photo of heron's head park in San Francisco


Environmental Design & Engineering

ESA is a 100% employee-owned consulting firm that integrates rigorous science with environmental planning and engineering. The firm’s interdisciplinary team of environmental scientists, planners, and designers partners with clients and communities on sustainable, resilient, and equitable projects that shape a better world.  ESA guides clients through policy development and project planning, to deliver enduring multi-objective solutions.

photo of Jeff Caton from ESA

“The region is such a beautiful place, with a long history of passionate people interested in preserving it despite the relentless development pressure. It’s also a hotbed of innovation, not just in software packaging but also in the environment space. Bay Area thought leaders are helping make nature-based solutions a big part of our response to climate change.”

Jeff Caton, ESA


Headquartered in San Francisco, ESA has over 20 offices across California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southeastern United States. ESA assists clients from the earliest phases of project conception, through the environmental review and regulatory approval process, and on to project implementation.

The firm, founded in 1969, includes scientists, planners, biologists, archaeologists, engineers, designers, and technical specialists. Clients range from government agencies to nonprofit organizations to private industry. ESA has long pioneered innovative approaches to climate change—working with communities to plan for and directly address impacts, and to protect people and resources from rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding and wildfire hazards, increased heat and drought, and more.


  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of Water Resources
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Caltrans
  • East Bay Regional Park District
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • San Franciso Public Utilities Commission
  • California State Coastal Conservancy
  • Port of San Francisco
  • Marin Audubon Society
  • Marin County
  • Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
  • Army Corps of Engineers

heron's head coarse gravel beach photo Heron’s Head Shoreline Resilience Project, San Francisco, CA
ESA’s restoration design was anchored around the creation of a 1,600-foot-long coarse gravel beach to resist wave-driven shoreline erosion and protect the park’s ecologically sensitive tidal marshes and ponds. Designed as a nature-based approach to shoreline protection, the dynamic site features nearshore oyster reefs, rocky headlands, wood habitat structures and native plants.

photo of tiscornia marsh in marin

Tiscornia Marsh Tidal Habitat Restoration, Marin County
This innovative project is using four nature-based sea level rise adaptation strategies to help protect one of Marin County’s most underserved and vulnerable areas. ESA developed the original restoration concept and advanced the project through planning, final design, and environmental permitting.  The project will preserve and expand one of the few remaining tidal marshes in San Rafael Bay, while simultaneously improving public access and reducing flood risk and sea level rise vulnerability for the San Rafael Canal neighborhood.  

hamilton wetlandsHamilton Wetlands Restoration Project, Novato, CA
ESA developed the conceptual design for the tidal and seasonal wetlands, provided geomorphic and coastal engineering analysis to support the overall design, and provided detailed design (plans and specifications) for the seasonal wetlands, levee lowering and the breach. Construction was completed in 2014, and since then ESA has been performing annual post-project performance monitoring to demonstrate the project meets regulatory and adaptive management goals. 

Lead Contacts

Firm Details

  • ESA
    575 Market Street, Suite 3700
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (415) 896-5900