Today’s environmental regulations are complex and challenging. GEI provides our clients with experts to navigate through the ever-changing labyrinth of federal, state, and local regulatory requirements.

GEI’s environmental planners, regulatory specialists, biologists, restoration ecologists, climate change experts, cultural resource specialists, and engineers help develop regulatory strategies at the onset of each and every project. Throughout the project life cycle, GEI works with clients and develops environmental compliance – National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) – documentation and obtains required project permits with acceptable terms and conditions. This collaborative process allows projects to be completed within budget and on schedule.



Critical Issues

Maintaining Balance Between the Natural and Built Environments – Environmental regulations are enacted to protect and preserve our valuable natural resources.  To maintain regulatory compliance and promote environmental sustainability, GEI develops balanced project solutions that meet both client goals and regulatory requirements.

Dynamic Regulatory Environment – Regulatory language and the implementation of environmental law is subject to constant change. Political influence and the evolution of public opinion can have significant effects on how environmental regulations impact a project. GEI environmental planners and regulatory specialist are experts at interpreting and applying these complex regulations to projects.

Personal Relationships with Regulators and Clients – Development of permittable project plans and the acquisition of required permits can be a challenging task. GEI maintains close relationships with clients to facilitate open and productive dialogue and understands this is an integral part of moving projects from conception to implementation. Equally important, we promote and sustain mutually-respectful relationships with key regulatory agency personnel so projects can be authorized in the most streamlined manner possible.

Project Life Cycle Understanding – To effectively support a variety of projects, GEI environmental planners and regulatory specialists understand project-specific challenges, consider feasible alternatives, and develop defensible strategies early in the planning process. Experience with a diverse range of project types and clients is required to effectively identify constraints that may have a critical impact during different stages of project planning and implementation.

Science-Based Defensible Solutions – During a time when projects can be challenged for a variety of environmental, cultural, or social reasons, the implementation of structured science-based investigations is critical to the development of defensible solutions. GEI establishes an appropriate level of scientific study early in the planning process to assess a project’s potential impacts and lay the groundwork for development of effective NEPA/CEQA documents and permit applications.


Many projects must meet a multitude of overlapping and sometimes conflicting federal, state, and local requirements. The GEI environmental planning and regulatory team has a deep knowledge of the intricacies of these regulatory processes and proven experience obtaining permits with feasible permit terms.

Working closely with our clients, we develop and implements project-specific permitting strategies to navigate NEPA/CEQA and obtain permits based on our technically-defensible scientific analyses and regulatory expertise. These integrative strategies allow our clients to meet strict permitting requirements while providing feasible and cost-effective approaches to project implementation.

Completing NEPA/CEQA and obtaining permits within constrained schedules is what we do. GEI uses our extensive technical capabilities, long-standing relationships with regulatory agency staff, and creative thinking to find solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Because our staff are experienced with a wide variety of clients, we can look ahead and understand the permitting critical path for many types of projects.

Many of GEI’s regulatory specialists are also biologists and/or are experienced in natural resources protection and management. GEI regulatory specialists also include former regulatory agency staff, which give us an in-depth understanding of agency requirements and the ability to anticipate many agencies’ requests. This experience and background allow GEI to develop complete permit applications, resulting in a streamlined permitting process.

Our extensive in-house expertise with the NEPA, CEQA, Clean Water Act, federal and state Endangered Species Acts, Rivers and Harbors Act, Federal Emergency Management Act, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, National Historic Preservation Act, and numerous other federal, state, and local laws and regulations means GEI understands the full picture – what it takes to get a project permitted and implemented.



Permit Acquisition Strategy Plans

Obtaining permits within constrained schedules is what we do. Today’s environmental regulations are complex and ever-changing. Project owners and operators need expert assistance to navigate through the labyrinth of (sometimes conflicting) federal, state, and local regulatory compliance requirements. Working closely with our clients, we develop and implement project-specific permitting plans based on our technically-defensible scientific analyses and regulatory expertise. Our regulatory team has worked together as a cohesive group for more than 10 years and obtained hundreds of permit authorizations, and our experienced project team can assist you while navigating the current regulatory climate. Let us help you obtain permits for your project too!

