Steven G. Nelson
In 1974, during his second year in graduate school, Steve partnered with a fellow graduate student to form England & Nelson Environmental Consultants to provide biological resources consulting services in the environmental planning industry. In this capacity, Steve co-authored a number of large scale biological assessments and more focused studies throughout Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties for public and private interests. These included The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Game, the Los Angeles and Orange County planning and environmental review departments, and Southern California Edison Company. Most noteworthy of his early career was Steve’s co-authorship of the 1976 Significant Ecological Area Study as part of the Los Angeles County General Plan Update project.
Between 1977 and 1983, Steve was a biological consultant/project manager for two multidisciplinary planning and environmental companies, PBR and EDAW. In 1982 Steve was named the youngest firm Principal at EDAW. Besides addressing biological resources in Southern California, Steve’s expertise in resolving resource management issues included projects in Lake Chelan, Washington, Sunriver, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona.
Steve became a sole proprietor in 1983 offering biological consulting services to private developers, engineering firms, attorneys, architects, and planning consultants. In this capacity, he prepared CEQA-level biological resource assessments, constraints/due diligence analyses, and provided preconstruction/ construction-level monitoring.
In 1994, Steve was offered the opportunity to be the Director of Biological Services for Michael Brandman Associates. In this role, he directed the work of some 20 biologists and regulatory specialists in offices in Irvine, Sacramento, and San Jose. He also became involved in the authorship of a Natural Environment Study for the 10,000-acre Orange County Transportation Corridor Authority Foothill Transportation-South Project. The project entailed the supervision/administration of 29 biologists in studies involving 84 special status species. These included 14 that were state and/or federally listed as threatened or endangered species.
Steve joined the firm of PCR | Planning Consultants Research in 1996 as its first Director of Biological Services and was given the opportunity to open and grow an office in Orange County. The Orange County office grew to 35 employees including biologists, planners, cultural resource specialists, and support staff. Over half of the staff in the office were biologists and regulatory specialists. In his role of Director, role Steve’s areas of specialization and participation in projects were that of strategy planning and negotiation for project entitlements and regulatory permitting. He became highly knowledgeable in the processing of state and federal endangered species statutes and the permitting of regulated waters. In many cases, Steve participated in meetings and presentations to state and federal resource agencies, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also took the role of an expert in the delivery of project information to many city and county governments.
In 1998, Steve expanded his professional perspectives through his appointment to the City of Diamond Planning Commission by the City Council. As the result of consecutive nominations by four Council members, he served in this role for 13 years until late 2012, when he and his wife relocated to San Clemente. As an asset in his skill set, Steve understands the motives and interests of all stakeholders, most notably the developer, the community and the public staff.
In 2016, PCR was acquired by ESA | Environmental Science Associates where he continued his role as a Project Director and lead strategy planner. He continues to assist on projects for clients he has worked with for 46 years.
On April 3, 2020, Steve returned to the role of the sole proprietor in the biological consulting business. He remains committed to promoting standards of resource care based on a strict dichotomy that separates facts from subjectivity, speculation, and fiction.