Environmental Planner

Illinois Tollway - Downers Grove, IL3.6

Full-time
This position has two principal purposes: (1.) participating in the identification, analysis, and documentation of environmental, cultural/historical/archaeological and hazardous/special waste resources affected by transportation improvements undertaken by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (Tollway) from the scoping process through implementation; and (2.) evaluating Tollway projects and recommending project development approaches that address project implementation goals.

Examples Of Essential Duties:

The Environmental Planner reports directly to the Environmental Policy & Program Manager. The incumbent has no subordinates.

The incumbent works with Tollway, regulatory agency and consultant staff to identify and evaluate the effects of the Illinois Tollway system on environmental, socioeconomic, cultural/historic/archaeological, and hazardous/special waste resources. The Illinois Tollway system borders a diverse mix of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational and agricultural land uses which affect such resources and conditions as; wetlands, floodplains, biological resources, special/hazardous waste, traffic noise, erodible soils, streams, rivers, lakes, forest preserves, nature preserves, Illinois Natural Areas Inventory sites, publicly owned recreational facilities along with culturally significant historical and and archaeological sites. The ever-changing land use in the areas adjacent to the toll highway system creates an environment that requires monitoring and evaluation.

The Environmental Planner participates in the gathering and management of information about environmental resources in areas adjacent to the Tollway system. This information will be maintained in various electronic and hard copy databases, including a Geographic Information System (GIS). In addition, the incumbent will maintain a system for tracking all projects currently under development by the Tollway and record the disposition of environmental studies as related to those projects. Such information management is required for all phases of project development: scoping, planning, design, construction, and maintenance. The nature of this work requires strong organizational and computer skills.

This position will advise internal and external staff on Tollway policies and procedures, study methodologies and mitigation measures. As required, the incumbent will advise internal and external staff on proper environmental documentation, review environmental and design documents prepared by consultant staff and prepare internally developed environmental documents. This function requires coordination across all offices of the Tollway with the Tollway's general consultant staff and with outside consultant staff. As appropriate, the incumbent will also be required to coordinate with resource and regulatory agencies on the policies and resources under their jurisdiction.

The Environmental Planner is expected to have knowledge of general field observation methods to assess potential project related impacts and resources of concern. An understanding of environmental and transportation planning is necessary. This person will be expected to make recommendations to identify potential areas for integrating context sensitive solutions into the overall project design. The Environmental Planner may also be asked to research alternative funding sources to assist with the implementation of environmentally compatible solutions such as aesthetic enhancements, open space preservation, bicycle/pedestrian accommodations, etc. This person must be self-motivated in initiating research and fieldwork. GPS training and field data collection experience is a plus.

Key accountabilities include: (1.) coordinating with internal and external staff to ensure that all resource issues are properly identified at the appropriate time in project development; (2.) preparing and reviewing environmental documentation, recommending design or procedural changes to the Environmental Policy & Program Manager and coordinating with outside agencies to ensure that ISTHA projects adhere to appropriate regulations.

Other duties include: maintaining a database to track the status of environmental studies on Tollway projects and advising the Environmental Policy & Program Manager on resource issues during all the phases of project development.

The effectiveness of this position is measured by the ability to evaluate a project and assess the level of environmental study required to ensure that Tollway projects are being evaluated for all appropriate resource issues. This measurement includes not only the ability to evaluate a project, but also by the ability to make a recommendation to avoid or minimize impacts to environmental resources and identify enhancement opportunity areas.

The Environmental Planner reports directly to the Environmental Policy & Program Manager. The incumbent has no subordinates.

The incumbent works with Tollway, regulatory agency and consultant staff to identify and evaluate the effects of the Illinois Tollway system on environmental, socioeconomic, cultural/historic/archaeological, and hazardous/special waste resources. The Illinois Tollway system borders a diverse mix of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational and agricultural land uses which affect such resources and conditions as; wetlands, floodplains, biological resources, special/hazardous waste, traffic noise, erodible soils, streams, rivers, lakes, forest preserves, nature preserves, Illinois Natural Areas Inventory sites, publicly owned recreational facilities along with culturally significant historical and and archaeological sites. The ever-changing land use in the areas adjacent to the toll highway system creates an environment that requires monitoring and evaluation.

