Expanding Corps capacity along the Gulf of Mexico
to restore ecosystems and local economies.

The Need

Over the last decade, the Gulf Coast has been battered by natural and man-made disasters, one of the most notable being the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which released 4.9 million barrels-worth of crude oil into the Gulf. Damage to coastal ecosystems has affected the job prospects in many communities that depend on fishing and tourism.

The Solution

The Corps Network partnered with the Walton Family Foundation in 2013 to launch the Gulf Coast Restoration Initiative to build Conservation Corps capacity in the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas). Conservation Corps offer a way to both restore valuable coastal habitats and train young adults in marketable job skills for the growing restoration economy. Several new Corps have launched since the start of this initiative, and Corps are increasingly seen by state and local officials as a solution to the Gulf’s environmental and economic concerns.

The Goal

The Corps Network seeks to grow Corps capacity to employ more local young adults and veterans in restoration projects across the Gulf Coast.

 


GulfCorps Initiative

The GulfCorps initiative is a major part of The Corps Network’s activities on the Gulf Coast. Made possible by a $7 million RESTORE Act grant administered by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), GulfCorps officially launched in August 2017. Over three years, funds will be distributed evenly to the five Gulf Coast states to support existing local Corps in hiring young adults to conduct restoration and conservation activities. The Corps Network, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) will facilitate recruitment, training, and identification of projects. GulfCorps is expected to provide jobs to 300 young adults over the coming years.

 


Examples of Gulf Coast projects

COASTAL RESTORATION

  • Bank stabilization
  • Marsh creation
  • Barrier island restoration
MAINTENANCE & MONITORING

  • Construction of nesting boxes, fishing piers
  • Erosion control
  • Construction of irrigation and drainage systems
EMERGENCY RESPONSE

  • Debris removal
  • Levee protection
  • Hazardous material cleanup
ASSESSMENTS, STUDIES

  • Environmental sampling
  • Species monitoring
  • Population studies

 

Contact:

Stephanie Mathes
Director of Gulf Coast Operations
smathes@corpsnetwork.org

 (Photo by The Nature ConservancyClimb CDC Conservation Corps)