WRA, Inc. in sight Newsletter for May 2016

The first quarter of 2016 has been an exciting and invigorating start to the year for WRA.  We have added several new staff to our Northern and Southern California offices and are inspired by the ideas and energy they bring.  After working for approximately 10 years in a regulatory capacity with Ken Sanchez from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I am truly excited for him to join the WRA team this month as a Senior Associate Biologist!  Ken brings more than 28 years of experience in the federal government and deep knowledge of Endangered Species Act permitting and conservation banking.

I’m also proud to announce our mitigation banking department has achieved another huge milestone.  After working with the Interagency Review Team for several years, we were able to garner approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish the Petersen Ranch Mitigation Bank in Los Angeles County.  Spanning more than 4,000 acres, Petersen Ranch will be the largest mitigation bank in the State of California.  We wanted to thank and congratulate our clients Tracey Brownfield and Linda Law of Land Veritas for this amazing accomplishment.

May represents a busy month for WRA and you’ll find many of our team members presenting and attending conferences throughout the country.  While the environmental industry and regulatory policies continue to change rapidly, our diverse and nimble staff are staying in front of the curve and actively sharing our expertise industry-wide.  From a town-hall style discussion of sea-level rise on urban communities, to sharing our experience using drones for monitoring and restoration design, to showcasing innovative approaches for managing endangered estuarine fish, and attending meetings in the nation’s capital with senior regulatory agency staff, our team remains committed to providing informed and cost-effective guidance to achieve successful project outcomes.

We look forward to connecting with you at our upcoming events!  If you are attending NMEBC in Fort Worth, Texas please stop by Booth #9 to say hello to our team!  You can also find a number of our staff at SERCAL in Lake Tahoe this week – stop by our exhibitor table and find out more about our current restoration work.


Recent News
WRA joined NMBA members in DC to continue their  bi-partisan approach to advancing mitigation legislation.
WRA hosted a biodiversity event in collaboration with the Colorado Ecosystem Services Partnership.
Recent News
Read a summary of recent legal changes for the tricolored blackbird
and monarch.
Rob Schell, Associate Wildife Biologist, receives permit to conduct bat mist-netting and occupied roost surveys.
Click here for all the latest news!
New Additions

Ken Sanchez
Sr. Associate Biologist
Jon Stockus
IT Manager

David Schlocker
Director of People
Fern Hoffman

Seen and Heard 

Association of Environmental Professionals Conference
April 3-6, San Diego, California

On April 5, 2016, WRA, Inc. joined a panel of experts addressing sea-level rise at the Association of Environmental Planners (AEP) annual conference in San Diego.  The panel was moderated by land use attorney Alan Murphy from Perkins Coie, LLP and also included Dilip Trivedi, PE coastal engineer at Moffat & Nichol; Aleka Seville, MPP from Four Twenty Seven Climate Solutions; Michelle White, Principal, Planning and Green Port for the Port of San Diego; and Geoff Smick, President of WRA.

The panel presented in ‘town hall’ style with a vibrant discussion of many of the issues related to sea-level rise.  Topics included: the science behind sea-level rise estimates; assessing vulnerable areas; how the private sector can become engaged in long-term solutions; evolving property rights issues; resilient ecological solutions that may help protect existing shorelines; and strategies for engaging local governments on a regional scale.

The interactive and thought provoking discussion proved engaging – positive notes for the multifaceted and often difficult planning that lies ahead for many urban communities in the U.S. and worldwide. Read more in WRA News.

Members of WRA’s environmental planning team, Justin Semion, Geoff Reilly, Jonathan Hidalgo, and Christina Hirt, also attended the conference.

Interagency Ecological Program Annual Meeting
April 20-22, Folsom, California

During the IEP annual meeting in April 2016, Daniel Chase presented a poster on WRA’s open source Pacific herring spawn potential GIS map viewer. His talk described how this interactive tool helps determine probability of herring spawning locations throughout the San Francisco Bay and its application as a reference tool for evaluating risks of performing in water work during the spawning season. Read more inWRA News.

American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting
March 21-24, Reno, Nevada

On March 24 2016, Daniel Chase, WRA fisheries biologist, gave a presentation on “Growth, condition, and physiological response of juvenile Tidewater Goby to interspecific competition”  as part of the symposium Tidewater Goby Conservation: Biology, Metapopulations and Management of an Endangered Estuarine Fish.
Read more in WRA News.
Upcoming Events

National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference
May 10-13, Ft. Worth, Texas

WRA is a Blue level sponsor for this annual gathering of leaders in the regulatory, banking, and environmental community. WRA’s CEO Tim DeGraff, CIO Ben Guillon, and Senior Associate Biologist Ken Sanchezwill attend.

In addition, WRA’s GIS Manager Peter Kobylarz will be presenting on the use of drones and mitigation sites. WRA’s Nate Bello, Senior Associate Mitigation Specialist, will present two posters at the event. One features creative ideas for meeting regulatory requirements through bundling credits and the other focuses on a successful innovative species management technique. See a preview on the conference website.

California Society for Ecological Restoration Conference
May 11-13, Kings Beach, California

WRA is a Mt. Rose level sponsor for this event. In addition, WRA will present in multiple technical sessions and the poster reception:
  • GIS Analysis Using Drones to Map Invasive Weeds in Endangered Species Habitat, Sundaran Gillespie and Geoff Smick
  • Resilient Restoration Design in the Face of Sea Level Rise, Geoff Smick
  • Creek Restoration Benefits Local Ecology and School Curriculum, Geoff Smick
  • Comparative Spatial Analysis for SF Bay Restoration Monitoring,Chris Zumwalt
  • Fire Mid Restoration Planning Process: An Extra Check on Design, Kyra Engelberg
Stop by our table to learn more about our restoration work in California! The draft program is available on the conference website.

Open Space Conference
May 19, Richmond, California

WRA is a proud to be a sponsor of this annual event hosted by the Bay Area Open Space Council.  Stop by our table and say hello to Phil Greer,George Salvaggio, Paul Curfman, and Sundaran Gillespie.

Ducks Unlimited Wetlanders Chapter Dinner
May 19, Rancho Cordova, California

WRA’s Tim DeGraff, Geoff Smick, Ken Sanchez, and Matt Richmond will attend the annual chapter dinner. 
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