About ICF
Chris Earle, Ph.D.
Expert, Endangered Species
Chris specializes in Endangered Species Act compliance and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem evaluation and restoration, with nearly three decades of professional experience.

Chris is an ecologist specializing in Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem evaluation and restoration. Following the completion of his M.S. degree in geosciences and Ph.D. in forest ecology, he entered the field of private consulting. Chris helped develop several of the earliest habitat conservation plans ever prepared for forest management. His areas of expertise subsequently expanded to cover salmon, their habitat, and a host of human activities that affect salmon. To date, he has worked with hundreds of special-status species found across the western United States.

Chris has nearly three decades of professional experience in analyses of significant project effects on threatened and endangered species. He designs and implements environmental monitoring programs, preparing and negotiating an array of federal and state environmental permits. He also manages watershed-level studies of management impacts to fish, wildlife, and other resources, and develops programmatic solutions to minimize such impacts.

Chris has provided environmental permitting support for a range of projects and programs, including highway and rail transportation, pipelines, power lines, fiber optic systems, water management and distribution systems, port developments, renewable energy (solar, wind, and wave), aquaculture, and forest resources. He has helped develop regulatory program elements such as regional general permits and critical areas ordinances. Chris has also prepared or coordinated biological analyses of numerous environmental impact statements in accordance with federal, California, and Washington statutes.

Chris has authored peer-reviewed publications on the management and assessment of biological resources and has co-authored books and guidance manuals on topics such as the use of engineered logjams to enhance salmon habitat and the evaluation of pile-driving impacts on salmonid fish. He has served as an expert witness in cases involving wildfire and water resources management. Chris specializes in areas such as riparian habitats, salmonid habitats in marine and freshwater systems, shellfish aquaculture, wildlife bioacoustics, the biology of conifers, and ESA regulatory issues. His geographic expertise covers biological resources primarily in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California.

  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • M.S., University of Arizona
  • B.A., Whitman College
  • Earle, C.J. (1997 to 2020). The Gymnosperm Database.
  • (2015). National Large Wood Manual: Assessment, Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Large Wood in Fluvial Ecosystems: Restoring Process, Function, and Structure. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 628 pages + Appendix. [Co-author]
  • Nelson, G., C. J. Earle, and R. Spellenberg. (2014). Trees of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691145914.
  • Spellenberg, R., C. J. Earle, and G. Nelson. (2014). Trees of Western North America. Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691145808.
  • Hanson, D. A., E. M. Britney, C. J. Earle, and T. G. Stewart. (2013). Adapting Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) to assess environmental loss and compensatory restoration following severe forest fires. Forest Ecology and Management. 294:166–177.
  • Oestman, R. and C. J. Earle. (2012). Effects of pile-driving noise on Oncorhynchus mykiss (steelhead trout). Pp. 263-265 in A. Hawkins (ed.), The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life. Springer-Verlag.