Shelley Shepherd – Director / Principal Environmental Planner

Shelley Shepherd

Shelley has significant experience in environmental planning, gained from working within State and Local Government and the private sector. She is a strong advocate for the ability of the land use planning system to deliver innovative development outcomes and liveable, sustainable communities which respond to environmental, social and climatic conditions.

Shelley has been working with Government at many levels to raise awareness of how to better integrate environmental issues into planning, as she was the lead consultant in the preparation of Better Urban Water Management (WAPC, 2008). Shelley is also the project manager for New WAter Ways – a government funded program with the aim of building the water sensitive urban design capacity of Government and industry to improve the delivery of urban water management and water sensitive cities.

Shelley has developed sustainability policy and strategies for many WA local governments and is well known for being an experienced facilitator and for her ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of parties including all levels of government and industry.

Shelley partnered with Helen to become Co-Director of Essential Environmental in 2010.

Helen Brookes – Director / Principal Hydrologist

Helen Brookes

Helen has over 15 years’ experience in the environment and urban water sector having worked both as a regulator and consultant in Australia and the UK. Helen partnered with Shelley to become Co-Director of Essential Environmental in 2010.

Helen has key technical experience in hydrologic and hydraulic modelling and conceptual design of drainage and wastewater networks, receiving water quality modelling, statistical analysis and assessment of future risk. She also has extensive project and team management experience having been responsible for a large number of significant multi-disciplinary wastewater and drainage engineering projects involving the management of a team of over 20 scientists, engineers, technicians and drafters.

Helen is the principal author for all of the Department of Water’s Drainage and Water Management Plans to date, guiding sustainable development in; Murray, Jandakot, Byford and the Swan urban Growth Corridor.

Dr Garry Middle – Director

Garry Middle

Dr Garry Middle is an adjunct senior research fellow at Curtin University, and is the Director of an independent training and research company VisionEnvironment. Garry has over 30 years’ experience in environmental planning, including environmental impact assessment, coastal planning and open space planning. Garry is a long-term member of the Planning Institute of Australia, and is currently on PIA’s National Education Committee and the WA State Division Committee. Garry is also a long-term member of the International Association of Impact Assessment and has worked in the area of environmental impact assessment as a regulator, practitioner and academic. He was the Appeals Convener for two years.

His expertise in coastal planning was recognised by his appointment in 2011 to the Western Australian Planning Commission and as the coastal planning and management expert. In that role, Garry has been active in prompting the implementation of key elements of State Planning Policy (SPP) 2.6, in particular, the need to carry out coastal hazard risk assessments and subsequent adaptation planning and management. Garry was also the organiser/convener of the 2014 National Coast to Coast Conference.

In his capacity as Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Sport and Recreation Research, Curtin University, Garry has been the principle researcher on a number of studies, including:

  • Emerging constraints on the supply of active open space in Perth’s outer Metropolitan Suburbs;
  • A study on the coastal values and character of coastal communities;
  • Impacts of decreasing backyard sizes in Perth greenfield developments;
  • The socio-economic benefits of s long distance urban coastal trail from Dawesville to Two Rocks; and
  • Understanding and comparing different public land use values: Application for trails decision making in Western Australia.

Garry is also chair of Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust, an independent Trust fund dedicated to funding research and on-ground works in the Great Victoria Desert.

Halinka Lamparski – Senior Environmental Engineer

Halinka Lamparski

Halinka has 12 years’ experience working as an Environmental Engineer, primarily specialising in urban water monitoring and management, and catchment management. Halinka has extensive experience in developing and undertaking surface water and groundwater monitoring programs and assessment of water quality and hydrology on the Swan Coastal Plain. She has assessed design options for catchment water quality improvement using desktop studies, monitoring programs, modelling tools, and stakeholder consultation. She has also written Local Water Management Strategies, Urban Water Management Plans, Foreshore Management Plans, and Land Capability Assessments for land developers and local government, as well as guidelines on planning approvals required for non-drinking water use. Halinka has undertaken a number of environmental investigations and prepared environmental planning and strategy reports in both urban and regional areas, including the Pilbara region, to inform planning strategies and future development in regional areas.

She has also spent ten months as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AusAID) in Beijing China, and volunteered for WWF-India investigating sedimentation, flooding and water scarcity in Dudwha Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh.

She is a member of the City of Vincent’s Environmental Advisory Group and the WA WaterAid committee.

Ross Perrigo – Senior Engineer


Ross has over 10 years’ experience working as an Environmental Engineer, primarily specialising in urban water management and hydrology. Ross has consulted on projects in the urban development, infrastructure and resource industries across Western Australia including in the Metropolitan Area, Peel, South West, Great Southern, Mid-West and Pilbara regions. Ross is also a co-author of Chapter 9 (Structural Controls) of the Department of Water’s Stormwater Management Manual.

As well as having extensive experience in preparing urban water management documents, including conceptual drainage design and site specific water management strategies (stormwater and groundwater modelling), Ross has expertise in various hydrological and hydraulic models, and GIS analysis.  He has undertaken numerous water balance investigations and floodplain modelling using MIKE FLOOD, TUFLOW, XP-STORM and HEC-RAS models.

Ross also has significant experience in geomorphological investigations of river systems to determine historical changes to sediment transport and channel form.

He is also a self-admitted instagram addict, lover of travel and quiz night master extraordinaire.

Alex Towler – Environmental Engineer


Alex has 3 years’ experience working as an Environmental Engineer at Urbaqua preparing urban water management documents in accordance with Western Australia’s Better Urban Water Management guidelines to facilitate residential, commercial, and industrial development. Alex has also gained extensive experience in developing and undertaking surface and groundwater monitoring programs, including district scale groundwater monitoring for post-development impact assessments.

Alex studied a Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology and Zoology) before completing a Master of Professional Engineering (Environmental) at the University of Western Australia in 2016. Alex’s Thesis explored the suitability of benthic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of ecological health in the naturally occurring pools of the Canning River.

Alex is a member of the WA WaterAid committee. When not looking after his pet South-Western Carpet Python he is fronting an alt-rock band playing at Perth’s local music venues.

Julianne Olson – Office Manager


Julianne has over 9 years’ experience working in the development industry with the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), particularly in event management, communications, and marketing.


Yingyuan Shi – Graduate Environmental Scientist


Yingying attained her Doctoral degree from Wuhan University, majoring in Environmental Sciences. Her research explored the water resource management in the Three Gorges Reservoir focusing on the modelling and controlling of non-point source pollution and flooding.

Yingying is a Graduate Environmental Scientist at Urbaqua, specialising in strategic environmental and hydrologic assessment and policy development.

During her time at Urbaqua, Yingying has gained experience in urban water management, preparing documents in accordance with Western Australia’s Better Urban Water Management guidelines to facilitate residential, commercial, and industrial development.

5 responses to “Staff

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