WSP Sacramento- Senior Permitting Lead

As part of the Rail Delivery Partners (RDP), WSP USA provides a variety of planning, environmental, engineering, and design services in support of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) in its efforts to build and operate a statewide high-speed rail system. The California High Speed Train (CHST) project is an 800-mile high-speed rail passenger service, which will run from Sacramento in the North to San Diego in the South, with major interchange hubs in between, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.  This will be the first, true high-speed rail project in America, with trains operating at up to 220 mph.

WSP USA is currently initiating a search for a full-time Senior Permitting Lead for our Sacramento, California office.

The position will be in Sacramento with occasional travel (<20%) between Sacramento, Bay Area, and Central Valley; areas within the geographic reaches of these CHST project sections. The employee will work in a climate-controlled office under artificial light as well as be required to attend in-person field meetings and/or in-person meetings at field offices (e.g. agency and/or regional consultant’s offices, etc.) on an on-call, on-demand basis. On occasion, travel to other areas of California that include the Central Valley and northern California to other project offices and/or work sites and/or in-field in-person meetings may be required. In-field meetings may consist of multiple days in consecutive order and involve a range of physical exertion levels.

Duties and Responsibilities:

She/he will lead and manage the State and federal permit application and consultation processes for the San Francisco to San Jose and San Jose to Merced CHST project sections as well as provide support to Central Valley permitting and compliance efforts as needed. She/he will lead and manage task assignments, oversee and review work conducted by other staff including consultants such as complex analyses and studies, and interface with government agencies, legal counsel, stakeholders and the public.  She/he will report directly to the CHST Statewide Permit, Mitigation and Compliance Lead. Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Working interactively with CHSRA staff located throughout the State, regional consultants, environmental and engineering consultants, legal counsel, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in the strategy development, preparation, and acquisition of necessary permits from the applicable resource agencies
  • Lead and manage the State and federal permitting and consultation processes needed to support issuance of Notices of Determination (NODs) and Record of Decisions (RODs), State and federal permitting processes, and development and integration of a mitigation plans
  • This role begins with early informal consultations, such as prior to development of Checkpoint A Purpose and Need, through to permit and agreement document issuance and mitigation fulfillment.
  • Responsible for implementation and/or or compliance with:
    • Memoranda of Understanding: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq)/Clean Water Act Section 404 (233 U.S.C. § 1344)/Rivers and Harbors Act Section 14 (33 U.S.C. § 408) Integration Process for the California High Speed-Train Program, which articulates the agreed to process for compliance with Section 404 and 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (“Section 408”)
    • Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)/National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA/NMFS)
    • Section 401/402 of the CWA – State Water Resources Control Board
    • Section 1600 et seq and Section 2081 of the Fish and Game Code – California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    • McAteer-Petris Act – San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
    • Development and implementation of compensatory and habitat mitigation plans, in accordance with the USACE/USEPA 2008 Final Rule, including review of title reports, drafting/reviewing mitigation plans sections, etc. consistent with the Authority’s Regional Mitigation Policy.
  • Development of supporting technical documents associated with the State and federal regulatory processes such as wetland delineation reports, CRAM, biological resources reports, etc.
  • Serving as the main point of contact for the natural-resource and regulatory agencies relative to the areas of natural resource mitigation, permitting, and compliance demonstration for their assigned CHST project section regions;
  • Engage with natural resources and conservation stakeholders.

Talent is the essence of meeting our client’s objectives, goals and challenges.  If this sounds like a fit for you, we’d love to have that first discussion of you joining our team.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor Degree in Biological or Wetland Sciences or a related field
  • Strong knowledge of federal and State regulatory processes, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), state and federal environmental laws, processes and guidelines, and compensatory mitigation compliance and planning
  • Ability to serve as technical support to the analysis of environmental impact documents, permit application and consultation documents in compliance with applicable governing statutes and regulations, and development of compensatory mitigation planning
  • Minimum 12 years in progressively-responsible relevant experience
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills
  • Strong analytical and verbal and written communication skills
  • She/he must have the ability to work independently, problem-solve through creative processes and establish partnerships with project management, CHSRA staff, government agencies, other organizations and stakeholder groups
  • Must be able to function well in a fast-paced environment under demanding deadlines and changing priorities and conditions.

Preferred Qualifications (a plus)

  • Master Degree in Biological or Wetland Sciences or a related field
  • Experience with construction compliance and design-build projects


WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of one of the world’s leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the transportation, buildings, energy, water and environment sectors. With nearly 7,000 people in 100 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper.

WSP provides a progressive mix of benefits including medical, dental 401k and long term disability focused on a providing health and financial stability throughout the employee’s career.

At WSP, we want to give our employees the challenges they seek to grow their careers and knowledge base.  Your daily contributions to your team will be a key piece in our meeting client objectives, goals and challenges, are you ready to get started?

WSP USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer – M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.

The selected candidate must be authorized to work in the United States.