Dave Halsing

Position: Executive Project Manager, South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSP)
July 2020

Dave Halsing has been the Executive Project Manager of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSP) since early 2019.  He is not at all new to the project, however, having worked on it since 2012 as a consultant with URS and Environmental Science Associates (ESA).  In 2017 and 2018, Dave served as an unofficial deputy to the prior Executive PM, John Bourgeois, and characterizes his current role as “standing on the shoulders of giants”.

While at ESA and URS/AECOM, Dave worked on or managed environmental and infrastructure restoration, enhancement, and protection projects in and around San Francisco Bay. For the SBSP Project, he led its Phase 2 alternatives development, design, NEPA/CEQA documents, and permitting. Other relevant project work has included: the McInnis Marsh Restoration Project for Marin County Parks; the SF Bay Creosote Removal and Herring Habitat Restoration Project and the Terminal Four Wharf, Warehouse, and Piling Removal Project for the State Coastal Conservancy; the Pond A18 South Gate Levee Repair Project for the City of San Jose; and various other projects involving levees, roads, bridges, and trails along the margins of the Bay.

Prior to his consulting career, Dave was a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. His work there focused on integrating economics, spatial data, and decision making into the natural and physical sciences that were the USGS’ primary focus. He was fortunate enough to get paid to do research and modeling in the Lake Tahoe basin and in the then newly-established Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul in Peru.

Dave is a Bay Area native and a 4th generation San Franciscan. After what he called “a misspent youth and a few false-starts”, including nascent careers in radiologic technology and the hospitality industry, Dave discovered a latent passion for the outdoors and for its conservation and management in his mid 20’s. He returned to school to pursue his interest in linking human communities with the natural environment. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology/Environmental Science from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. His studies led him directly into his work at the USGS and then on to consulting.

When asked what makes running an environmental project like the SBSP Restoration Project interesting and rewarding, Dave said for him it is “finding traction at the intersection of science, policy, efficient management of people and budgets, and problem-solving to address the various physical and organizational constraints.”  An upside of facing these challenges he adds is “the talented, passionate, and engaging people on the Project Management Team along with other collaborators involved in studying, modeling, engineering, and building out this project. There is a truly remarkable community of tidal wetland restoration and science in the Bay Area, and it is a privilege to spend parts of every day working as part of that community.”

Dave now lives in the East Bay with his wife Jennifer and her cat, Squirrel. Jen has a pet who loves her; Dave has an extra roommate that doesn’t like him very much. “With plenty of family and most of a lifetime of friends in the area, there are plenty of diversions locally,” he said, “but Sierra Nevada granite, coastal redwoods, and coastal bluffs” seem to hold the greatest allure.