Protecting & Enhancing America’s Natural Spaces

Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition

Arizona Conservation Corps

Verde Valley, Arizona

AZCC’s work with the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition is a watershed scale restoration effort encompassing three different federal agencies, local businesses, nonprofits, and hundreds of private landowners.

The AZCC operated three eight-person crews during 2013, removing four target invasive species to restore the riparian ecosystem and allow native species to re-establish. Our crews used chainsaws, hand tools, and herbicide to remove tamarisk, Russian olive, giant reed, and tree of heaven. Their season kicked off with a two-week training program, instructing Corpsmembers in safe and efficient chainsaw use, Wilderness First Aid, the habitat they were working to restore, and the community of Cottonwood they would be living in for their terms. They were joined by the Vetraplex, a local veterans’ employment program, for the training. VWRC has been a pioneer in the use of tablets for data tracking and management, yielding high quality, accurate data about the crews’ work to ensure the effectiveness of our strategies and inform future treatments. During the off-season, AZCC interns surveyed and mapped project locations for the Fall 2013/Spring 2014 treatment season.

As a result of their time working on VWRC projects, graduates from our program are experts in restoration skills ranging from chainsaw maintenance to plant identification and data collection. In addition to the hard, on-the-ground skills, our members attended presentations and conferences to ensure they have an excellent understanding of riparian restoration issues. After living and working together for a season of demanding, gritty work, they’ve also become skilled communicators, problem solvers, and peer leaders. Since graduating, members have gone on to lead crews, work at other Corps programs, teach English abroad, and film documentaries, while others have continued their efforts to restore the Verde river.

The partnership has had widespread community support and engagement, hosting evening social events, marching in holiday parades, and fielding a high-profile presence in local volunteer events across the watershed.

Our survey crew continues their work today, mapping infestations in locations that have recently joined VWRC and more work is scheduled for the treatment season this upcoming fall.

 

Veterans Fire Corps

Arizona Conservation Corps

Payson, Arizona

The Southwest Conservation Corps and the United States Forest Service’s Tonto National Forest collaborated in the winter and spring of 2014 to provide an intensive and immersive on the job training experience for recent era veterans pursuing careers in wildland fire-fighting and public lands management.

Crew 196 took part in three weeks of orientation and training in Arizona and Colorado in which all members received basic medical, Fire Fighter Type II and S212 certifications. Members then took part in 10 weeks of project work performing critical fuels reduction projects aimed at protecting the wildland urban interface communities of Pine, Strawberry, Payson, and Starr Valley Arizona, all of which have been the scene of devastating wildfires in years past. Veteran Fire Corps crew members will have performed approximately 3000 hours of project work on national forest and surrounding ranch land and subdivisions at the conclusion of the season.

Five of the eight members of the crew successfully acquired federal wildland fire fighting jobs with the United States Forest Service and will begin these positions in mid-April. Two members will be continuing their national service in the summer of 2014 on Arizona Conservation Corps Veterans Fire Corps crew on the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.

 

Gila Watershed Restoration Crew

Arizona Conservation Corps

Safford, AZ

This project is a partnership between several agencies that is designed to connect local land holders in the Gila Valley to watershed restoration efforts. The SCC crew manages a greenhouse where they establish native vegetation that will be planted on the Gila River. The crew has been trained in chainsaw operation and they are able to cut invasive species, such as Tamarisk, and then plant native trees in their stead. The crew is developing a coppice field where they can take cuttings on-site and will no longer have to remove natives from the banks of the Gila to be relocated. The SCC crew is learning about what it takes to have a healthy riparian ecosystem which is reinforced by a three credit field biology course.

 

Veterans Fire Corps

California Conservation Corps

California

At a California Conservation Corps center in the Sierra foothills, 50 military veterans were put through their paces this week, mastering a 40-hour wildland fire training led by members of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

After completing the course, the veterans became part of the nationwide Veterans Green Corps, that also includes veterans in the Student Conservation Association and the Southwest Conservation Corps. Many Corps programs have also developed Veterans Conservation Corps programs with other partners including Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (Colorado), Montana Conservation Corps, Maine Conservation Corps, Nevada Conservation Corps, Washington Conservation Corps, Utah Conservation Corps and Western Colorado Conservation Corps. These programs are all part of the new 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

For CCC Corpsmembers, the world-class fire training involved Forest Service instructors from around the country and included fireline construction, tool use, hose lay, team-building and more. At its conclusion, many of the veterans were offered firefighting jobs by the USFS and the BLM. Those jobs could lead to entry into a Forest Service apprenticeship program.

