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California State Office
Release Date: 05/22/14
Contacts: Dana Wilson, (916) 978-4622    
News Release No. CA-SO-14-01

BLM Announces $2 Million in Funding to Hire Youth to Work on Public Lands in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As part of BLM's commitment to connecting youth and the outdoors, three projects in California today received funding to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities throughout the state.

The grants, funded in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NWFW), will provide jobs resulting in paid conservation work experiences for 52 youth on public lands in California, as well as fund materials, transportation and other related supplies. These projects will also support approximately 70 volunteers working on public lands.

The three projects selected, the Watershed Stewards Project; Taking Flight: Youth Make A Difference In Condor Recovery; and the Rancho Breisgan Riparian Habitat Restoration Project, in partnership with various federal, state, county, tribal and non-profit organizations, will focus on habitat restoration, monitoring, outreach and mentoring in communities across California.

"Connecting young people to the natural world is essential," said BLM California State Director Jim Kenna. "These projects are opportunities to engage young people from diverse backgrounds and equip them with the skills to become effective stewards of public lands."

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the grant recipients today at an event held at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge outside Denver, Colorado, where she was joined by U. S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Arthur "Butch" Blazer; Greg Knadle, Vice President for Government Relations of the NFWF; Refuge Manager David Lucas and youth corps members of Groundwork Denver.

The grants are part of the Department of the Interior's ambitious youth initiative to inspire millions of young adults and veterans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors and the President's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative.

The three projects selected in California are part of 43 recipients nationwide, receiving more than $6.7 million. The projects are being funded through the America's Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists, a competitive grant matching program launched in December 2011 in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Through the program, a total of $1.9 million in federal funds is being leveraged into the $6.7 million to support youth across the country. In addition to providing work for youth, the grants facilitate volunteer opportunities for youth and adult mentors.

The land management agencies participating in the NFWF Next Generation program include Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Department of Agriculture's U. S. Forest Service (USFS).  The National Park Service and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also are partners in some projects.  

The three projects in California are listed in detail below.  A list of the 43 national projects can be found HERE.

American Conservation Experience: Taking Flight: Youth Make A Difference In Condor Recovery

The American Conservation Experience (ACE), in partnership with the BLM and Pinnacles National Park, will connect youth to public lands through an innovative, multi-scale conservation project that will provide jobs and applied job skills training to local and tribal youth. ACE will hire 23 youth to work on a large conservation program that includes endangered species protection, habitat restoration, community building, and environmental interpretation that will benefit BLM lands managed for conservation. Project activities and training will include: radio tracking condors, habitat restoration (such as microtrash collection, native seed collection, seeding, and invasive plant control), outreach through public speaking and presentations, video and web design for nature interpretation and mentoring other youth through K-12 school programs. The youth will have job shadowing opportunities with professional natural resource managers and educators at the BLM field office in Hollister, the Condor and Habitat Restoration programs, and the University of California, Santa Cruz Environmental Toxicology Lab. A total of 32 project volunteers from surrounding communities will also carry out activities in the field to directly enhance California condor survival and restore their habitat.

Project Location: San Benito, Monterey and Fresno Counties.

California Conservation Corps: Watershed Stewards Project

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) will partner with various federal, state, county, tribal, and non-profit organizations to work together to revitalize priority watersheds throughout California, as identified by BLM and Reclamation. Twenty youth (aged 18-25) will be hired for the CCC's Watershed Stewards Project to address watershed and fish habitat restoration needs through the implementation of a five-part strategy: Watershed Protection and Recovery, Watershed Education, Community Outreach, Volunteer Recruitment, and Member Development. Activities will include restoration and/or monitoring of stream, riparian, and upland habitat and outreach presentations to schools and community groups to inform and engage community members in anadromous fish watershed restoration projects. The Real Science curriculum will increase participant knowledge of watershed processes and placement partners will provide training in natural resource management and other topics to better prepare the youth for professional careers in related fields.

Project Location:The Watershed Stewards Project partners with various organizations who work in anadromous watersheds in California. Current partners are located as far north as Yreka and as far south as Santa Monica.

River Partners: Rancho Breisgan Riparian Habitat Restoration Project

River Partners will partner with BLM to restore 306 acres of riparian habitat on Rancho Breisgau, located at the confluence of the Battle Creek and the Sacramento River. Battle Creek is the largest Sacramento River tributary north of the Feather River. Its headwaters originate in Lassen Volcanic National Park. BLM's 426-acre Rancho Breisgau property lies three miles downstream of the Coleman National Fish Hatchery, the largest anadromous fish hatchery in the contiguous 48 states, which releases over 12 million Chinook salmon and Steelhead into Battle Creek annually. The project site is also located adjacent to the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project, the 18,500 acre Sacramento River Bend Area of Critical Environmental Concern and the BLM National Recreation Area. The project will support specific components of restoration work, including invasive species removal, native seed collection, seed processing, mowing and discing. A total of 10 California Conservation Corps youth will be hired to engage in this restoration work.

Project Location:The project is located near the confluence of the Sacramento River and Battle Creek.


California State Office   2800 Cottage Way W1623, Sacramento, CA 95925  

Last updated: 05-22-2014