L. Robert Ulibarri

AICP, Senior Planner

Mr. Robert “Bob” Ulibarri has over three decades of experience in policy planning, land use planning, energy resource planning, noise assessments, environmental contamination analysis, environmental impact assessments (CEQA/NEPA), and grant writing. He is both a professional planner and an environmental scientist. Having served in both the public and private sector, Mr. Ulibarri was responsible for preparing numerous development plans, master plans, general plan elements, and specific plans. Throughout his career, he has worked for more than 185 tribal governments, 12 counties, and a dozen cities, providing policy planning, wetland delineations, Phase I Reports, and the preparation of over 550 CEQA/NEPA documents to support municipal and tribal government development projects. As a seasoned Project Manager, Mr. Ulibarri has managed design and construction projects ranging from water and wastewater systems to veteran’s cemeteries. Mr. Ulibarri has particular expertise in working with Tribal governments and federal agencies.

Areas of Expertise

  • NEPA/CEQA Compliance
  • Transportation Planning
  • Project Management
  • General Plan Updates and Amendments
  • Phase 1 and II Environmental Site Assessment’s
  • Wetland Delineations
  • Air Quality Analysis
  • Visual Impact Analysis
  • Cultural Resource Planning


BS in Environmental Studies, Chadwick University, Birmingham, AL
BS in Sociology, California State University at Hayward, Hayward, CA

Registrations and Certifications

Certified Planner, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) #011828

Professional Memberships

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)


Recipient of the Conner Byestewa Award for California awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of outstanding service to the Tribal Communities, 2002

Recipient of the Environmental Achievement Award issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition for outstanding leadership in protecting the environment and public health, 2001

Employee of the Year, LACO Associates, 2012

Select Project Experience

NEPA Projects

Open Door Community Health Center EA – Eureka, California.

Open Door Community Health Centers (ODCHC) retained LACO to provide technical services in support of their construction of a healthcare facility in Eureka, California. ODCHC is the largest provider of primary medical and mental health care in the area. In order to meet grant funding deadlines, Mr. Ulibarri responded to ODCHC’s requests within a very short time frame and completed a NEPA document under the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) guidelines.

Open Door Community Health Center EA – Fortuna, California.

The Rural Development Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a guaranteed loan to fund the construction of a new consolidated health center called the Fortuna Community Health Center in Fortuna, CA. As a requirement of the loan, LACO was engaged by the Open Door Community Health Centers (ODCHC) to complete an environmental assessment and associated technical reports. The facility consists of a two-story center of approximately 31,000 square feet that will provide general medical care, dental care, family practice, immunizations, pediatrics, women’s health, prenatal and birth services and other associated services…

Tule River Justice Center EA – Tule River, California.

Mr. Ulibarri assisted the Tribe in the permitting and entitlements for their Justice Center including completion of an environmental assessment (EA), a biological assessment, CEQA compliance, and a cultural resource report. As the first Department of Justice (DOJ) Correctional Facility on Tribal Lands in California, the project was particularly challenging as the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, was not familiar with the California Indian experience.

Lake Prairie Powerline Extension EA – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared an environmental assessment under the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Bulletin 1794A-601 and in accordance with the Environmental Policies and Procedures, 7 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1794. The Lake Prairie Powerline Extension involves the extension of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) grid from the village of Weitchpec near State Route 169 up and along Lake Prairie Road. The power line extension is approximately 2 miles in length all which will be above ground involving the installation of approximately 100 power poles and will service a portion of the Yurok Indian Reservation in Humboldt County California that did not have the electrical and telephone services.

Tayler Creek Education Center Initial Study and EA – Lake Tahoe, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared an environmental assessment and CEQA Initial Study (IS) for the proposed replacement of the Taylor Creek Visitor’s Center at the El Dorado National Forest in South Lake Tahoe. NEPA activities included completion of a draft and final environmental assessment pursuant to Forest Service Regulations, Title 36 CFR, Part 220 and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) requirements, completion of specialist reports (visual analysis, noise assessment, air quality modeling and other associated activities.