Dan Cottrell, the U.S. Forest Service’s incident commander for the veterans training, called it “a great example of collaboration between the CCC and the USFS, to hire, train and place veterans into careers in fire management.”

In the CCC, the veterans — up to age 29 — will be split up onto four crews throughout the state. They’ll work on USFS lands in the Auburn, Tahoe, San Bernardino and San Diego areas, honing their skills in fuel reduction work.

“We’re developing the next generation of firefighters,” says the Juan Mercado, the CCC’s incident commander. “The veterans are getting job skills that will help them as future employees — it’s a great stepping-stone.”

The CCC/USFS program, now in its third year, offers recently returned veterans a chance to transition to civilian employment in a field that captures some of the intensity and structure of their military experience.

Bradley Fry, 27, was a sergeant and paratrooper in the Army for more than five years, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I like how hard it is,” he says. “I like to push myself beyond what I’m capable of, so I thought this would be an awesome career field. And I really like the camaraderie, working as a team and a crew.”

Another vet, Christopher Varela, 23, previously served in the Army National Guard.

“Firefighting is a really noble profession, much like the military, very hard — I enjoy the physicality of it,” he says. “It’s something I’d like to do, to help out, something that only a few can really do.”

As California enters the 2014 fire season in the third year of a drought, the newly minted firefighters are sure to play an important role while converting their military skills into a vital new occupation.

 

Corps Partnerships for the National Conservation Lands

California Conservation Corps

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Sledge hammers, shovels, crow bars and pure muscle were the tools used by 21 community volunteers and 13 members of a Veterans Conservation Corps—as they worked side-by-side on a trail restoration project in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, just outside Palm Springs, CA.

Edison International made a grant of $35,000 to the Conservation Lands Foundation to support the veterans crew for a month. The crew was made up of all post-9/11 military veterans as part of the California Conservation Corps. Support from Edison International enabled them to work in the monument and wilderness to help stop erosion, clear brush and repair trail berms that were washed out last August by a flood. The project is one focus of the Conservation Lands Foundation’s Restoration Program, which builds partnerships between BLM, conservation corps, Friends’ group volunteers and corporate donors to improve and restore the National Conservation Lands throughout the West.

 

Watershed Stewards Program

California Conservation Corps

California (state-wide)

The Watershed Stewards Program’s (WSP) mission is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous watersheds for future generations by linking education with high quality scientific practices. A program of the California Conservation Corps, WSP is one of the most productive programs for future employment in natural resources. ACCOMPLISHMENTS (1994-2013) Inventoried over 34,504 miles through stream, riparian and upslope surveys; Generated over 2,620 scientific reports and databases

• Developed over 1,600 watershed restoration projects

• Instructed over 40,573 students on salmon lifecycles and watershed processes

• Provided outreach to over 237,174 students and community members

• Engaged more than 16,995 community volunteers in hands-on restoration projects

WSP was founded in 1994 in partnership with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and AmeriCorps. The program partners with various federal, state, county, tribal, and non-profit organizations who work together to revitalize watersheds inhabited by endangered and threatened anadromous fish species throughout California.

WSP members are recruited annually from across the country and must meet the minimum requirements of the program to be considered for placement. Minimum requirements include being 18 – 29 years old and having either earned a degree in a natural resource related field or having six months relevant field experience. WSP is a highly competitive program. Last year, nearly 400 applicants were screened for 44 member positions. WSP’s recruitment and placement process enables its partners to work with highly qualified potential hires without the long-term hire commitment.

