Senior Biologist/Regulatory Specialist
- B.S., Environmental Science/Ecology/ Fish Biology, The Evergreen State College
- Fish Biology and Habitat
- Endangered Species Act
- Environmental Planning and Permitting
- Project and Program Management
Chris has worked since 1995 as a fish biologist and regulatory specialist, conducting and managing infrastructure and restoration projects in freshwater, marine, and estuarine environments. Project types include road replacements, aquatic habitat assessments, fish passage improvements, and fish exclusion and water quality monitoring for instream construction. Chris is a expert in the National/State Environmental Policy acts (NEPA/SEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), and he prepares technical environmental documents – such as NEPA/SEPA environmental impact statement discipline reports and ESA biological assessments – for federally funded projects for local, state, and federal agencies.
Examples of Chris’s project work include:
- For Snohomish County, Chris provided technical and permitting support on a project to determine applicable U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulatory requirements for 17 proposed culvert replacements. He supported the evaluation of culvert designs to determine the jurisdictional status of each culvert replacement project and permitting requirements; and helped coordinate with agencies and the Tulalip and Stillaguamish Indian tribes to review and evaluate jurisdictional determinations and permit acquisition needs.
- For the City of Bellingham, Washington, Chris managed the permitting and regulatory compliance for the James Street Bridge Replacement and Road Improvements project, which entails replacing two deficient bridges and roadway widening to meet current City arterial standards. Chris managed a team of biologists and planners to prepare the Washington State Department of Transportation Environmental Classification Summary Form and supporting documentation for NEPA compliance. He also served as the lead biologist responsible for permitting the project, preparing the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application and the biological assessment.
- Chris is managing the Upper Quinault River Sustainable Floodplain Management Planning Project for the Quinault Indian Nation. The project’s purpose is to improve fish habitat in the developed portions of the Upper Quinault River, upstream of Lake Quinault. Chris is leading the development of a Roads Management Plan as part of project to identify and prioritize actions that will improve channel migration and other geomorphic and habitat-forming processes.
- Chris was project manager and principal author for a programmatic biological evaluation (PBE) for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (WSPRC) to conduct routine maintenance activities in freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments throughout the state of Washington. Project types covered under the PBE included replacement of concrete boat launch planks; pier, ramp, and float maintenance including piling replacement; beach sand and gravel placement; mooring buoy replacement and maintenance; and bank stabilization repairs and maintenance. The PBE allows WSPRC to obtain a Corps permit and perform the activities in a more timely and cost-effective manner than going through individual Section 7 consultations for each activity.
“I want to give Chris Soncarty special recognition for his lead on pulling this programmatic BE together. He has been truly wonderful to work with, always upbeat, responsive, hard working, and professional. I know pulling this together took way more time than we thought. We who will be using this document for years to come owe a debt of gratitude.”
– Deb Petersen, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission