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NOAA Veterans Corps: Progress By The Numbers

November 10, 2020

NOAA’s Veterans Corps partnerships are building on 8 years of growth, supporting habitat and fisheries restoration projects on the west coast.

Three veterans corps participants pose in snorkeling gear after monitoring a stream restoration project. Ryan Shorrow (left) and his veterans corps cohort wrap up in-water snorkeling work, monitoring habitat, with a smile.

The NOAA Veterans Corps provides opportunities for military veterans to build their skills and work experience contributing to habitat and fisheries restoration projects.  

Through strong partnerships, the year-long paid training program for veterans includes marine and freshwater restoration for native fish and other natural resources. Participants also conduct research and monitoring to track the progress of fish restoration projects and fish populations. These efforts are helping different threatened and endangered species recover, including: 

Here are a few key metrics to help understand the NOAA Veterans Corps partnerships impact. 

WA_Vet Internship BeachSeining.jpg
Veteran corps interns and NOAA staff use a beach seine to sample fish in the Washington's Elwha River Estuary

Snapshot of Veterans Corps on the West Coast

  • 8 years: Established in California in 2012, NOAA Veterans Corps partnerships have grown ever since.
  • 3 states: We now have veterans corps partnerships in California, Oregon and Washington. Each state has a unique experience for veterans, with different levels of field, research and community outreach opportunities to help prepare them for longer-term careers in resource management.
  • 22 partners: Throughout those states, we’re working with partners to help shape the unique veterans corps experiences.
  • 50+ veterans: In 2020, we have 14 veterans participating, and more than 50 have participated since the partnerships started in 2012. Many of these veterans furthered their education and gotten jobs in state and tribal natural resource agencies. A recent Washington participant even got hired to work at NOAA
A veterans conservation corps member with young children in an outdoor education program.
Lauren Marquez, out of California's Camarillo Center, teaching kids how plants support healthy watersheds.

Focus on California, the First NOAA Veterans Corps

  • 6 centers: Through a core partnership with the California Conservation Corps, veterans are deployed to six centers across the state.  
  • 279 projects: As of mid-2020, veterans have supported nearly 300 restoration projects. 
  • 3,877 miles: Veteran corps participants have surveyed almost 4,000 miles of streams and rivers for fish in various stages of their lives. This work helps understand how our restoration projects are performing. That’s almost the same distance as going from Miami to Anchorage, Alaska!
  • 264 miles: They’ve also mapped out hundreds of miles of stream and river habitat to help understand where to focus future restoration efforts.
  • 770,000 gallons: Veteran corps efforts are also conserving more than 770,000 gallons of water each year in drought-prone California. Their projects are collecting agricultural runoff and reducing water use in Conservation Corps facilities. That’s more than enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool!

We’d like to thank all or our veterans for their service to the nation. And on behalf of the nation’s valuable natural resources, a special thanks goes to those dedicating their post-military work restoring important habitat for endangered fish on the West Coast.