Waters, Wetlands, and Floodplain Permits

GEI conducts wetland, watercourse, waterbody, and floodplain delineations and assessments in all regions of the U.S. Our team includes experienced professional wetland scientists, wetland and aquatic ecologists, wildlife biologists, floodplain engineers, and hydrologists dedicated to client service and environmental stewardship.

GEI tackles the federal, state, and local challenges related to jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional wetlands, stream channel assessments and impacts, regulatory floodway and floodplain limits and letters of map revision, and mitigation associated with impacts to our waters and wetlands.

GEI utilizes sub-meter accuracy GPS technology in the field and works seamlessly with our in-house GIS analysts to provide accurate resource mapping that meets project planning, implementation, and regulatory agencies’ needs. We prepare a multitude of wetland and stream permit applications to obtain project authorizations under  401, 404, and 408 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act as well as other state-level wetland, lake, and stream regulations such as California’s “State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State.” GEI’s hydrologic and hydraulic engineers also work with clients to acquire floodplain development permits through both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state regulatory agencies when required.

Endangered and Threatened Species Permits

Among the key functions of federal and state wildlife agencies is the enforcement of wildlife laws, protection of endangered species and their habitat, management of migratory birds, and restoration of wildlife habitat. The GEI team coordinates closely with agency staff, our clients, and project stakeholders to work through the challenging issues that may affect protected species or their habitat.

GEI biologists can provide a multitude of regulatory compliance services, including species-specific surveys, habitat assessments, habitat management plans, migratory bird habitat assessments, nesting surveys, aquatic wildlife surveys and relocations, and tree and plant surveys and inventories. These results are used to support compliance with Sections 7 and 10 of the Endangered Species Act, and state-specific protected species regulations such as Section 2080-2081 of California Endangered Species Act.

NEPA/CEQA and Other Comparable State Regulations

Any project with a federal ‘nexus’ (NEPA) or requiring approval by a local or state agency in California (CEQA) or one of 15 other states, requires an interdisciplinary review of potential environmental impacts. GEI employs a suite of subject matter experts who can prepare environmental documents of all levels of detail, from Categorical Exclusions or Exclusions to large scale Environmental Impact Statements or Reviews.

We also employ senior-level project managers and strategic thinkers to shepherd the project through the regulatory gauntlet and public noticing, and engagement processes efficiently and with minimal ‘do overs.’

Stormwater Management and Erosion Control

GEI helps clients prepare for construction by understanding the principles and practices of stormwater management, erosion, and sedimentation control. Our engineers and ecologists work together and with clients to design, develop, and permit stormwater management plans, erosion control measures, and structural or non-structural best management practices (BMPs).

Progressive bioengineering, low-impact development, and green infrastructure practices are GEI specialties.

Expert Witness Testimony, Negotiation, and Litigation Support

GEI’s staff has extensive expertise in negotiation and litigation support, including expert witness testimony. Our experts translate highly technical, scientific information into real and practical terms. GEI experts combine credentials, experience, and great communication skills to present complex technical issues in ways that non-technical audiences will readily understand.

Our services include expert testimony, preparation of expert reports, affidavits, trial exhibits, and deposition preparation for opposing experts and settlement negotiations.

Meet the Team

Cindy Davis

Senior Regulatory Specialist/Senior Project Manager

Ginger G. Gillin, CFP

Vice President/Principal Environmental Scientist

Kelly N. Rice, PWS

Vice President/Senior Ecologist

Shelley Hazen, M.A., B. Envs.

Climate Change Specialist

Eric Htain

Senior Environmental Scientist

Ryan Jolley

Senior Environmental Project Director, CEQA | NEPA | Environmental Compliance

Anne King

Senior Biologist

Drew Sutton, AICP

Senior Environmental Planner/Project Manager

Nicholas A. Tomera

Senior Professional

Katie J. Unke Ehrenberg

Senior Project Manager/Ecological Practice Leader

Ray Weiss

Environmental Planner

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