District 6 Environmental Planning

The Central Region Environmental Division serves the environmental needs of the California Central Valley and Central Coast. It consists of a multi-disciplinary team of over 168 individuals with specialties in a wide range of areas such as, archaeological resources, architectural history, biology, air, noise and water quality, hazardous materials testing, paleontology and graphic design. The Division administers Caltran's responsibilities under federal and state law in response to the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in 1969, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in 1973. In response to the passage of a host of environmentally related laws and regulations and heightened public support for the environment, these responsibilities have grown to become a substantive and inseparable part of Caltrans' planning, development, construction, operation and maintenance efforts.

"We continue to smooth the path for all of Caltrans in the work we do with resource agencies. The communication and cooperation we are developing with agencies such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are benefiting not only the Central Region, but every part of this state as well."

Mission and Goals Statement

The Central Region Environmental Division is a critical functional unit, which must have a clear vision to be successful. Our primary vision, which we share with all of the District Offices, is to ensure the timely delivery of environmentally sound projects.

Central Region Environmental is responsible for state highway projects in 20 counties in the Central Valley, which are engaged in planning, design, supervision and management of California's key transportation infrastructure.

The Central Region counties are broken down by District as follows:

  • District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
  • District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
  • District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties

Contact Information:

Jennifer Taylor - (Acting) Division Chief, Central Region Environmental - (559) 445-6455

Diana Vargas - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6429

  • Environmental Support Services Branch, Budget, Supplies, Training, Student Assistant Program

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Philip Vallejo - Office Chief - Division Management North - District 10 - Stockton (209) 942-6021 - Fresno (559) 445-5315


Jennifer Lugo - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6172

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


David Ewing - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6360

  • Document Support Services, Graphic Design Services, Public Meetings/ Public Hearings

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Jeanne Binning - Senior Specialist - (559) 445-5793

  • Cultural Resource Services

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


John Thomas - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6461

  • Southern San Joaquin Valley Cultural Resource Branch 1

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Aubrie Morlet - Branch Chief 

  • Southern San Joaquin Valley Cultural Resource Branch 2

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Scott Guidi - Branch Chief (Acting) - (209) 990-5719 

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Jaycee Azevedo - Branch Chief - (209) 941-1919

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Ben Broyles - Branch Chief - (209) 942-6157

  • Cultural Resources

District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Larry Bonner - (Acting) Office Chief - Division Management Biology - Districts 5, 6 and 10 - (559) 445-6469


Karen Holmes - Branch Chief - (805) 542-4794

  • Permitting and Mitigation

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Jim Henke, Jr - Branch Chief - (209) 932-2337

  • Biology

District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Dena Gonzalez - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6406

  • Biology

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Kari Daniska - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6456

  • Biology

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Kristen Merriman - Senior Specialist - (559) 445-6462

District 10 - Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


David Johnson - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6462

  • Biology

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties


Morgan Robertson - Branch Chief - (805) 549-3337

  • Biology

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Jennifer Moonjian - Senior Specialist - (805) 542-4763

  • Mitigation Specialist

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Juergen Vespermann - (Acting) Office Chief - Division Management South - District 6 - (559) 445-6455


Haesun (Sonny) Lim - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6147

  • Environmental Workload & Contracts Management Branch, Task Management, Data Management

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Richard Putler - Branch Chief - (559) 445-5286

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties


Som Phongsavanh - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6447

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties


Ken Romero - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6417

  • Environmental Engineering, Air Quality, Noise Studies

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Juergen Vespermann - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6369

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties


Mazin Al Ali - Branch Chief - (559) 243-8007

  • NPDES/Stormwater Manager

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties
District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


Michael Leongson - Branch Chief - (559) 445-6282

  • Hazardous Waste and Paleontology

District 6 - Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties
District 10 - Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties


John Luchetta - Office Chief - Division Management Coast - District 5 - (805) 549-3175


Lara Bertaina - Branch Chief - (805) 542-4610

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Karl Mikel - Branch Chief - (805) 542-4735

  • Paleontology, Water Quality, and Hazardous Waste

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Krista Kiaha - Branch Chief - (805) 549-3669

  • Cultural Resources

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Matt Fowler - Branch Chief - (805) 542-4603

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Mitch Dallas - Senior Specialist - (805) 542-4662

  • Coastal Commission Specialist

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties


Ed Schefter - Specialist - (805) 549-3653

  • GIS

All Counties in Central Region - District 5, District 6, and District 10


Jason Wilkinson - Branch Chief - (805) 542-4663

  • Large and Minor Projects

District 5 - Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties



Environmental Planners

Environmental Planners are part of an interdisciplinary team, who integrate social, economic, and environmental elements of systems and project planning into statewide and interregional facilities planning and development. They develop, evaluate, and mitigate a wide variety of environmental planning and project activities.

The Environmental Planner takes an active role in transportation systems planning and project development. A major responsibility of the Environmental Planner includes the preparation of an environmental analysis of proposed projects and design alternatives, as well as identifying environmental impacts of transportation systems and corridors. Their critical responsibility is to work with the project design engineer to avoid, minimize, or mitigate project impacts. A Planner must prepare and process environmental documents for transportation systems projects in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal laws regulations and policies. The Environmental Planner must also review the environmental documents of local, state and federal agencies and prepare inventories and analyses of existing and future environmental conditions.

Typically, the Environmental Planner will:

  • Prepare and process environmental documents mandated by federal and state laws and regulations and, as a team member must assess the consequences to the environment of transportation alternatives and formulate environmental mitigation measures for these alternatives.
  • Perform research within area of expertise, monitor and evaluate research findings performed by out-service personnel and contract consultants.
  • Participate as a departmental representative on environmental issues at public or private meetings and/or hearings and legislative hearing.

NEPA Delegation

What are NEPA and CEQA?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) defines procedures for environmental review and impact analysis of projects that need approval by federal agencies. The purpose of NEPA is to ensure that environmental factors are weighted equally when compared to other factors in the decision making process. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does the same for projects that need approval by state or local agencies. Both laws require that the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project be assessed, quantified, disclosed, minimized, eliminated and/or mitigated whenever possible.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies pursuant to 40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) 1500, to consider potential environmental effects of their programs by preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

NEPA's purpose is to:

  • Declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and the environment
  • Promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man
  • Enrich the understanding of ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation
  • Establish a Council on Environmental Quality

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Public Resources Code (PCR) Section 21000, requires local and state governments to consider the potential environmental effects of a project before a decision whether to approve a project or not.

CEQA's purpose is to:

  • Disclose the potential impacts of a project to government decision makers and the public about the potential significant environmental effects of proposed activities
  • Suggest methods to minimize those impacts to the environment
  • Identify alternatives to the project
  • Enhance Public Participation