CEQA Projects

Redwood Parks Eco-Lodge EIR – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri and the LACO project team prepared an environmental impact report (EIR) for the Redwood Parks Lodge Company (RPLC). RPLC sought to develop an Eco-Lodge with a variety of amenities intended to serve the traveling public, specifically those interested in visiting the neighboring Redwood State and National Parks (RSNP). The project consisted of a General Plan Amendment, Rezoning, Conditional Use Permit and other development approvals necessary to construct a tourism-centered lodging facility directed toward a broad mix of potential customers.

Open Door Community Health Center EA – Fortuna, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared a NEPA document for this USDA-RUS funded project. In addition to the environmental assessment, Mr. Ulibarri prepared a draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the CEQA Lead Agency, the City of Fortuna. The purpose of this Initial Study (IS) is to provide a basis for determining whether to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or a Negative Declaration. This IS is intended to satisfy the requirements of CEQA. In addition to federal permits, Mr. Ulibarri also assisted in obtaining a Conditional Use Permit, Grading and Encroachment Permits, and a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SPPP).

Project Management

Yurok Veteran’s Cemetery – Humboldt and Del Norte County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri oversaw the completion of a master plan, including the design and construction documents for the Yurok Veteran’s Cemetery on 20 acres on the Yurok Indian Reservation. Completed in fall 2014, the Yurok Veteran’s Cemetery is one of the first Tribal Veteran’s Administration (VA) funded cemetery in the Nation. LACO, in very close collaboration with the Yurok Tribe, prepared all of the design and construction documents in a record two months. The site was particularly challenging because the area is completely off-grid and electricity and water is not available.

This unique project blended VA requirements with Yurok cultural elements, both traditional and contemporary. The cemetery is open to all Indian Veteran’s in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and includes 500 burial sites, a solar-powered committal shelter, a maintenance building, avenue of flags, a memorial kiosk, and associated infrastructure. A few design elements reflect the Tribe’s culture, such as a roofline that mimics the roofline of a traditional Yurok redwood plank house, a native plant landscape incorporating the ethnobotany of the Tribe, and a rainwater catchment system.

Smith River Rancheria Phase II Wastewater Project – Smith River, California.

Mr. Ulibarri was Project Manager for the preliminary design of the Smith River Rancheria wastewater system including facilitation of public meetings with affected landowners and obtained the funding for the Smith River Rancheria’s wastewater collection and distribution system in part from EPA and HUD. As a result of his grant writing efforts, the Tribe was awarded nearly $1.6 million for this project. The system entailed the installation of approximately 3,400 feet of 3-inch force main, 5,200 feet of 6-inch gravity line, 2 lift stations, at least 40 lateral service lines, and associated appurtenances such as manholes, cleanouts, mechanical and electrical equipment, telemetry, generators, and pump station buildings. LACO provided permitting and planning services, design, and construction management of the project under Mr. Ulibarri’s direction.

Yurok Country Visitor’s Center – Klamath, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared an Environmental Assessment and was Project Manager for Architectural and Engineering Plans for this Federal Highways Administration and CDBG funded project. LACO also provided a geotechnical exploration, survey services, and prepared the construction documents, specifications, and provided bid assistance. The Scenic Byways Visitor’s Center project consists of a 3,750-square-foot facility and associated infrastructure. Working closely with the Tribe, LACO designed the Visitor Center to incorporate green building practices and renewable energy, minimizing the environmental footprint in keeping with traditional Yurok design and building practices. The facility will utilize solar, wind, geothermal heating, and sustainable materials.

City of Shasta Lake/Wintu Tribe Cultural Center Shasta Lake, California.

LACO has a unique team of professional consultants whose skills are specifically suited for the design and development of cultural centers, community centers, and museums. Mr. Ulibarri was responsible for client relations and project management for the Phase 2 tenant improvements for the Wintu Cultural Resource Center. This 6,000-square foot facility honors the cultural heritage of the Wintu people and continues a long history of cooperation and community prosperity that exists between the City of Shasta Lake and the Wintu Tribe by bringing community attention to their history and culture.

