Chris Cziesla

Principal Marine/Fisheries
Biologist, CEO

View resume

  • M.S., Marine Biology, University of Oregon
  • B.A., Biology, University of Virginia
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Fisheries and Marine Biology
  • Environmental Permitting
  • Regulatory Compliance Strategy

Chris specializes in regulatory compliance strategies and habitat restoration, and brings a tremendous combination of strategic and technical knowledge to his projects. He has conducted research and performed evaluations for infrastructure projects, shellfish aquaculture, waterfront modification, maintenance dredging, road and culvert improvements, and stream and marsh alteration and restoration. Chris has a scientific background in aquatic environments, including assessments and restoration of freshwater, marine, and estuarine systems. His regulatory compliance experience includes working with various federal agencies to develop guidance, conduct training, and streamline Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations, as well as working with the Washington Office of Regulatory Assistance to establish the information requirements for all permits associated with the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA). Chris has written numerous programmatic and project-specific biological assessments, natural resource sections of environmental impact statements, and habitat conservation plans. He has developed mitigation and restoration plans for sensitive species and habitats such as salmonids, shellfish, eelgrass, and wetlands.

Examples of Chris’s project work include the following:

  • As the Endangered Species Act Lead, Chris is responsible for the Section 7 consultations associated with the $4.6 billion State Route 520 Bridge Replacement Program for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This includes the analysis and evaluation of multiple aspects of the program’s activities and their interactions with the natural environment in a complex urban-park-sensitive shoreline setting.
  • Chris has provided regulatory compliance and permitting strategies, developed biological assessments and habitat plans, managed the completion of permitting documents, researched shellfish ecology, and developed study designs for numerous shellfish aquaculture projects. He has worked closely with the shellfish industry to strive for a streamlined, programmatic permitting solution (e.g., NWP 48) versus individual permitting efforts.
  • Chris is integrally involved on a project team working through a multi-stage alternatives analysis for the North Mercer Island Interceptor & Enatai Interceptor Upgrade Project for King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. Chris is the permitting lead and environmental lead for this project. His technical expertise regarding wastewater conveyance and infrastructure work in sensitive habitats such as the Lake Washington nearshore allowed early elimination of certain alternatives while enabling more detailed exploration of in-water options initially considered non-permittable.

“Chris has a great ability to stand firm on the client’s behalf in agency negotiations while maintaining a good rapport with all parties involved. He is very good at taking a lot of information and dialing down to the most significant issues, and then coming up with creative, workable solutions.”
– Samuel W. (Billy) Plauché,   Plauché & Carr LLP