Veterans Conservation Corps [2, 6]

The Veterans Conservation Corps provides opportunities for recently returned veterans to transition from military to civilian work through AmeriCorps service. The Veterans Conservation Corps completes numerous restoration projects across Washington state every year.

Started in 2012, the Veterans Conservation Corps is a subprogram of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Washington Conservation Corps, which receives an annual federal AmeriCorps grant. The veterans earn Washington state minimum wage and a scholarship upon completing the program. They can use this award to supplement GI Bill benefits, pay off student loans, or use it for future tuition expenses. While serving in the Conservation Corps, veterans receive training and can gain certifications such as Wilderness First Responder, Hazardous Waste Operator, and Wildland Firefighter.

VCC - Snohomish_PortSusan_TreatedWoodPlasticRemoved

The Veterans Conservation Corps accomplishes important work for Washington’s environment and community.  Last year alone, these veterans:

  • Planted and maintained more than 17,700 trees and shrubs
  • Constructed or improved 36 miles of backcountry and urban trails
  • Cleared 87 acres of invasive species
  • Provided more than 5,000 hours of science monitoring and surveying
  • Helped 1,500 disaster victims through mucking out or gutting post-flood homes, installing temporary roofs, removing downed trees, and completing damage assessments

In addition, between 2013 and 2016 the Veteran Conservation Corps removed 236 tons of beach debris through a partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Total enrollees in the Veterans Conservation Corps, by year:

  • 5 members in 2012-13
  • 15 members in 2013-14
  • 19 members in 2014-15
  • 14 members in 2015-16
  • 17 members in 2016-17

Funding Sources:

  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington Conservation Corps
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Congressional Districts:

  • Statewide project, potentially affecting all districts

Partners:

  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington Conservation Corps/Puget Sound Corps

In 2014, the Northwest Straits Commission and the Washington Veterans Conservation Corps joined forces to remove 91,863 pounds (41.13 tons) of marine debris from 30 project sites in six counties across Washington. Over 16 months, the Veterans Conservation Corps crews worked with staff from the Northwest Straits Commission on marine debris removal projects for 58 ten-hour days. Much of the debris removed consisted of small plastic and foam fragments, drink bottles, large styrofoam blocks, car tires, derelict fishing or aquaculture gear, and chemically-treated wood.

Portions of debris collected during cleanup projects were donated to Anacortes Arts Festival staff for a community-based art project called “Tidecraft,” in which salvaged marine debris were used to create artwork.

Funding Sources:

  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington Conservation Corps
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Congressional Districts: 2 and 6

Partners:

  • Northwest Straits Commission
  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Anacortes Arts Festival
  • S’Klallam Tribe
  • Jefferson Land Trust

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