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Environmental Planning

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What is “environmental planning?”

How do we apply the knowledge gained in environmental science and adapt our environmental policies and ecological values to the natural world? How do we integrate the needs for a environmental protection and sustainability with the needs of people urban and rural areas? These are the questions that environmental planner deals with. They help us decide on specific plans that integrate social and economic needs with environmental protection. Some planners focus on rural areas while others concentrate on creatively dealing with urban issues. Some are primarily concerned with international development.

What do environmental planners do?

  • Develop land-use plans, including parks, preserves, and environmentally friendly housing developments.
  • Establish planning policies for future development.
  • Review development applications for environmental impacts.
  • Recommend zoning regulations with environmental health in mind.
  • Consult with public, private, and nonprofit agencies

What types of organizations hire for environmental planning?

  • Governmental agencies.
  • Private development firms.
  • Landscape consulting firms.
  • Non-profit conservation groups.

What does it take to become an effective environmental planner?


  • A broad understanding of the scientific, social, and value dimensions of environmental issues.
  • Specific expertise in land use and the environmental impact of development.
  • Familiarity with political and economic dimensions of environmental issues.


  • Communication skills: writing, speaking, and use of computers to communicate ideas.
  • Geographic Information Systems.
  • Cartography.
  • Skill in geographic computer programs.


  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Ability to see all sides of environmental issues
  • Tendency toward “both-and” thinking that sees solutions that serve both human and environmental needs.

So what should I do in college?

  • Major (or at least minor) in Environmental Studies in order to get a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of environmental issues.
  • Major in Urban and Rural Planning or Geography or similar discipline.
  • Gain practical experience in dealing with land-use issues.
  • Cultivate the skills and qualities mentioned above.

Do I need to get a graduate degree?

Most planners have a master degree in planning.

What are some examples of actual job listings in Environmental Planning?

Land Use Planner

Description: CVI is seeking applicants for the position of Land Use Planner to serve: watershed/community organizations; land trusts; conservation groups; private industry; state, federal and local agencies; private landowners; and public and private partnerships throughout the Mid-Atlantic Highlands region.

Qualifications: Qualified candidates will possess: a Masters Degree in landscape architecture, planning, geography or a similar field; 5+ years of experience in land use, landscape, and/or ecological planning; demonstrated strong verbal/written communication skills and a working knowledge of the following: comprehensive land use planning; ecological land use planning; alternative futures development; development impact analysis and applicable models; river and watershed conservation planning; greenway conservation; conservation easements; decentralized wastewater treatment; intergovernmental collaboration; regional watershed planning; terrestrial and aquatic system inter-relationships; functional environmental assessments; watershed management assessments; geospatial analyses; and ecological resource evaluations.

Terms: The salary for this position is commensurate with experience and ability and includes a full benefits package.

Senior Environmental Planner

Description: Public Affairs Management, a leading San Francisco environmental and public involvement firm, is seeking a senior level planner to join their environmental planning group. The environmental planning group works on a variety of federal, state, regional, and local projects primarily in Northern California and the western United States. Public Affairs Management (PAM) is a woman-owned consulting firm specializing in environmental communication and environmental planning.


  • The position requires experience preparing CEQA/NEPA environmental documents for land development and transportation projects in California, including a working knowledge of the implementing guidelines of agencies such as Caltrans, FHWA, FTA, etc.
  • Candidate will be responsible for overall project activities, schedule and budget management and staff team building and development.
  • Current project work is primarily focused on environmental analysis of land development and transportation projects, but often includes water resource, recreation and infrastructure projects.


  • A degree in urban planning, environmental studies or a related field is necessary with a minimum of five years of professional consulting work experience.
  • The position requires demonstration of consulting, project management, and marketing experience for both land development and transportation projects.

Environmental Planner

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science degree in natural resources or planning field (Master of Science Degree preferred). Acceptable majors may include: Biology, Botany, Range Science, Forestry, Wildlife Ecology, Urban or Regional Planning or Environmental Science. Certification as a planner or an environmental scientist desired. At least 2 years experience required. NEPA experience essential. Modeling, GIS, wetland delineation training a plus. Conduct field investigations and prepare reports for planning and assessment projects. Must be able to execute and work with interdisciplinary teams on environmental and planning studies for a variety of projects including highways, airports, water and wastewater, and utility corridors. Strong communication skills required, both oral and written, as evidenced by resume and interview. Must be physically capable of working in the field in hot weather conditions. Physical activity may including walking in unimproved areas, digging with hand equipment, retrieving and carrying vegetation and soil samples.

Environmental Planner

Description: Countywide planning agency seeks Associate Senior Planner for environmental projects involving watershed planning, storm water management, water quality improvement, open space preservation/restoration, and green building practices.

Qualifications: Requires B.A. or B.S. with environmental concentration in Planning, Geography, Landscape Architecture, or related field and three years minimum relevant work experience. Good communication, writing, analytical, and computer skills required. GIS experience is a plus. Must demonstrate ability to conduct planning activities with minimal supervision and represent agency to communities and organizations.

Terms: Salary up to $40,000. Excellent benefits.

by linnm37 — last modified Oct 22, 2012 04:30 PM
June 2013 »