A group of young people with chainsaws and other equipment on a break in a wooded area.
Conservation Corps Members of the Conservation Corps cut back evasive plants along the coast in Apalachicola, Florida. © John Stanmeyer

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Gulfcorps Jobs and Conservation Program Renewed

Program will create more than 400 conservation jobs over four years in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the most successful restoration programs to come out of the 2010 Gulf oil spill will continue for another four years thanks to support from the RESTORE Council this week.

At its April meeting, members of the RESTORE council voted to award $11.9 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to continue the program, which started in 2017. GulfCorps protects and restores important coastal habitats while creating jobs for young adults in the five Gulf states (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas). The program aims to restore lands and waters damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill while adding to the resilience of the region’s economy.

“TNC is grateful to the RESTORE Council for their continued support of GulfCorps for four more years,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “We appreciate NOAA’s sponsorship and the Gulf state’s leadership. GulfCorps is one of our best opportunities to restore thousands of acres of coastal habitat while training hundreds of young adults in conservation. We are excited to continue this incredible work.”

“We appreciate the RESTORE Council’s continued support of GulfCorps, our award-winning program employing young adults to restore habitat in their coastal communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Dr. Paul Doremus, NOAA Fisheries’ Acting Assistant Administrator. “Corps members’ work increases the Gulf’s economic and environmental resilience and gives them skills and training to prepare for long-term natural resource careers."

The award gives GulfCorps support for another four years of work, beginning September 1, 2021. The program will be implemented by The Nature Conservancy, The Student Conservation Association and The Corps Network. Over course of the program, GulfCorps expects to:

  • Employ 100 people a year for 4 consecutive years.
  • Positively impact more than 6,400 acres on over 250 project sites across the Gulf of Mexico through invasive species removal, prescribed fire, planting native species, habitat restoration and monitoring.
  • Place hundreds of GulfCorps graduates into careers and jobs in conservation.

“The Corps Network is proud to help lead the GulfCorps initiative,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “We are inspired by what this program has accomplished and look forward to the opportunity to continue engaging local young adults in building the resiliency of our Gulf Coast. On behalf of the Corps community, I extend gratitude to the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas for recognizing the power of this initiative to both strengthen our workforce and our lands and waters. The Corps Network stands ready to continue investing in the professional development of a new generation of restoration leaders.”

“SCA is grateful to the RESTORE Council for extending this initiative, which has been so effective in fostering resiliency and spurring job creation throughout the Gulf region,” said SCA CEO and President Stephanie Meeks. “However, more than a decade later, there is still more to be done to secure coastal habitats and a way of life for millions. SCA looks forward to working with our partners toward achieving this important goal.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.