The WSP uses recovery actions outlined by State/Federal recovery plans to address watershed and fish habitat restoration needs through the implementation of a four-part strategy:

• Watershed Protection and Recovery

• Watershed Education

• Community Outreach

• Professional Development (of future natural resource professionals)

Each of WSP’s placement sites engages members in the following service activities (the percentage indicates the average amount of time members spend in each activity throughout their 1800 hour/11 month term of service):

Watershed Protection and Recovery (60%): Working cooperatively with natural resource agencies, landowners, and community-based organizations, the WSP members survey streams and watersheds using State and Federal protocols. These scientifically-based surveys assess current fish populations, stream flows, water temperatures, habitat conditions, and threats such as sediment and other pollutants. Members analyze data and generate reports for habitat restoration. They assist in the coordination and implementation of restoration work plans which include, but are not limited to: reducing water temperatures by planting trees, reducing sediment entering the stream by stabilizing stream banks, and adding logs (LWD) and other materials to increase habitat complexity and to preserve salmonid spawning sites which are vital to the health of these fish populations.

The WSP members collect data through habitat, riparian and upslope surveys. They compile data into reports and databases that will aid in identification of areas that need improvement. Through watershed assessment, monitoring, and restoration, projects leading to increased/improved habitat for salmonids will be designed and implemented. Other specific examples of monitoring and restoration activities are: spawner surveys, downstream migrant trapping, gravel sampling, tree planting, invasive plant removals, and installing Low Impact Development (LID) project such as rainwater catchment systems and rain gardens.

Watershed Education and Outreach (20%): Members serve in local Title I schools to educate K-12 students in watershed and salmonid science. Members utilize the WSP’s Wonders of Watersheds (WOW!) curriculum and education program which is aligned with California State Education Standards. The curriculum consists of a minimum of six, one-hour lessons pertaining to: watershed ecology; water conservation; and salmonid life cycle, habitat, and anatomy.

Additional activities to expand students’ awareness and interest of salmonids and watershed ecology/protection in their local communities include field trips to local streams, hatcheries, and environmental education fairs. Members organize service-learning projects so students can apply knowledge gained in the classroom through hands-on restoration. As a testament to the impact this educational series holds, Service Year 18 marked the enrollment of the first WSP member who was also an alumni of WSP’s education program.

The WSP members participate in mission-related outreach events where they provide presentations and educational opportunities to community members, natural resource professionals, and students. Presentations specifically focus on watershed processes, salmonid life cycles, and sound land use practices in order to provide information on the scientific basis for restoration activities and environmental policies. The WSP’s involvement in these events builds cooperative relationships amongst teachers, students, community members, and private landowners.

Volunteer Recruitment (5%): Members grow professionally by coordinating a Community Restoration Project (CRP) where they recruit, train, and manage 15 volunteers in the implementation of a hands-on watershed restoration project. Members and volunteers learn a variety of transferable/marketable skills, and communities are strengthened by developing partnerships between people and organizations. Participants may also experience a heightened connection to their local environment. CRPs occur throughout the service year (October – August).

Member Development (15%): Throughout their term, members attend a variety of trainings and conferences. The WSP Program Orientation is a seven-day training which includes, but is not limited to:

• Wilderness First Aid/CPR

• Swift Water Rescue certification course

• CCC driver safety certification

• Equal Employee Opportunity (EEO) training

• Emergency response protocol

• Roadside/tool safety trainings

• Professionalism in the workplace

The WSP Regional Training is a three-day training which focuses on implementing WSP’s WOW! education program, Community Restoration Projects (CRPs), and community outreach events.

Site specific training varies by placement site. Training topics include, but are not limited to:

• Scientific protocols

• Stream habitat inventories (habitat typing)

• Biological inventories (electro-fishing, fish census snorkel dives)

• Upslope/road inventories

• Culvert surveys and analysis

• GIS mapping

• Gravel sampling

• LID project implementation (i.e. rainwater gardens, bio-swales, grey water plumbing)

• Large woody debris (LWD) surveys

• Other scientific field data collection, as needed

Members may also attend external trainings related to the mission of the WSP, examples include, the Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) Annual Conference and the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Conference (AEOE). Both events provide opportunities for members to share ideas, network, and learn current restoration/education techniques alongside other natural resource professionals.

