DNR’s Ear to the Ground blog has this release:
The Washington Senate today passed a measure that will consolidate the administration of four Washington Conservation Corps programs into one, creating the Puget SoundCorps composed of young adults and returning veterans. The measure, which was approved on a 39-9 vote, earlier received the approval of the House of Representatives. It now goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her signature.
The bill, requested by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, San Juan Island; and Rep. Steve Tharinger, Olympia.
The Puget SoundCorps will put more young people to work and, by emphasizing restoration on public lands, leverage federal funding for Puget Sound’s recovery. Photo: DNR.
An editorial a few weeks ago in The Olympian explained how the proposal would help the state get even more value from its currentWashington Conservation Corps (WCC) program. SoundCorps members would work on projects such as beach cleanup, removing bulkheads that are damaging habitat, removing barriers to fish passage in streams, and helping to repair or remove forest roads that are polluting streams with sediment.
The Washington Conservation Corps is a state-run program that provides on-the-job training to 18-to-25 year olds. Its projects currently take place on both sides of the Cascades. They work on habitat restoration, environmental assessment, toxics cleanup and air and water quality, emergency response, among other programs. Members receive an hourly wage, and, after working for a year or a six-month term, they get federally funded awards to help pay for college.
The Puget SoundCorps proposal could be a big boost to the effort to restore the Sound to health by 2020 and to job creation for young people and veterans – all the while using federal, not state dollars.