About Rocks Biological Consulting
With over 40 years of collective local experience, Rocks Biological Consulting possesses a level of proficiency that is uncommon among small biological consulting firms. We have the experience to deliver high quality work while keeping projects on schedule and within budget. We have led projects large and small, written hundreds of biological technical reports, and performed thousands of focused species surveys. Our team of experts is well-versed in Southern California biological species and habitats as well as local, state, and federal environmental regulations and processing guidelines.
We specialize in:
- General biological surveys and biological technical reports (CEQA/NEPA compliant)
- Focused and protocol surveys for endangered, threatened, and special-status species
- Rare plant surveys
- Habitat assessment
- Wetland delineation
- Biological monitoring
- Land management
- Habitat restoration planning
Please see our services page for a more complete list.
Why our clients choose Rocks Bio:
- Our long-term, proven record of providing high quality work
- Our deep understanding of the local regulatory environment
- Our responsiveness to client needs
- Our ability to provide project solutions
From small infill projects to large utility developments, we combine extensive training and experience to provide exceptional service.
Jim Rocks, M.S.
Jim Rocks serves as lead biologist for the firm. He is responsible for overseeing all project fieldwork and ensuring technical accuracy. He holds an M.S. in biological science and is a department associate with the San Diego Natural History Museum Botany Department, where he has taught several botanical classes. He has over 20 years of experience as a consulting biologist in San Diego. Mr. Rocks conducts a variety of special-status species surveys, wetland delineations, habitat restoration and management, impact analyses, and project permitting. He has worked extensively with federal, state, and local regulatory staff to obtain regulatory permits and implement mitigation programs. He is permitted to conduct surveys for the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly, coastal California Gnatcatcher, and all California Fairy Shrimps.
Melanie Rocks, M.S.
President / Principal
Melanie Rocks serves as a regulatory specialist, project manager, and biologist for RBC. She is responsible for project oversight and preparation of biological technical reports, restoration plans, and other biological reporting. In addition, she performs biological fieldwork, including special-status surveys, habitat assessments, impact and regulatory analyses, and construction monitoring. Melanie holds an M.S. in environmental science and has over 20 years of experience in biological resources and regulations. She has permitted multiple complex development projects and overseen monitoring of several large-scale restoration efforts. Prior to joining Rocks Bio she served as a lead biologist for the City of San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), where she performed rare plant monitoring; reviewed hundreds of projects for consistency with City biological regulations; trained staff on wetland delineation and regulations; assisted with City biological regulation revisions; and outreached with state and federal agency staff. She is permitted to conduct surveys for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly and all California Fairy Shrimp.
Shanti Santulli, M.S.
Lead Regulatory Specialist
Shanti Santulli serves as lead regulatory specialist for RBC, managing the aquatic resource permitting and preparation of associated documents, such as jurisdictional delineation reports, for RBC. Shanti served as a regulatory project manager and team lead at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) prior to joining RBC. She holds an M.S. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles and has almost 15 years of experience in aquatic resource delineations, regulatory permitting, and field biology in southern California. Shanti has extensive knowledge of federal regulations including Section 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). She reviews and prepares documents in compliance with state and federal aquatic resource regulations. Shanti also coordinates regulatory permitting and compliance matters with federal and state regulatory agencies including the Corps, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the California Coastal Commission (CCC).
Lee Ripma, M.S.
Project Manager and Senior Biologist
Lee Ripma serves as a project manager and senior biologist for RBC. Ms. Ripma has 13 years of experience working as a botanist and wildlife biologist in Southern California and holds an M.S. in evolutionary biology from San Diego State University. Ms. Ripma conducts special-status wildlife and botanical surveys, oversees field data collection, and prepares technical documents to comply with federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations. She also prepares documents for compliance with the Western Riverside MSHCP and the San Diego MSCP. Lee is permitted to conduct surveys for the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly, coastal California Gnatcatcher, and all California Fairy Shrimps.
Ian Hirschler, B.S.
