Awards


2021 Awards and Scholarship Event Recap

San Diego AEP proudly hosted our annual Awards and Scholarship Event last Thursday, October 7th!

Despite the physical distance between us, the San Diego environmental professional community came together to celebrate the achievements and potential of our student scholarship winners, the successes of our award winners, and the legacy of our 2021 Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Profession award recipient, Myra Herrmann.

We listened to the engaging and inspiring words of our keynote speaker, Kirstin Skadberg, encouraging us to integrate teaching into our professional goals. In partnership with our event sponsors, we funded a record-breaking 8 student scholarships, including four $2,000 undergraduate/graduate scholarships and four $1,000 Diversity in the Environmental Profession high school scholarships, bringing our scholarship total to $12,000 for 2021! Firms and agency teams showed off their stellar environmental documents, and after review from our talented group of jurors, took home awards in their prospective categories. Myra Herrmann was recognized by her colleagues in the CEQA Squad for an outstanding career full of leadership, mentorship, and activism. It was a pleasure to have Myra join us to accept her award and speak about her memorable career and the meaningful relationships created along the way. We wrapped up our joyful ceremony with a raffle prize drawing and the announcement of the photo contest winner!

The SDAEP Awards Committee and Board members express our gratitude to everyone who contributed to and attended this year‘s event! 


Award Nominations

Individuals, firms, or agencies submitted nominations for themselves or for others for projects located in San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. The AEP Awards Jury reviewed the nominations and announced up to three finalists for consideration to receive each award, except the Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Profession award, in which only one recipient was selected. All winners were announced at the event. Finalists that are not selected as the winner received a Meritorious Award and were recognized for their achievement.

All submittals were required to include a qualification form for their appropriate awards category and a letter from the lead or approving agency providing concurrence for the category nomination.

Award Nomination Criteria

Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Profession

This award is given to an AEP member for unique, lifetime achievements and contributions in the environmental profession. The award can recognize lifetime achievements of excellence in the environmental profession and individual accomplishments in a specific environmental field or on an issue or topic. The San Diego Chapter Board decides the recipient of this award.

Outstanding Environmental Analysis Document- EIR or EIS

This award is given to the agency and/or firm that published an outstanding environmental analysis or assessment document in 2020 or 2021 including an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and joint CEQA/NEPA document involving an EIR and/or EIS. Supplemental, Subsequent, and Program versions of such documents may be considered appropriate for this award category. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the report/survey may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. All documents submitted must be accompanied with a letter from the lead agency providing concurrence for the category nomination. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents on the basis of the following criteria:

Clarity of Organization and Writing – Logical and comprehensive; readable by the public, decision-makers, and professionals alike; concise, direct, and to the point

Completeness – Adequate, reliable, and thorough presentation of documentation and data

Adequacy of Summary – Concise, complete and salient

Originality – Unique approach to analysis and data presentation and/or unique solution to environmental issues

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

Outstanding Environmental Analysis Document – ND, MND, or EA

This award is given to the agency and/or firm that published an outstanding environmental analysis or assessment document in 2020 or 2021 including a Negative Declaration (ND), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), Environmental Assessment (EA), and joint CEQA/NEPA documents involving an ND, MND and/or EA. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the report/survey may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. All documents submitted must be accompanied with a letter from the lead agency providing concurrence for the category nomination. Draft or Final documents will be accepted, as long as they have completed public review. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents on the basis of the following criteria:

Clarity of Organization and Writing – Logical and comprehensive; readable by the public, decision-makers, and professionals alike; concise, direct, and to the point         

Completeness – Adequate, reliable, and thorough presentation of documentation and data

Originality – Unique approach to analysis and data presentation and/or unique solution to environmental issues

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

Outstanding Planning Document- Plan, Policy, or Ordinance:

This award is given to an agency and/or firm that published an outstanding planning document that addresses environmental issues or gives special consideration to the environment in 2020 or 2021. Sample documents include but are not limited to General Plans, Transportation Plans, Development Plans, and Ordinances. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the document may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. All documents submitted must be accompanied by a letter for the regulatory agency providing concurrence. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents based on the basis of the following criteria:

