GulfCorps Brings Ecosystem Recovery to the Gulf Coast
Mobilizing community youth to create resilient coasts and communities in the five Gulf States.
What is GulfCorps?
GulfCorps is investing in the people along the Gulf of Mexico coast through a conservation corps program producing sustainable and lasting benefits to the environment, economy, and communities. The program provides short-term employment for local young adults, including veterans and those from underserved communities, as well as skills training and experience in jobs supporting local workforce development in the growing habitat restoration field. GulfCorps projects are supporting sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery of protected resources by restoring habitat for fish.
NOAA received $7.5 million from the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) to administer the GulfCorps program alongside federal and state partners on the RESTORE Council. NOAA and The Nature Conservancy, are engaging local partners to recruit and train participants to work on restoration projects. The program finished its second year of conservation work in the summer of 2019.
What Does GulfCorps Do?
GulfCorps trains and places participants to work on projects benefiting coastal habitat like wetlands, coastal forests, bogs, savannahs, oyster reefs, rivers and streams. GulfCorps participants work to remove invasive species, plant native vegetation, stabilize shorelines, repair hydrology, and restore sensitive habitats, while learning about the positive impacts of restoration to local and regional ecosystems. Through this work, GulfCorps participants receive field training that promotes career growth and future employment opportunities in conservation work.
What Will GulfCorps Accomplish?
GulfCorps is employing up to 300 participants from around the Gulf coast over the next three years from 2017 - 2020, to provide more than 250,000 labor hours towards coastal habitat conservation and restoration in all of the five states along the Gulf of Mexico: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Collectively over the three-year program GulfCorps participants will enhance and restore more than 2,000 acres of coastal habitat.
How Does it Work?
Multiple eight to ten-person crews are established in each Gulf state. Crews are operational for 22, or more weeks at a time, and many of the organizations operating the crews have extended their terms into the third year, giving many participants the opportunity to return. Participants are recruited from local communities to serve full time positions, which may include team member or team leader positions.
NOAA joined with The Nature Conservancy and their partners at the Corps Network, Student Conservation Association and others to oversee and implement GulfCorps across the Gulf coast. NOAA and The Nature Conservancy partner with the state RESTORE members to prioritize and select restoration projects for GulfCorps participation. The GulfCorps model involves local, community-level engagement by contracting with existing conservation corps organizations to recruit, train, and mobilize members to conduct restoration work. This model optimizes both regional consistency in program development, and local participation and expertise at the project level.
Interested in participating or supporting GulfCorps? Contact:
Laurel Jennings, NOAA GulfCorps Manager, email@example.com
Jeff DeQuattro, GulfCorps Program Director, firstname.lastname@example.org