Environmental planner largely deals with making sure that development projects comply with environmental laws and regulations. The professional help to reduce the impacts, facilitate environmental permitting, and write environmental reports and documents. Environmental planner analyze and minimize the environmental impacts of proposed construction projects and make sure they meet all environmental regulations.

They also aim to minimize the environmental impacts of housing, industrial, and transportation-related construction projects. They also help project managers navigate the environmental permitting process. Helps in reviewing site plans and visit project sites to investigate potential environmental effects and identify needed changes. Environmental planner coordinate with regulatory agencies to manage permitting issues, and ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and all federal, state, and local environmental regulations.

Any environmental planners that are working for a government agency may recommend whether permits should be approved or denied. They prepare environmental impact analysis reports and responses to requests for proposals. They also monitor the changes in zoning and building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues.

Environmental Planner Full Job Description

The main responsibility of an environmental planner is to focus on the sustainability of an urban plan and attempt to mitigate the environmental impact of architecture, logistics, systems, and other aspects of a development project. While duties vary significantly from job to job, listed below includes typical responsibilities that an environmental planner may encounter:

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  • Facilitate public inquiries on land or resource development as a stakeholder or as a decision-maker
  • Process paperwork and permits regarding zoning and other regulatory processes
  • Prepare reports regarding land usage, environmental impact and human impact
  • Communicate on the phone, in meetings, and in presentations with clients and stakeholders
  • Participate in committee work for land and resource development, management, and stewardship
  • Conduct site inspections in the field for future development
  • Monitor construction progress, both ‘big picture’ and detail work
  • Manage environmental remediation projects and tasks
  • Present information to internal and external stakeholders, who might include the general public, interested parties, government officials, and contractors
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  • Consult with an answer to client requests
  • Evaluate submitted proposals
  • Submit requests to amend bylaws and for exemption or clarification on regulations and policies that would impact a project
  • Strategize, develop, and manage planning and logistics from phase to phase
  • Develop and implement phases of the planning process through the various levels of work
  • Ensure compliance with regulatory, policy, and legal entities
  • Assertively communicate project ideas and solutions to internal and external stakeholders
  • Review maps, aerial photos, data, and field investigation reports and interpret data for planning usage
  • Draft designs, schematics and maps of varying types by hand and through computer programs
  • Liaise with additional planning teams, industrial representatives, lobbyists, developers, public and private stakeholders, and members of the public
  • Create requests for proposals for development and tender

Chartered environmental planners often have a breadth of experience that makes them well-suited to managerial or administrative task management in addition to their regular skillset. With this in mind, the professional environmental planner role may look like:

  • Engage in tasks like report preparation and submittal and peer review
  • Supervise fieldwork (survey, site recording, testing, monitoring, and data integrity) of multiple field crews
  • Identify as point of first contact for communication with internal and external stakeholders
  • Sign off on field status reports and presentation of team findings
  • Research and implement new technology
  • Remain up to date with new advancements in the field of environmental planning
  • Participate on committees for policy and regulatory development within the industry
  • Participate on committees for research and educational program development within the industry
  • Facilitate positive and safe workgroup interactions
  • Develop project scopes, schedules, benchmarks and budgets
  • Navigate regulatory protocols and best professional practices on behalf of the project and team
  • Manage equipment testing and calibrate equipment and instruments
  • Oversee records management, retention, destruction
  • Create business proposals for funding purposes
  • Engage in quality assurance
  • Organize and track appropriate field data
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To become a chartered or a professional environmental planner, you need at least a B.S. or B.A. in

  • Environmental Science
  • Geography
  • Historic Preservation
  • Archaeology
  • Regional Planning
  • Civil or Environmental Engineering, or a related field.

A degree in the following courses can also be considered

  • Environmental Law
    Planning Theory and Methods
  • Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Geology
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Impact Analysis
  • Economic Analysis, and Technical/Engineering Project Management. – Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software and excellent writing skills are also essential.

A master’s degree in planning, environmental planning and management, or a related area may be preferred by some employers or required for some positions. They typically accept students from a variety of backgrounds such as geography, engineering, architecture, and environmental science. Some schools also offer graduate certificates in environmental planning.

According to research, employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 10 from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Population increases and emphasis on environmental issues will drive employment growth for environmental planners.

Culled from Environmental Science Website | What is an Environmental Planner?

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