All trainings received by WSP members help to prepare the next generation for careers in environmental fields

 

Hamilton Wetland Overlook Construction

Conservation Corps North Bay

Novato, California

This is a large scale bay wetlands restoration project. Please see the project website for more of the overall project history: http://hamiltonwetlands.scc.ca.gov/

Conservation Corps North Bay crews constructed trail features along a new section of the San Francisco Bay Trail through the restored wetland. This included three trail overlooks, a handicap accessible ramp, gates, signage and seating. The overlooks were designed by an engineer and required a high degree of technical expertise for their construction. We have great photos. The project started in January of 2014 and will be complete in July 2014. Corpsmembers learned to construct forms, tie rebar, pour and finish concrete, do basic carpentry and install storm water protection measures.

 

Montbello Open Space and Trail Head to RMANWR

Environmental Learning for Kids

Montbello community, Denver, Colorado

The proposed project involves the restoration of 4.5 acres of undeveloped land in the Montbello community. The site is located approximately 1 mile south from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge; it will serve as both a habitat anchor and trailhead to the Refuge. This site is at high risk of development and the important wetland and terrestrial habitat must be preserved. It will also establish an important community connection to the natural environment in an urban setting otherwise devoid of open space. Restoration of riparian communities and upland native prairie would improve habitat for wildlife and would provide new opportunities to learn about wildlife in an urban setting. With close proximity to the Refuge, this greatly expanded and diverse regional-scale wildlife area, although only 4.5 acres it will be a magnet for numerous types of wildlife species while also serving an important water quality improvement function through the onsite detention pond as a wetlands to reduce storm flow and increase infiltration, thereby increasing the available groundwater.

In Denver, the Montbello community is directly adjacent to the Refuge making it the closest geographical nexus to the area. The site will serve as a trailhead for the community to the Refuge, connecting to the Refuge by an existing degraded asphalt, off-street trail along the east side of Peoria Street that starts at Albrook Drive and goes to 56th Avenue on the southern edge of the Refuge. There are on-going discussions with the Refuge to provide a pedestrian/bike entrance on the southern border of the Refuge for residents from Montbello and NE Denver. This project will engage the entire community of Montbello, youth will be engaged through summer employment to restore the land, learn about conservation, and natural resource career exploration. The broader community and younger children will be able to participate through stewardship activities on the land and environmental education that will be lead by our summer youth crews.

 

Indiana Dunes Stewards

Environmental Stewards

United States

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. The park contains 15,000 acres of rare species of birds, sandy beaches, 45 miles of hiking trails, rugged dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests.

Stewards will work to control invasive plants to reduce their impacts to natural communities, including oak savanna. Field work will consist of habitat management activities associated with invasive plant control. Work will include using tools and operating equipment such as hand saws, loppers, pruners, sprayers, chainsaws, an/or brushcutters to control invasive plants. These positions require application of herbicides for vegetation control, carrying 40 pounds of tools and equipment, strenuous manual labor, working primarily outdoors under a variety of weather conditions, exposure to poisonous plants, and exposure to biting and stinging insects. Stewards will also collect data related to the work completed, and map work sites using Global Positioning System (GPS) Units.

 

Forest Guild YCC

Forest Guild

New Mexico

In 2014, Forest Guild will host our 16th summer season of rural forest youth crews across central and northern New Mexico. Stationed at Forest Service Ranger Districts, the 6 crews comprised of over 50 youth will work for 9 weeks on conservation projects on public lands, earn college credits, have access to AmeriCorps scholarships, and receive training and mentoring in forestry, wildlife, recreation management, range management, fire ecology, and fisheries. The program is centered on training and hands-on learning through actual work projects that help Forest Service staff implement projects. Our crew members are drawn from rural communities, from historical land grant communities, and from Tribal communities.

 

Upper Missouri River Breaks Cottonwood Restoration

Montana Conservation Corps

Wild and Scenic Missouri River

This summer, twenty youth with the Montana Conservation Corps are joining volunteers of the Friends of the Missouri River Breaks Monument to help the BLM protect native cottonwood stands along the 149 mile section of Wild and Scenic Missouri River. Severe flooding in 2011 resulted in the massive dispersal of invasive tamarisk, which have outcompeted the endemic cottonwood and disrupted the area’s valuable wildlife habitat. While removing the tamarisk and erecting fencing to protect cottonwood seedlings from grazing and browsing, the youth will learn about native plants and the historic, cultural and natural values of the Missouri River corridor. For centuries, this river corridor was utilized by Native American tribes following the great herds of bison, and in 1805, Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery navigated the Missouri on their way to and from the Pacific.

