Team

Our Team

Jim Rocks, M.S.

Principal Biologist


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).

Ian Hirschler, B.S.

Associate Biologist


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.

Associate Biologist

Rocks Biological Consulting | About | Our Team | Shannon Mindeman
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.

Associate Biologist


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.

Regulatory Specialist


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.

Regulatory Specialist


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

Office Manager

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.