More than 400 conservation jobs coming to the Gulf Coast
Published 9:08 am Thursday, April 29, 2021
GULFPORT, MS – 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 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 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.
“Whenever TNC can be a part of bringing hundreds of jobs to our area it is a win for everyone across the board and gives young adults opportunities they would not get anywhere else. Several young professionals from Mississippi have participated in the GulfCorps program and discovered a love of conservation which led to careers in that field,” said Alex Littlejohn, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi.
“Our TNC staff has helped train the GulfCorps participants in the highly skilled areas of prescribed burning. They also participated in building a living shoreline in Biloxi. This is an incredible opportunity for real hands-on job training in the field of conservation,” said Littlejohn.
“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 damaged 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 the 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 important initiative that has been so effective in fostering resiliency and spurring job creation throughout the Gulf region,” said SCA CEO and President Stephanie K Meeks.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue this work, and thank the members of the RESTORE Council for their belief and trust in the program” said GulfCorps Program Director Jeff DeQuattro. “Their decision to support GulfCorps will leave an impressive legacy of conservation that is helping people, communities, and nature recover from the 2010 oil spill.”