Clarity of Organization and Writing – Logical and comprehensive; readable by the public, decision-makers, and professionals alike; concise, direct, and to the point         

Completeness – Adequate, reliable, and thorough presentation of documentation and regulations

Public Outreach – Efforts made to engage public in the creation of the document

Environmental Design – Design elements were included to avoid environmental impacts or enhance the environment

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

Outstanding Technical Report

This award is given to an agency and/or firm that published an outstanding technical report, or utilized a unique technical approach in 2020 or 2021. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the report/survey may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. Submitted reports may focus on the following issues, but are not limited to, Agriculture, Air Quality, Biology, Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Cultural Resources, Geology, Drainage and Hydrology, Hazardous Materials (PEA or Phase I), Noise, Storm Water, Traffic, and Visual Impact Analysis. Reports must be in a Final version to be considered for this award. A letter from the approving agency providing concurrence for the category nomination is required as part of the submission. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents on the basis of the following criteria:

Clarity of Organization and Writing – Logical and comprehensive            

Technical Difficulty – Analysis of complex issues and the ability to synthesize the information into the report or survey

Originality – Unique approach to analysis and data presentation and/or unique solution

Regulatory Adequacy – Comprehensive identification of and response to applicable regulations

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

Outstanding Public Involvement Award

This award is given to an agency and/or firm that displayed outstanding achievement in community outreach and engagement over the past three years (2017-2021) in San Diego or Imperial counties. This award recognizes the firm or agency that effectively engaged the public in the environmental planning process and created a greater awareness among the public. A letter from the approving agency providing concurrence for the category nomination is required as part of the submission. 

Emphasis is placed on the success of the outreach and the level of public participation during the process.

  1. Effectiveness in engaging the public in the environmental planning process – was there a high level of public participation during the process?
  2. Inclusiveness of public participation- was there a practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources to participate for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those that have physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups?
  3. Success of the outreach – was a greater awareness created among members of the public regarding the project, project components and environmental planning process?
  4. Success of diversity inclusion practices- was there greater participation among members of the public who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, regarding the project, project components and environmental planning process?

Outstanding Innovation in Resilient or Sustainable Planning and Design

This award is given to an agency and/or firm that published an outstanding document related to multidisciplinary innovation in green planning and design in 2020 or 2021. Appropriate documents for consideration in this award category may include, but are not limited to: Climate Action Plans, Sustainability Plans, Resiliency Plans, alternative energy programs, Resource Management Plans, environmentally-related Implementation Plans, Significance Thresholds Guidelines, and other non-impact analysis/assessment studies and reports. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the document may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange or Riverside counties. This award is for documents that have made an effort to create and implement sustainable planning and to improve the natural environment through green planning and design. This category does not include CEQA/NEPA documents or technical reports. A letter from the approving agency providing concurrence for the category nomination is required as part of the submission. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents on the basis of the following criteria:

Creativity and Innovation – Originality of methodology, format, or approach to an issue

Clarity – User friendly presentation of methodology and technical information, with direct and concise language appropriate for the audience

Implementation – Useful and applicable methodology and components for effective implementation

Integration – Comprehensive identification of and response to applicable regulations, zoning, plans, and other related policies

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

New this Year: Outstanding CEQA Streamlining

This award is given to an agency and/or firm that utilized a unique technical approach in 2020 or 2021 to streamline a project. The primary authors of the document must be based in San Diego County or Imperial counties; however, the subject area of the report/survey may include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, or Riverside counties. Submitted reports may focus on the following streamlining provisions, but are not limited to, Exemptions, Ministerial Exemptions, Program EIR Tiering, Specific Plan Tiering, and Addendums. The project must be approved with streamlined review to be considered for this award. The AEP Awards Jury evaluates these types of documents on the basis of the following criteria:

Clarity of Organization and Writing – Logical and comprehensive; readable by the public, decision-makers, and professionals alike; concise, direct, and to the point         

Technical Difficulty – Analysis of complex issues and the ability to synthesize the information into the report or survey

Originality – Unique approach to analysis and data presentation and/or unique solution

Regulatory Adequacy – Comprehensive identification of and response to applicable regulations

Ease of Use – Electronic document that is easy to navigate and accessible to the public

Environmental Photography Contest

Continuing our tradition in photographic excellence, the Awards Banquet again included an environmental photography contest. Submitted photos were displayed virtually during the week leading up to the Awards Banquet, where all members could vote on the photography. The winner‘s photograph will be featured in the next SDAEP Newsletter and on the SDAEP website, highlighting the photographer and his/her employer.

