Veterans out of the Fortuna Center work among the old growth redwoods conducting spawning surveys for Chinook and Coho salmon and steelhead in salmon habitat throughout Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, working with partners like the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“I would spend many days walking upstream in beautiful environments collecting data, working in laboratories, and catching and handling live fish. These experiences would allow me to apply my work ethic and skills that I developed in my military service to help rebuild my own country and environment. Every day work was exciting and meaningful. It was a place that I enjoyed and it was work that I believed in.” Chris Trevini, Veterans Corps Member out of the Fortuna Center.
In conjunction with the Fortuna Center, the Orleans program location, offers an opportunity to work with the U.S. Forest Service in Orleans, a small mountain community of less than 700 people. Veterans conduct spawning surveys and juvenile fish surveys, downstream fish trapping and counting, and are restoring fish passage throughout the main stem of the Middle Klamath River, and at the mouths of its tributaries.
Central Valley and Sacramento
Working in the heart of California’s Central Valley, veterans help winter-run and spring-run Chinook on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers by restoring their habitats, conducting spawning and instream habitat surveys and engaging in community outreach and education. The Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon is one of NOAA Fisheries’ Species in the Spotlight, part of a NOAA-wide effort to spotlight and save the most at-risk marine species.
Working in streams throughout coastal Mendocino County, veterans out of the Ukiah Center take part in implementation and monitoring of projects creating and enhancing habitat for Central Coast Coho salmon, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight. Collaborating with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, veterans take part at the Van Arsdale Fisheries Counting Station on the Eel River, as well as conduct other types of surveys in salmon streams along the Mendocino Coast.
Nestled in the coastal foothills of San Luis Obispo County, the Los Padres Center offers veterans diverse partnerships with organizations like Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, local resource conservation districts, the City of San Luis Obispo, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Morro Bay National Estuary Program. This rich interaction with local partners means a great range in experiences, from hiking up to waterfalls to conduct steelhead habitat assessments on Santa Maria and Sisquoc Rivers, to cultivating native plants for restoration projects in the onsite California Conservation Corps greenhouse.
Camarillo, the most southern Veterans Fisheries Corps center in California, works on projects benefiting endangered southern steelhead covering coastal counties from Santa Barbara to Orange County. Opportunities range from water management projects, to small dam removals and monitoring. Southern California offers a unique opportunities to open up and reconnect highly urbanized streams helping improve steelhead fish passage, and community resilience to flooding. Several veterans Corps members at Camarillo have advanced through the ranks and are now on staff at the Center.