Policy Planning

Mendocino County UVAP and General Plan Assessment – Mendocino County, California.

LACO inventoried and prepared a strategy for fulfilling a variety of policies, action items, implementation measures, environmental mitigation measures, and related commitments identified in the 2009 Mendocino County General Plan (GP) and 2009 Ukiah Valley Area Plan (UVAP), and their associated Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) adopted pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Mr. Ulibarri was responsible for determining which implementation measures were mandated by legislation and/or CEQA mitigation measures. This process involved reviewing the applicable statute or law associated with each item and considering the timeline/level of effort associated with implementing each item and/or the CEQA implications of postponing their implementation.

City of Arcata Samoa Boulevard Specific Plan – Arcata, California.

Mr. Ulibarri was part of the LACO team that worked on the Specific Plan for the Samoa Boulevard Specific Plan for the City of Arcata. The Plan will guide the City of Arcata in its planning efforts to create a more inclusive and vibrant city within the Project Area. The purpose of the Plan is to develop a community vision for the City and create tools and strategies to implement the vision through recommendations for public and private development. The Plan will guide development in these areas by specifying policy and implementation guidelines for land uses, public facilities and private facilities required to support the land uses, phasing of development, conservation standards, development standards, design guidelines, interior circulation, infrastructure financing, and implementation measures.

Humboldt County Element of the General Plan, Energy Element – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri was on the project team lead by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority that prepared the technical report and Energy Element of the General Plan. This optional element presents policies and programs to address energy needs, use, and conservation. The element provides goals, policies, standards, and implementation measures that strive for sustainable renewable energy and self-sufficiency in Humboldt County.

Humboldt County Water Resources & Public Facilities Elements of the General Plan – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri and other staff prepared the Public Facilities and Infrastructure and Water Resources Elements for the Humboldt County General Plan Update. Both Elements included comprehensive technical reports that accessed the water, wastewater, stormwater, transportation, and fire & police service conditions of Humboldt County. Technical reports were prepared that lead to the eventual inclusion of public facilities and water resource elements into the County’s draft General Plan.

Humboldt County Housing Element, Humboldt County General Plan – Humboldt County, California.

  Mr. Ulibarri was part of the LACO project team that prepared a multi-family rezone analysis for the Housing Element of the General Plan. The LACO team prepared site-specific inventories to ensure that an adequate number of sites were zoned to allow multi-family housing at higher densities. Other factors that were considered include the availability of public services, such as water and sewer service, and the constraints that might make it difficult to construct multi-family housing, such as wetlands or steep slopes. The multi-family rezone program proposes to re-zone properties to increase the multi-family housing development potential in the county by approximately 980 units. Between 60 and 100 acres of land will likely be affected. Mr. Ulibarri designed the ArcGIS to Google Earth platform which assisted in the site-specific inventory process for multi-family rezone analysis.

Fieldbrook-Glendale Community Plan – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri was part of a three-member team that worked with Fieldbrook-Glendale Community Services District in the development of a community plan for these two unincorporated communities in Humboldt County. As the Humboldt County General Plan had the majority of the land zoned as “unclassified”, the two communities were unified in the completion of a land-use plan that would incorporate other land use and zoning designations used by Humboldt County that was appropriate for use within the two communities. Water, wastewater, roads and other infrastructure and other community plan factors were incorporated into the community plan after a series of public meetings.

Trust Conveyances

Berry Creek Rancheria – Berry Creek, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared an environmental assessment and a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for the trust conveyance of five parcels of property owned by the Berry Creek Rancheria of Tyme Maidu Indians. The 56.79 acres located near Oroville, CA is to be used for the eventual construction of 36-40 housing units and associated infrastructure. The purpose of the EA is to satisfy the environmental review process of NEPA as set forth under Indian Affairs NEPA Guidebook, 59 IAM 3-H.