Congratulations to this year's winner Mark Dodero of RECON Environmental for his photo titled Electric  Sky - Tucson Mountains!


Student Scholarship Opportunities

San Diego AEP accepted applications for two different scholarship opportunities for students! See below details for both scholarships.

Student Scholarship

San Diego AEP supports undergraduate and graduate students who are actively engaged in the pursuit of an environmental career. For 2021, the monetary awards will be up to $2,000 per scholarship recipient. Scholarship recipient(s) will also receive a complimentary one-year AEP student membership which includes all the benefits of professional membership such as the quarterly newsletters, notification of networking events, reduced rate for Chapter luncheons, and reduced rates for the State Annual Conference and bi-annual CEQA workshops.

Diversity in the Environmental Profession

Last year, San Diego AEP introduced a new scholarship, the Diversity in the Environmental Profession 2021 Student Scholarship, focused on supporting high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing an education in environmentally related topics. This scholarship is a specific action San Diego AEP is taking to promote and encourage BIPOC voices within our profession. The monetary award will be up to $1,000 per recipient and be awarded at the virtual San Diego Chapter Annual Awards and Scholarship Benefit.


Sponsorships

Since the event is fully virtual again this year, practically all money raised from our sponsorships went DIRECTLY to student scholarships. Sponsors are able to impact the future of environmental planners in the region and support the growth of the profession!

This year we continued to maintain a sponsorship level to fund the newly added Diversity in the Environmental Professional Student Scholarship. These scholarships are focused on supporting high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing an education in environmentally related topics and will be given to a Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) recipient. This scholarship is a specific action San Diego AEP is taking for the second year to promote and encourage BIPOC voices within our profession. Annual sponsorship supports the SDAEP Scholarship program.

Huge thank you to our sponsors for supporting our up-and-coming environmental professionals!


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Congratulations to the 2021 Award Winners

Outstanding Environmental Analysis Document: ND, MND, or EA

County Animal Shelter MND - County of San Diego Department of General Services and RECON Environmental, Inc.

Outstanding Innovation and Green Planning & Design

This year we had a two-way tie!

San Diego International Airport - Sustainability Management Program San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

and 

2020 Sustainability Strategy – Building a Better Future - SDG&E

Outstanding Planning Document – Plan, Policy or Ordinance

Northside Specific Plan - City of Riverside and Rick Engineering

Outstanding Technical Report

Framework Rare Plant Management Plan - San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego Management and Monitoring Program, Conservation Biology Institute, and AECOM

Outstanding CEQA Streamlining

Otay River Estuary Restoration Project CEQA Equivalency Memorandum and Addendum - Port of San Diego and HDR Engineering Inc.

Outstanding Environmental Analysis Document: EIR or EIS

SDSU MissioFanita Ranch Revised EIR - City of Santee Development Services Department and Harris & Associatesn Valley Campus Master Plan EIR, Dudek and SDSU

Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Profession

Myra Herrmann, City of San Diego Planning Department

Congratulations to the 2021 Scholarship Winners

AEP Student Scholarships ($2,000 each)

Alma Rocha
Emma Chan
Austin Carter
Ashley Gonzalez 

Diversity in the Environmental Profession Scholarship ($1,000 each)

Natalie Twilegar
Joel Mwathi
Kenia Vanegas Coronel
Isabella Bowman


Thank you to our 2021 Sponsors

Diversity Scholarship
Chambers Group, Inc.
Controlled Thermal Resources
Dudek
Harris & Associates
Helix
RECON

Level 1
ESA

Level 2
LSA
Rick Engineering

Level 3
Ascent Environmental
ASM Affiliates

Level 4
AECOM
Linscott Law & Greenspan Engineers
Sophia Mitchell and Associates

Level 5
Grid Legal