Ian Hirschler serves as an associate biologist for RBC and has over five years of professional experience working as a wildlife biologist. Ian is well-versed in ecology and field biology and holds a B.S. in field and wildlife biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He performs special-status species surveys; biological monitoring and vegetation mapping; and aids in the preparation of technical reports for compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. Ian is also permitted to conduct surveys for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly and coastal California Gnatcatcher.
Brenda Bennett, B.S.
Associate Biologist and Arborist
Brenda Bennett holds a B.S. in biology with an emphasis in botany from Northern Arizona University. She is an ISA certified arborist, with almost 10 years of professional experience working as a botanist, arborist, and restoration ecologist. Brenda performs special-status plant surveys; endangered species surveys; tree surveys and inventories; vernal pool surveys; restoration and construction monitoring; and assists with preparation of technical reports for compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. She is permitted to conduct surveys for Quino Checkerspot Butterfly.
Shannon Mindeman, M.S.
Shannon Mindeman has over six years of professional experience working as a wildlife biologist and is well-versed in environmental science, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Shannon holds an M.S. in biology from San Diego State University where she performed her masters research on the spotted towhee. Shannon conducts protocol surveys for Southern California special-status species including burrowing owl, least Bell’s vireo, and coastal California gnatcatcher; performs biological monitoring; monitors vernal pool restoration projects; and aids clients in the preparation of technical reports for compliance with federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations.
Chris Thomson, B.S.
Chris Thomson serves as an associate biologist for RBC and holds a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Redlands with a focused concentration in ornithology. He has over two years of professional experience working as a wildlife biologist in southern California and knowledgeable in the fields of avian biology and behavioral ecology. He conducts surveys for special-status wildlife species and assists in surveying for threatened and endangered species. Chris also performs biological monitoring and vegetation mapping; conducts nesting bird surveys; and aids in the preparation of technical reports for compliance with federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations.
Sarah Krejca, B.S., J.D.
Sarah Krejca holds a B.S. in biology (ecology, ethology, and evolution) and a J.D. focused on environmental law and policy. She has over six years of experience in southern California biological resources and management. Before joining Rocks Bio, Sarah worked as a program manager and field biologist for a non-profit habitat management organization in southern California; prior to that she worked in environmental law and policy with a focus on litigation related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Ms. Krejca also has experience performing rare plant and wildlife species surveys, California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) surveys, and vegetation mapping. She has extensive writing experience in both the biological and legal fields, having written or served as a technical editor on a variety of documents, including legal briefs and memoranda, management plans, biotic resources reports, monitoring reports, and proposals. Sarah is also permitted to conduct surveys for the coastal California gnatcatcher.
Emily Trevino, B.S.
Emily Trevino holds a B.S. in environmental studies from Texas A&M University and has over two years of professional experience in southern California regulatory permitting. She previously worked in the Wetlands and Riparian Protection Unit at the Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region (RWQCB) where she gained valuable knowledge of general regulatory permitting procedures and requirements for Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Emily conducts jurisdictional delineations, prepares jurisdictional delineation reports, and assists in preparing permit applications and various documents in support of and compliance with Section 404 and 401 of the CWA, Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, and California Fish and Game Code Section 1602.
Marina Escobedo serves as RBC’s office manager and has 15 years of broad administrative experience. She assists with contracting, proposals, accounting and personnel maintenance. Marina ensures our office is successfully functioning, handling a wide range of administrative and executive support related tasks.
At Rocks Bio, dedication to client satisfaction and to employee satisfaction are key principles. We believe in teamwork, integrity, and professionalism, and we believe in empowering employees to take on new challenges and learn new skills. We offer a flexible and friendly work environment, and provide a competitive benefits package including paid time off, retirement benefits, health insurance, professional development, and more.
We are a small company but are always on the lookout for new talent. If you are interested in a career at Rocks Bio, please send us a message. Include your work experience/certifications/skill highlights as well as a description of why you might be interested in working at Rocks Bio.