 

Invasive Weeds Strike Team

Montana Conservation Corps

Bitterroot, Nez Perce-Clearwater, Salmon, Gallatin, Lolo National Forests

The Montana Conservation Corps Invasive Weeds Strike Team will spend this summer flying, boating, and backpacking to remote areas of five different forests in Montana and Idaho to participate in comprehensive projects to mitigate noxious weeds and protect and preserve native habitat. A new partnership with the Nez Perce Tribe and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has increased the level of complexity of MCC’s involvement in vegetation management objectives. The eight-member crew will complete 5-6 in-depth wildland restoration projects which include stream channel reworking, planting native species, treating areas for noxious weeds, and GPS mapping and data collection. In turn, Weeds Strike Team members gain hands-on experience with invasive weeds and mitigation strategies while building capacities for natural resource careers.

 

Generation Green

Nevada Conservation Corps

United States

The Generation Green program engages underserved youth to restore and enhance Tahoe’s natural environment. Supported by the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Great Basin Institute, eight local high school students will spend eight weeks working on a variety of projects, including trail maintenance and restoration, controlling noxious weeds, re-establishing native species, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, monitoring the effectiveness of watershed restoration projects, surveying for sensitive wildlife species, and engaging the public on environmental values. While restoring, enhancing, and learning about their local environment, the crew will learn the value of public service and gain professional skills in outdoor recreation and public lands management, improve the experience of thousands of visitors to prominent sites at Lake Tahoe, and nurture a culture of stewardship among the participants and the community at large.

 

Generation Green

Nevada Conservation Corps

Lake Tahoe Basin

Generation Green supports youth work force diversity by engaging underserved poplulations in forest stewardship projects at recreation sites and wilderness areas at Lake Tahoe. Outcomes include ethnic diversity representation on pulblic land management projects, and enhanced skills and knowledge of best practices in forest restoration initiatives. The project leverages funds from Work Force Investment Act, AmeriCorps, The Tahoe Fund, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

 

Bear Creek Restoration

Northwest Youth Corps

Gresham, Oregon

Participants from Northwest Youth Corps’ Community Conservation Corps program spent five weeks during the winter and spring of 2014 learning about and conducting various restoration activities along Bear Creek in Gresham Oregon. Crew members spent the first week in classroom and onsite learning bio-engineering techniques, and how native and invasive species effect the landscape in this suburban park. The crew spent the following four weeks planting native trees and shrubs while removing invasive plants such as English Ivy and Blackberry. In total the crew restored seven acres.

 

Spokane Area- Hazardous Fuels

Northwest Youth Corps

United States

This 5 month project will focus upon the removal of hazardous fuels throughout the Greater Spokane region. Under the OYSI, members will gain valuable experience, training and certifications while creating safer wildland/Urban interface zones. Members will have the experience necessary to move into jobs with Land Management agencies.

This project begins 4/21

 

Aliso Creek Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration

Orange County Conservation Corps

Aliso Viejo, CA

The Orange County Conservation Corps (OCCC) was contracted to remove 25 acres of invasive vegetation along Aliso Creek in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park in Orange County, California. The duration of the projects was 15 months. Work included removal of Arundo and other invasive vegetation and revegetation of all areas where Arundo was removed. The final acreage of removal was 33 acres in the 3.74 mile stretch of the creek. OCCC crews competed the project ahead of schedule transforming a Giant Reed dominated creek landscape into a native creek habitat. Corps Members gained valuable plant identification, power tool, and team work skills. In addition several Corps Members were also trained in safety and proper herbicide application.

This project was first phase of three. OCCC has recently relocated to the upper watershed to continue removal of an additional 25 acres. Upon completion of the entire watershed project, OCCC crews will remove 75 acres of invasive vegetation on one of the County’s largest restoration efforts to date.

