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Veterans Help Restore Valuable Fish Habitat: Success By the Numbers

November 09, 2018

Learn how the NOAA Veterans Corps provides opportunities for veterans to build their skills while they help conserve endangered salmon and steelhead in California.


Veteran Zach Hoagland surveys steelhead habitat in Southern California. All story photos courtesy of California Conservation Corps.

The NOAA Veterans Corps provides opportunities for post-9/11 military veterans to build their skills and work experience while contributing to the conservation of endangered salmon and steelhead in California. Established in 2012 in collaboration with the State of California, and later expanded to the states of Washington and Oregon, the year-long paid training program includes marine and freshwater restoration for native fish, as well as research and monitoring to track the progress of salmon restoration projects and salmon populations.

Here’s a sample of the work done by the NOAA Veterans Corps on the West Coast since the program’s inception.

As of November 2018, veterans had implemented 267 restoration projects.


Veteran Chantel Williams (top) and an Americorps member relocate fish during removal of the Benbow Dam.

Veterans conducted surveys to count spawning salmon on 2,775 miles of stream and conducted juvenile salmon surveys on 522 miles of stream.


Veteran Dustin Casey conducts a survey on Manzana Creek in California.

Veterans assessed the quality of 210 miles of habitat and saved 631 gallons of water.

Crystal -WSP-Snorkel-Practice-Morro-Bay.JPG

Veterans prepare for snorkel practice in Morro Bay. Biologists and resource managers use snorkel surveys as one method for detecting presence or absence of salmonids, helping them to better understand species abundance.

Thank You Veterans

Thank you veterans, for your service to the nation and dedicated work restoring important habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead.

Watch the video below to see veterans working to restore salmon habitat in California's Eel River Watershed.

Last updated by NOAA Fisheries Public Affairs on May 05, 2020

Veterans Corps