Kashia Band of Pomo Indians – Sonoma County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared an environmental assessment under Indian Affairs NEPA Guidebook for the conveyance of a parcel of property approximating 480.0 acres from “fee” to “Federal trust” status for the Tribe. The subject property is located adjacent and contiguous to the 42-acre Stewart’s Point Rancheria that has been held in Federal Trust by the BIA for the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians since 1916. The proposed land uses for the parcels are resource preservation and restoration as well as open space.

Tule River Tribe Trust Conveyance – Tulare County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri and the LACO team prepared an environmental assessment as set forth under the Bureau of Indian Affairs Manual (59 IAM) for the proposed acquisition and conveyance of 878.55 acres of fee land to federal trust for the Tule River Tribe in Tulare County California. The environmental assessment also analyzed the proposed construction of 21 single-family housing units and associated access infrastructure on one-acre parcels and a wastewater treatment system funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The environmental assessment also contained specialist reports including the Tule River Tribe Wastewater Treatment Facility Feasibility Study, an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration under CEQA, and a Phase I Environmental Assessment pursuant to Interior’s Department Manual 602 and ASTM-1527-05 standards.

Transportation Projects

Yurok Trails and Waterways Master Plan – Klamath, California.

The Yurok Tribe retained LACO to prepare the Yurok Trails and Waterways Master Plan (YTWMP), which extended beyond the Yurok Indian Reservation to include 492,000 acres (770 square miles) that comprise the Yurok Tribe’s Ancestral Territory (YAT). As the principal planner, Mr. Ulibarri collaborated with the Transportation Department of the Yurok Tribe, the National Park Service, Caltrans, the Del Norte County Local Transportation Commission, Tribal members, and community members to develop the plan. The YTWMP is intended to guide decisions related to trails and waterways over a ten-year planning horizon. As a part of the YTWMP project, Mr. Ulibarri prepared design standards and guidelines for each type of trail based on the classification system ranging from primitive, equestrian, ADA accessible, to emergency evacuation trails.

Round Valley Indian Reservation Roads Inventory – Round Valley, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared the required documents under 25 CFR Part 170 to place six roads on the national Indian Reservation Roads inventory. Mr. Ulibarri completed route narratives, strip maps and all other inventory forms for the Tribal Roads Department.

Klamath Boulevard Gateway Project – Klamath, California.

The Yurok Tribe retained LACO to prepare conceptual plans, an opportunities and constraints report, engineering plans, specifications and estimates for gateway improvements to Klamath Boulevard in the town of Klamath, California. The Klamath Boulevard Gateway enhancements and accompanying design elements are intended to create a sense of place and indicate the entrance into a unique district that is reflective of the cultural and ethnic diversity found in the area. The Klamath community is diverse because of the strong elements of Yurok culture. The Gateway and associated urban design elements reflect the culture of the Yurok Tribe.  Mr. Ulibarri assisted in the conceptual design of the project and facilitated the constraints/opportunity analysis for the project.

Feasibility Studies

Karuk Tribe RV Park Feasibility Study – Happy Camp, California.

Mr. Ulibarri prepared a Preliminary Feasibility Analysis prepared for the Karuk Tribe, and is focused on a proposed visitor-serving recreational vehicle (RV) park on twenty-one parcels comprising approximately 5.59 acres, located in the unincorporated town of Happy Camp, in Siskiyou County, California. Mr. Ulibarri prepared a Market Assessment which includes a description of the existing facility, local and regional markets, potential competition, pro formal financial statements, and a summary analysis of the financial statements.

Blue Lake Rancheria RV Park Feasibility Study – Blue Lake, California.

The Tribe has retained LACO Associates (LACO) to provide an assessment of the feasibility of an RV park. Mr. Ulibarri prepared a feasibility study which anticipated market and demands. The final report provided an assessment of the potential financial feasibility of the proposed RV park facility. Additionally, Mr. Ulibarri analyzed the known market conditions in order to identify the type and quantity of RV spaces, a description of the existing facility, local and regional markets, and potential competition; pro forma financial statements; and a summary analysis of the financial statements.