 

Veterans Fire Corps BLM Partnership – Independence Mountain Region

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (CO)

Independence Mountain BLM Recreation Area outside Cowdrey, CO

Veterans Fire Corps members will spend multiple weeks mitigating fire hazard on Independence Mountain (popular with campers and hunters) using forestry techniques of thinning stands of pine with chainsaws. They will also process and remove fuels by bucking and piling. The Veterans Fire Corps is a cooperative project with the BLM in another capacity as well, in that the crew is available to be called out on wildfire management assignments throughout their tenure in chainsaw work with the BLM.

 

Lama Collaborative Forestry Project

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM)

Lama, NM

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps thinning crews will reduce the threat of catastrophic fire in the high risk community of Lama, NM. Over the course of the three year project over 150 acres will be thinned, 100 cords of firewood will be donated to low income community members, and 21 youth participants will have received a variety of trainings and certifications. These trainings consist of S-212 Chainsaw certification, Forest Workers Safety Certification, Wilderness Advanced First Aid, Leave No Trace certification, University of New Mexico credits in land management practices, resume workshops, personal finance workshops, and native plant identification. In addition to these trainings, Corpsmembers also gain expertise as sawyers and often find careers in this field after graduation from the program. One of the unique aspects of this project is the involvement of a diverse groups of stakeholders supporting RMYC in all aspects of this project, including grant writing, project monitoring, and project reporting.

 

Bandelier Conservation Corps

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM)

Unites States

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps will hire and train 7 local youth to participate in Corps programming during the 2014 summer season. This crew will work on restoration projects to help the park recover from damage caused by fire and flooding. Anticipated member outcomes include workforce development skills, heightened wilderness ethics, first aid/CPR certification, and dual-enrollment in UNM-Taos in environmental education.

 

Acoma Pueblo Youth Corps

Southwest Conservation Corps

Four Corners

Four National Park sites, El Malpais NM, Mesa Verde NP, Aztec Ruins NM, and Chaco Culture Historic Park, will host an 8 person crew made up of local Acoma Pueblo Youth ages 17-18 completing 8 weeks of conservation projects.

Corps members will be introduced to a diverse array of natural resource projects including cultural resource stabilization, invasive weed removal, fence removal and repair, fuels reduction trail construction, fence removal and upkeep of a heritage garden,

In addition to the project work, corps members will receive personal educational opportunities to shadow park staff to explore the various disciplines each park offers and future employment opportunities with the NPS. Corps members will have the opportunity to learn about the cultural history of each park, including guided tours of the ruins, archabotany, ethnobotany, fire ecology, fire management, NPS policies and the various methods used to manage the parks.

 

Buffalo Peaks Trail Relocation

Southwest Conservation Corps – Los Valles

Pike San Isabel National Forest

The present location of a portion of trail FS#617/618 is very close to known state endangered and Forest Service sensitive boreal toad breeding habitats located at several ponds and along Fourmile Creek. This stream also has populations of the federally listed threatened greenback cutthroat trout. Stock use and foot traffic on the existing trail is causing adverse impacts to the watershed and these species of interest. We propose the relocation of a portion (approx. one mile) of this trail away from the riparian area and ponds, the improvement of a stream crossing, and restoration of the old trail.

 

Desert Restoration Corps

Student Conservation Association

United States

Brilliant, resourceful, and masters of disguise, they are the McGyvers of the Desert.

They are the SCA Desert Restoration Corps and their mission is to protect a vast area of southern California that is home to at-risk species including the desert tortoise, Mojave ground squirrel and foxtail cactus.

Their primary nemesis is unauthorized off-road vehicles that chew the terrain, alter the flow of surface water, and destroy fragile habitats. That’s where the SCA Corps comes in: brushing the soil, replanting native species, and using readily available, natural materials to recreate the landscape’s original appearance.

The Bureau of Land Management, our project partner for the past decade, long ago credited SCA corps members with rewriting the book on desert restoration as their hand-crafted creosote arrangements, rock reformations and other “vertical mulch” form subtle “Do Not Enter” signs to ORV riders.

