Engaging Veterans and Conservation Corps to Restore Fisheries and Habitats

NOAA and partners are providing job training for young people and veterans to learn about habitat conservation and restoration, and generate skills through hands-on work experience in on-the-ground restoration projects.

Members of the GulfCorps create a living shoreline that will be come a home to oysters and other water creatures in Mississippi.

Members of the GulfCorps create a living shoreline that will become a home to oysters and other water creatures in Mississippi.

NOAA Fisheries conservation corps efforts are creating a community of habitat restoration practitioners across the nation made up of veterans, young adults, and others. The programs are boosting coastal communities by recruiting, training, mentoring, and employing workers to implement habitat restoration projects in support of long-term coastal restoration. There are three unique regional efforts that are a reflection of the wide range of habitats and species we work to protect, conserve and restore.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to establishing and partnering with conservation and veteran corps in support of our vision to enhance ecosystem, community, and economic resiliency. Corps programs contribute to workforce development in the natural resources, while restoring coastal habitat to support healthy fisheries, fishing communities, and trust resources. These efforts will help sustain valuable fisheries habitat, and provide participants with employable skills to support long-term coastal economies and restoration right where they live.

GulfCorps Brings Ecosystem Recovery to the Gulf Coast

GulfCorps is a youth-based conservation corps program helping to restore degraded coastal habitats in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, including those damaged from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The program trains and places participants to work on projects that benefit coastal habitat such as wetlands, streams, and coastal uplands along the Gulf of Mexico, promoting career growth and future employment opportunities in conservation work. We are partnering with The Nature Conservancy to oversee the program, which includes recruiting, training, and mobilizing local coastal citizens to conduct hands-on habitat restoration in their communities in each of the five Gulf states.

Learn more about GulfCorps.

Training Veterans in Habitat Restoration in California 

Since 2012, NOAA has partnered with California Conservation Corps to help provide post-9/11 veterans with the opportunity to transition from serving their country to protecting their countries fisheries resources. The Veterans Corps Fisheries Program in California provides veterans with training and connections in the natural resource field while meeting NOAA’s mission to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. Veterans work side-by-side with restoration experts from state, federal, and non-profit organizations. They also receive scholarships and housing assistance to support their journey.

Learn more about the Veterans Corps Fisheries Program in California.

Connecting Veterans Fisheries Internships in Washington

NOAA Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest employs and trains veterans in habitat restoration internships through the Veterans Conservation Corps, a joint program with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. In Washington, veteran interns work alongside NOAA Fisheries scientists to create an individualized applied science experience focused on evaluating the success of NOAA’s restoration projects. They contribute to NOAA’s research, while we help contribute to their career knowledge and skills. As members of science teams, interns are exposed to the full gamut of the scientific process - from field work and analysis, to report writing and communication. Interns typically leverage their experience to gain admission to, or enhance their work in fisheries-related undergraduate or graduate studies.

Learn more about the Washington Veterans Conservation Corps.

Video: Veterans Work to Restore Salmon Habitat