Specialist Reports

Cottontail, Guffy, Heaton Flats and Oak Plantation Visual and Air Quality Assessments – Arcadia, California.

The Angeles National Forest was planning and coordinating future plantation maintenance activities including the mortality removal, thinning, pruning, hand clearing (release), prescribe fire burning, planting, and chipping of selected oaks and conifers within the stands, in turn promoting an environment that is more resistant to the effects of wildfire. Mr. Ulibarri prepared reports on the direct and indirect and cumulative air quality impacts for the proposed activities. In addition, Mr. Ulibarri prepared visual impact assessments for the post direct, indirect, and cumulative visual and scenic impacts that would be associated with maintenance activities including photo simulation analysis.

Redwood Parks Lodge Wetlands Delineation – Orick, California.

As a Certified Wetlands Delineator, Mr. Ulibarri in association with LACO’s biologist prepared a wetlands report for Green Diamond Resource Company near the town of Orick, California. Wetlands were identified on this 102-acre site was characterized using procedures outlined in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) Wetland Delineation Manual (Environmental Laboratory 1987) as supplemented by the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Western Mountains, Valleys and Coast Region (Version 2). The wetlands report was site confirmed and approved by the COE.

Green Diamond Wetlands Surveys – Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri and LACO’s biologist completed various wetland delineation reports for the Green Diamond Resource Company. The wetland delineations determined the extent of jurisdictional wetlands, pursuant to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (COE) wetland definition (3-parameter approach) for a non-coastal property. The wetland delineation procedures were completed pursuant to the COE 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. Wetland delineation reports were prepared for properties owned by Green Diamond and were certified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE).

Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

Smith River Alliance – Del Norte County, California.

LACO Associates under the direction of Mr. Ulibarri performed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA) on 17 parcels of property located in Del Norte County, California. The parcels aggregate to approximately 5,356.6 acres. The Phase I ESA was completed in accordance with the scope and limitations contained in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPAs) Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) regulations (40 CFR 312) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1527-15. The purpose of the Phase 1 ESA was for the transfer of ownership of the property from the Smith River Alliance to the U.S. Forest Service.

Humboldt County On-Call Services – Humboldt County, California.

As a recognized Environmental Professional, Mr. Ulibarri, prepared and oversaw the preparation of seven Phase I Environmental Site Assessments on property throughout Humboldt County. The Phase I reports were done in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1527-15.

Former Louisiana Pacific Pulp Mill, Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, Humboldt County, California.

Mr. Ulibarri was part of a three-member LACO that conducted an environmental assessment of approximately 71.8 acres of the property to determine the extent of potential contamination. Based on the findings of the Phase 1 ESA, LACO recommended that a limited scope Phase II ESA be conducted. As a requirement of a Phase II ESA is a Sampling Analysis Plan (SAP). As part of the Phase II ESA, LACO prepared a SAP which was approved by the Us EPA. The Phase II ESA was prepared in accordance with ASTM Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments. Based on the results of Phase I and II ESAs which revealed a risk of release into Humboldt Bay, EPA initiated an emergency response and approximately 2.7 million gallons of caustic liquors and chemicals at the run-down Samoa pulp mill were removed from the site to approved facilities.

Environmental Sampling Plans

Smith River Rancheria QAPP – Smith River, California.

Mr. Ulibarri has prepared numerous Quality Assurance Program Plans, Sampling Analysis Plans, and Field Sampling Plans including a recent Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) for the Smith River Rancheria. The QAPP was prepared for the Smith River Rancheria, Natural Resources Department for water quality assessment and monitoring activities on or near the Smith River Rancheria in northern California. The Smith River Rancheria will ultimately be developing water quality standards to be applied to waters entering the Rancheria. The QAPP is consistent with guidelines set forth in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)’s Final Guidance on Awards of Grants to Indian Tribes Under Section 106 of the Clean Water Act (USEPA 2007) (Final Guidance), Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans, USEPA QA/R-5 (USEPA, 2006) and Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans, USEPA QA/G-5 (USEPA, 2002). The QAPP was approved by U.S. EPA Region 9.

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