The Environmental Planner participates in the gathering and management of information about environmental resources in areas adjacent to the Tollway system. This information will be maintained in various electronic and hard copy databases, including a Geographic Information System (GIS). In addition, the incumbent will maintain a system for tracking all projects currently under development by the Tollway and record the disposition of environmental studies as related to those projects. Such information management is required for all phases of project development: scoping, planning, design, construction, and maintenance. The nature of this work requires strong organizational and computer skills.

This position will advise internal and external staff on Tollway policies and procedures, study methodologies and mitigation measures. As required, the incumbent will advise internal and external staff on proper environmental documentation, review environmental and design documents prepared by consultant staff and prepare internally developed environmental documents. This function requires coordination across all offices of the Tollway with the Tollway's general consultant staff and with outside consultant staff. As appropriate, the incumbent will also be required to coordinate with resource and regulatory agencies on the policies and resources under their jurisdiction.

The Environmental Planner is expected to have knowledge of general field observation methods to assess potential project related impacts and resources of concern. An understanding of environmental and transportation planning is necessary. This person will be expected to make recommendations to identify potential areas for integrating context sensitive solutions into the overall project design. The Environmental Planner may also be asked to research alternative funding sources to assist with the implementation of environmentally compatible solutions such as aesthetic enhancements, open space preservation, bicycle/pedestrian accommodations, etc. This person must be self-motivated in initiating research and fieldwork. GPS training and field data collection experience is a plus.

Key accountabilities include: (1.) coordinating with internal and external staff to ensure that all resource issues are properly identified at the appropriate time in project development; (2.) preparing and reviewing environmental documentation, recommending design or procedural changes to the Environmental Policy & Program Manager and coordinating with outside agencies to ensure that ISTHA projects adhere to appropriate regulations.

Other duties include: maintaining a database to track the status of environmental studies on Tollway projects and advising the Environmental Policy & Program Manager on resource issues during all the phases of project development.

The effectiveness of this position is measured by the ability to evaluate a project and assess the level of environmental study required to ensure that Tollway projects are being evaluated for all appropriate resource issues. This measurement includes not only the ability to evaluate a project, but also by the ability to make a recommendation to avoid or minimize impacts to environmental resources and identify enhancement opportunity areas.

Typical Qualifications:

Bachelor's degree in Geography, Planning (Environmental or Urban Planning), Natural Resource Management or Environmental Sciences is required. One (1) to Five (5) years of related work experience in transportation/environmental planning or natural resource management is preferred. Two (2) years of work experience will be credited to a Masters degree in Planning or Environmental/Natural Sciences.

Knowledge/Education or experience in the following:
- Environmental and/or transportation planning and/or natural sciences.
- Erosion and sediment control concepts.
- Traffic noise, traffic noise impacts and traffic noise abatement.
- Subjects of Hazardous or Non-Special waste and or Clean Construction Demolition Debris.

Other: Excellent interpersonal, communication, written, organizational and analytical skills are necessary in the performance of duties. Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and ArcGIS.

Supplemental Information:

1. Participates in the identification, analysis and documentation of environmental resources, socioeconomic conditions and special/hazardous waste conditions affected by transportation improvements undertaken by the Tollway.
2. Works with internal and external staff to identify and evaluate the effects of the Illinois Tollway system on environmental resources and reports back to the Environmental Policy & Program Manager.
3. Assist with the identification of opportunity areas for incorporating context sensitive solutions and recommending innovative methods to integrate compatible environmental and engineering solutions.
4. Participates in the gathering and management of information about environmental resources within and adjacent to the Tollway system. Works with various external resources agencies, counties to create, maintain and update databases. This information is maintained in various electronic and hard copy databases, including a Geographic Information System (GIS).
5. Maintains an information management system to ensure that ISTHA projects are being evaluated for potential effects on environmental resources in a timely manner.
6. Reviews and prepares environmental documentation prepared by consultants to ensure compliance with Tollway policies and guidelines, along with state and federal environmental regulations.
7. Assists the Environmental Policy & Program Manager with various external and internal requests as assigned by superiors.
8. Other duties as assigned.