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30 Jan 2024

Full-Time California Central Valley ESA Section 7 Consultation Support

Ocean Associates Inc. – Posted by oai1 Sacramento, California, United States

Job Description

Ocean Associates Inc. (OAI) is seeking an applicant to provide ESA consultation support to the NOAA West Coast Region (WCR) California Central Valley Office (CCVO) in salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon conservation and recovery. OAI is a Virginia corporation established in 2003 that provides consulting and technical services to the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the private sector. We specialize in scientific program and project management, strategic planning, professional and technical services, and stakeholder engagement, supporting government contracts.


The successful applicant will assist the California Central Valley Office (CCVO) in salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon conservation and recovery. The geographic region of the work covers from the San Francisco Bay east, including waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries to their headwaters in the Sierras. The successful applicant will independently provide support services to satisfy the overall operational objectives of promoting the protection, conservation, and recovery of anadromous fish and their habitat. The primary objective is to provide services and deliverables implementing the statutes and mandates of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with particular emphasis on sections 7 and 10.


Key tasks include the following:

  • Review and evaluate proposed projects, implementing Environmental Regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Projects shall be evaluated to determine their impacts on ESA-listed salmonids and green sturgeon.
  • Review and evaluate proposed projects and applications submitted to NMFS pursuant to section 7 of the ESA and the other NMFS authorities stated above, and analyze effects of proposed actions, conservation measures, and mitigation activities on ESA-listed salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, and their habitat.
  • Meet with representatives from state and federal agencies, as well as NGOs, water districts, reclamation districts, section 7 applicants and other groups to discuss projects and programs that may impact ESA-listed salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, and their habitat, providing recommendations on how these projects and programs may reduce environmental impacts. Also coordinate with NMFS’ Science Center and other researchers in evaluating the status of species and impacts from actions.
  • Write technically and legally sound concurrence letters and biological opinions consistent with NOAA/NMFS policies and procedures.
  • Complete reviews of submitted section 10(a)(1)(A) Permit applications, reviewing and preparing comments, reviewing and/or overseeing ESA section 7 Consultations and NEPA documents for section 10(a)(1)(A) Permits, and perform coordination and information sharing with the NMFS West Coast Region’s Protected Resources Division’s (PRD) CA Research Permitting leads.
  • Assist in leading NMFS planning for the spring-run Chinook salmon emergency action plan by: gathering and synthesizing scientific data; meeting with CCVO’s partners at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, water districts and other agencies; and writing and implementing the plan.
  • Participate in and/or present protected species information at local and regional coordination meetings and participate in a California Central Valley Division workshop.
  • Prepare appropriate documentation for each consultation, listing, status review, or permit, including assembling and managing administrative records as necessary to provide adequate and proper evidence of agency business, timely response to requests for information, and compliance with NMFS internal directives, including memos to the file that show compliance with West Coast Region quality assurance process.
  • Coordinate with partner agencies in implementation of steelhead life cycle monitoring to support development of a juvenile population estimate, as identified in the Central Valley Project operations proposed action and biological opinion. Also participate in multi-agency steelhead telemetry study efforts to further refine protections for Central Valley steelhead. For these efforts, you will develop monitoring analysis approaches and reporting protocols and assist in analysis interpretation; provide scientific support for monitoring program design and deployment; and assist in analysis interpretation.
  • Coordinate with CCVO staff to identify discussion topics relevant to NMFS mission and advocate for NMFS’ needs within the steelhead life cycle modeling/telemetry studies programs.


Deliverables shall relate to the above tasks and will include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  • Draft and finalize ESA section 7 concurrence letters and biological opinions for assigned projects. Production of each letter and biological opinion shall consist of an initial draft, and subsequent drafts, as needed, that address NMFS comments. Draft documents shall meet timelines associated with the West Coast Region’s Public Consultation Tracking System (now ECO) memorandum, and comply with NMFS templates, and formatting and style guides, as well as 508 regulations.
  • Draft and finalize environmental documents related to NEPA, FWCA, and MSA. Documents shall comply with all WCR guidance regarding the implementation of these laws and be compliant with 508 regulations.
  • Comment on pre-consultation technical documents from action agencies, which will provide recommendations on how agencies can minimize and mitigate project impacts to steelhead, Chinook salmon and green sturgeon.
  • Complete administrative records according to CCVO and WCR procedures for governmental records.
  • Draft and finalize agendas and minutes for all spring-run Chinook salmon emergency action plan meetings.
  • Draft and finalize comments on section 10(a)(1)(A) Permit applications, as well as draft and final comments on ESA section 7 Consultations and NEPA documents for section 10(a)(1)(A) Permits.
  • For steelhead life cycle monitoring and telemetry studies, schedule meetings, workshops, and outreach calls with program participants from other agencies.
  • Monthly progress reports to include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following: accomplishments, issues encountered, travel (including purpose, significant outcomes, action items), and recommendations, if applicable.


Must have experience in the following:

  • Knowledge of the Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Proficiency with actions under section 7 and 10 of the ESA.
  • Knowledge of biology, natural resource management and West Coast anadromous fish species.

Must possess and maintain the following skills/certifications and/or credentials:

  • Completed undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with emphasis on biological science, conservation biology, fisheries management, wildlife management or related fields.
  • Three years of experience in one of the above topics or a related field. A graduate degree may substitute for experience.
  • Valid driver’s license required for operation of government vehicles.

Start Date As soon as possible


Work will primarily be conducted on-site at 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA. Off-site work is permitted. Off-site work may include field work with NOAA partners, and other offsite work as specified by the Contracting Officer or COR.

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Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 60,000 - 80,000.

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