Monterey Bay Center

Corpsmembers remove a portion of the wooden retention wall along a closed trail at New Brighton State Beach. The crew removed landslide debris and rebuilt the retaining walls for improved safety.

The Monterey Bay Center is located in Watsonville, California. The non-residential center manages three crews consisting of 45 Corpsmembers. These crews provide resource conservation work such as trail construction, wetland habitat restoration, and fire hazard fuel reduction in the Watsonville and surrounding communities.

In collaboration with CAL FIRE, the center operates a wildland firefighting hand crew which provides Corpsmembers with hands-on, paid experience leading to meaningful careers in the fire service.

The Monterey Bay Center has a full gym with free weights, and exercise machines. Located 30 minutes from both Santa Cruz and Monterey, the center is about 10 miles from the ocean which results in a mild climate.

30 Aviation Way
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 768-0150

Monterey Bay Center

Life at the Monterey Bay Center

Corpsmembers volunteering with children to plant trees and plants.

Corpsmembers from the Monterey Bay Center enjoying a lunch break on Fremont Peak. 

Corpsmembers work Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They must be prepared to start work in their proper uniform with lunch, water, and full safety gear by roll call at 7 a.m. Most projects are within an hour drive from the center. The crews return to the center around 5 p.m., at which time they clean vehicles and tools, then return the tools to where they belong. In addition, Corpsmembers are able to attend classes after work to satisfy their required educational hours.

On the weekends, there are plenty of community volunteer activities available to interest Corpsmembers and meet the CCC’s requirement for volunteer service. Otherwise, Corpsmembers are free to do what they’d like.


Corpsmembers from the Monterey Bay Center restoring a habitat on Bird Island.

CCC Monterey Bay crews worked to help the Santa Cruz County community by staffing food distribution events in Watsonville and helping the Santa Cruz County Food Bank.

The Monterey Bay Center’s natural resource projects include trail rehabilitation, trail construction, fire hazard reduction, tree planting, native plant restoration, landscaping, park development, and minor construction. Crews have also constructed trails to meet American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The Monterey Bay Center has a Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Program, which includes riparian restoration, exotic species removal, fish-passage improvement, stream bank stabilization and upper watershed erosion control. Center projects take place primarily in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, though it is not uncommon to work on projects outside of these areas.

Some project sponsors include the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California State Parks, the Big Sur Land Trust, Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, Resource Conservation Districts, and Central Coast Energy Services.

The Monterey Bay Center has a long history of fully participating in emergency response throughout California. Crews respond each fire season, providing logistical and facility support to help fire camps operate smoothly. Other emergencies that the Monterey Bay Center has responded to include earthquakes, search and rescue efforts, and Department of Food and Agriculture emergencies such as Mediterranean fruit fly infestations. Corpsmembers also support the American Red Cross in providing shelter and food. When responding to emergencies, Corpsmembers may be away from home and their regular conservation work for several weeks.

Wildland Firefighting: The CCC Monterey Bay Center operates a wildland firefighting hand crew in partnership with CAL FIRE. Corpsmembers receive training and hands-on experience working with CAL FIRE captains responding to wildfires year-round locally and across the state. The center is collaborating with the CAL FIRE San Mateo Santa Cruz (CZU) unit to operate the crew. Wildland hand crews help build fire line with hand tools and conduct mop-up work.

Education and Training

Corpsmembers at the Monterey Bay Center using a variety of tools.

Corpsmembers Shane Boswell and Kimberly Reyes-Maravillo pull tree limbs into wood chipper as they treated 6.5 acres during a week of work near Morgan Hill.

All Corpsmembers at the Monterey Bay Center complete Corpsmember Orientation, Motivation, Education, and Training (COMET) and core training courses. Once completed with all required CCC competencies, Corpsmembers are encouraged to take college courses.

Aside from these evening courses, various training opportunities, seminars, and workshops are offered to Corpsmembers throughout each year. These are designed to ensure their successful program completion and to assist them in becoming more responsible, well-rounded, and highly employable adults following their experience in the CCC.

Specialized trainings and certifications offered at the Monterey Bay Center include:

  • Backcountry Trail Construction & Maintenance
  • CAL FIRE Wildland Firefighting Training
  • Caltrans’ Internship Program
  • Chain Saw Training
  • Chipper Safety & Training
  • Construction & Trades Training
  • Cross Cut Saw
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Flora and Fauna Identification
  • Ladder Safety
  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) 40-Hour Training
  • Leave No Trace
  • Power Tools Safety and Operation
  • Safety Stand Down
  • Small Engine Repair
  • Trail Construction and Maintenance