To date, the SCA Desert Restoration Corps has rehabilitated more than 1,500 unauthorized routes and planted tens of thousands of seeds in the Jawbone Open Area and Rand Mountains region alone. Untreated, these areas could require 100 years to heal on their own. But time has proven that incursions are far less likely to occur in SCA-repaired areas, and the Mojave’s overall health is improving.

 

Crockett National Forest Restoration Summer Projects with YCC and TxCC

Texas Conservation Corps at American YouthWorks

Crockett – Lufkin – Nacogdoches, Texas

The Texas Conservation Corps is leading a summer-long project in the Davy Crockett National Forest that will match 4 youth “YCC” participants with 10 year-long young adult conservation corps members for two months of habitat and cultural resource restoration projects in the forest. Texas Conservation Corps will manage both teams as they complete hazard fuel mitigation projects in the Big Slough Wilderness Area, trail sustainability improvements to the Four C National Recreation Trail, and historic restoration projects at Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, originally constructed by the CCC in 1936.

 

Viejas Fire Fuel Reduction Program

Urban Corps of San Diego County

Viejas Reservation in eastern San Diego County

The Urban Corps of San Diego County has partnered with the Viejas Fire Department to implement ongoing fire fuel reduction projects designed to protect homes and businesses on the Viejas Reservation while providing job training and certifications to youth ages 18-25. To date more than 300 Corpsmembers participating in the Urban Corps program have gained important job skills and experience in wildland fire prevention while studying at Urban Corps Charter School to obtain their high school diplomas. Participants learn what firefighters do in the off-season to prevent wildfires through intensive training in fire fuel reduction methods and safe hand tool and chainsaw use. The Viejas Fire Department provides on-the-job hands-on training in Basic Wildland Firefighting and other courses resulting in a certification. In 2014, crews will be completing a 2.5 mile firebreak on the Viejas Reservation, clearing vast amounts of brush and chaparral through chipping, lopping and scattering, thinning, hand piling, and mastication. The work protects both Viejas residents and the greater San Diego County region which remains constantly vigilant of the threat of wildfires.

 

Viejas Fire Fuel Reduction Program

Urban Corps of San Diego County

Viejas Reservation in eastern San Diego County

The Urban Corps of San Diego County has partnered with the Viejas Fire Department to implement ongoing fire fuel reduction projects designed to protect homes and businesses on the Viejas Reservation while providing job training and certifications to youth ages 18-25. To date more than 300 Corpsmembers participating in the Urban Corps program have gained important job skills and experience in wildland fire prevention while studying at Urban Corps Charter School to obtain their high school diplomas. Participants learn what firefighters do in the off-season to prevent wildfires through intensive training in fire fuel reduction methods and safe hand tool and chainsaw use. The Viejas Fire Department provides on-the-job hands-on training in Basic Wildland Firefighting and other courses resulting in a certification. In 2014, crews will be completing a 2.5 mile firebreak on the Viejas Reservation, clearing vast amounts of brush and chaparral through chipping, lopping and scattering, thinning, hand piling, and mastication. The work protects both Viejas residents and the greater San Diego County region which remains constantly vigilant of the threat of wildfires.

 

Zion National Park Habitat Restoration

Utah Conservation Corps

Zion National Park

This project is the continuation of a 13 year old partnership between the Zion National Park and the Utah Conservation Corps to improve habitat and remove invasive species from the National Park. This year’s project will have Utah Conservation Corps members gaining valuable experience assisting with backcountry weed removal and nursery seed propagation projects.

 

Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program Water Quality Improvement Crews

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Statewide (VT)

During the 2014 field season the VYCC will field six crews to complete high priority water quality improvement projects leading to a reduction in phosphorous pollution running into Lake Champlain and the Long Island Sound. These crew will be educated on the water quality challenges that confront the surface waters in Vermont today. They will be trained on treatment techniques for stream banks, riparian areas, and capital infrastructure (i.e roads, parking lots, buildings, agricultural fields, and forests). The crews will plant over 5000 trees, restore natural stream-flows, remove garbage from rivers, and enhance class IV roads and trails to reduce erosion directly contributing to the water turbulence and sediment.

 

Dolores River Restoration

Western Colorado Conservation Corps

Bedrock, CO

The Dolores River Restoration Partnership has been collaborating with many different organizations since 2010 in an effort to create a more naturally functioning watershed.

The Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) has treated an 80 acre Bureau of Reclamation property in Paradox Valley, near Bedrock, CO, with a mosaic pattern of tamarisk removal, specifically designed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Uncompahgre Field Office to minimize secondary weeds and increase native vegetation naturally.

In the Spring of 2014, the WCCC spent four weeks completing the project.

 

Snooks Bottom

Western Colorado Conservation Corps

Fruita, CO

In May of 2014, the Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) revegetated close to five acres of land that had previously been treated for invasive species.

Willows and Cottonwood trees were transplanted, native grasses were spread, and nearly 4,000 new native plants were planted on the property.

 

Cross Park Restoration Project

Wilderness International Youth Conservation Corps

E Clackamas Blvd, Gladstone Oregon

Our Youth Conservation Corps program has been restoring native habitat at Cross Park for five years. Invasive vegetation has been cleared, native plantings completed, protective fencing installed. We are currently working on restoring the remaining invasive infested areas to have a continuous 2.5 acres of healthy habitat. Our youth crews enroll 16-20 students every 10 weeks. 95% of our youth are referred to us from the Clackamas County Juvenile Dept and through the program they receive workforce readiness training, college credit at the community college, a daily stipend, and environmental education opportunities.

Please see the following two links for an article and video about the project:

Video – https://vimeo.com/88309789

Article – http://www.wildernessintl.com/pdf/Cross-Park-Mitigation-Winter-2013.pdf

 

Molalla River BLM Campground Construction

Wilderness Intl Youth Conservation Corps

United States

Last year we worked with the BLM to construct two campgrounds in the Molalla River Corridor which is adjacent to the Tablerock Wilderness Area in Western Oregon. Along with the campground construction our crews worked on native habitat restoration around the campgrounds, decommissioned unauthorized campsites and trails, and last of all worked on the extensive trail system that goes for miles in the wilderness area. I have a video that the BLM produced and also a pictorial report that I put out to the BLM last year. We have received over $20,000 in funding commitments fromt he BLM and the Clackamas County Juvenile Dept to continue working on this project for the next 12 months. To learn more about our program please visit our website at www.wiycc.org. The video can be viewed at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqtHyp2yF7U

 

Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area

Youth Employment in Parks – Anchorage Park Foundation/Municipality of Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

For the Campbell Creek Estuary Conservation Project, Great Land Trust purchased the 60-acre Campbell Creek estuary property, donated the property to the Municipality of Anchorage, and created a conservation easement to ensure it will be protected in perpetuity. When preserved the property will provide permanent protection for valuable salmon and wildlife habitat and provide access to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife refuge.

The Campbell Creek Estuary Natural Area is an important breeding ground for many types of birds. The Great Land Trust acquired the estuary in 2010 order to protect it and provide educational opportunities to Anchorage residents. Youth Employment in Parks teens established the first trails in the natural area to create public access. They built 1,600 feet of new ADA accessible trail, 900 feet of new trail to the Sand Hill Crane overlook and 26 feet of fiberglass board walking.

Environmental Education

Since estuaries have more biodiversity then any other ecosystem, crew members learned about biodiversity. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game gave YEP over 500 cards with information and pictures of nearly every species in Alaska. Using the knowledge of energy webs and ecosystems they learned earlier in the season, crew members placed the cards they found in an energy web to see if they could maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Civic Engagement

Phil Shephard from the Great Land Trust and Barbara Carlson from Friends of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (FAR) discussed the role the Great Land Trust and FAR played in helping to transform this former homestead site into a protected public land. They took crew members on a tour of the site and pointed out the areas where YEP would be establishing the first trails at the estuary.

Recreation Activity

Chris Maack of FAR, Bird TLC, and Anchorage Audubon Society introduced YEP to the fascinating world of birding. Crew members were given binoculars and sent to locate avian species within the estuary. Crew members successfully spotted a number of different birds, including a peregrine falcon and sand hill cranes.

For More Information:

http://www.greatlandtrust.org/ourland/campbell_estuary.html

http://anchorageparkfoundation.org/current-projects/campbell-creek-estuary/

 

 

 

 

 

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