location, and construction of public works projects relating to streams, lakes, and ecological areas.

Botanical, Wetland Resource and Soils Morphology
Working knowledge of: vegetation and soils management principles and methods; the classification and morphology of soils, and botanical identification, classification, and life histories of plants; botanical soils research methodology; techniques and equipment in making botanical and soils investigations; materials, equipment and techniques used in botanical habitat enhancements or soil structure improvements; and of botanical considerations in the design, location, and construction of public construction projects relating to wetlands and other ecological areas.

Working knowledge of: the classification and identification of native plants and ornamental trees; the growth habits, parasites, diseases, habitat and life histories of native plants and ornamental trees; sources of native plants; soil amendments and fertilizers; irrigation methods, needs, and materials; erosion control methods and materials; and planting monitoring and maintenance methods; tree management principles and methods, research methodologies; forestry, woodland and range resource management; and techniques used in arboriculture; considerations needed to design, locate, and construct revegetation projects in urban and natural settings and to be compatible with the desired function of flood control, water supply, and sanitation facilities; and of arboricultural considerations in the design, location, and construction of public projects.

Working knowledge of: construction principles, practices, and terminology; the use of personal computers and various software applications; the use of noise meters, cameras, and various audio-visual aids.

Ability to: analyze and design project reports and determine probable effect on environment; write effectively and to use good judgment in the assembling, evaluation and use of information; prepare and present various reports on the effect of projects on the environment to advisory boards, commissions, and elected bodies; assist in planning, scheduling, and training of other employees; make mathematical calculations; analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action; establish and maintain effective relationships with other staff members, staff of other agencies, organizations, and the general public; and use a personal computer to do word processing, spreadsheets, graphics and modeling.

Working Conditions
Duties require sitting and standing for prolonged periods. Additionally, walking on level, inclined, uneven, wet and slippery surfaces; reaching, kneeling, bending, stooping, and climbing over objects is required in the performance of routine duties while conducting field work. The incumbent may, while monitoring projects in the field, be subjected to all weather conditions including wet, hot and cold. During construction and field site inspections incumbents may be exposed to dust and pollen, poisonous and stinging plants, and loud noises. The need to climb stairs, push and/or lift weights up to 25 pounds may be required when using office or field equipment, lifting binders and/or pushing boxes of specifications and reports.


Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying


  • Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
  • You should list all employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application and should be as thorough as possible when responding to the supplemental questions.
  • You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying. If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.