Veterans Corps Fisheries Program in partnership with NOAA

Corpsmember Dustin Casey stands knee deep in the water of the redd, wearing a blue cap and hiking backpack as he consults an electronic handheld device and prepares to write data on a notepad in his other hand.

Veterans Corps Fisheries Program Corpsmember Dustin Casey conducts a redd survey in Manzana Creek in the Los Padres National Forest. A redd is a gravel nest where female trout and salmon deposit their eggs.

The Veterans Corps Fisheries Program is a partnership between the California Conservation Corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that gives U.S. military veterans new opportunities to build their skills and work experience by restoring habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead, and conducting fisheries research and monitoring.

The Veterans Corps program effectively combines two important national priorities:

  1. Supporting and promoting new job opportunities for veterans
  2. Protecting and restoring endangered species

Veterans in the program develop lasting skills and expertise in natural resources management through training and on-the-ground experience with fisheries biologists and other experts positioning them to compete successfully for permanent employment in environmental and natural resource fields. Some skills developed include:

  • Riparian restoration
  • Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) camera techniques
  • Adult & juvenile fish identification
  • Downstream migrant trapping
  • Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagging
  • White water safety
  • Snorkeling techniques
  • Instream flow monitoring
  • Habitat survey training

Veterans can enroll as Corpsmembers, where they can have housing and earn scholarship money toward continuing their education. Alternatively, veterans can live at home and work in the program as Special Corpsmembers, where they can receive higher pay. Scholarship money is not available to Special Corpsmembers. Opportunities vary by center location.


• No experience required and all gear provided

• Classroom and field instruction from environmental scientists with partner agencies

• Hands-on, practical experience with professionaly recognized restoration techniques


• Must be a U.S. military veteran age 18 to 29 in possession of a DD214

• Corpsmembers must be willing to work in backcountry conditions, in streams, and with the possibility of overnights including camping and backpacking


• Learn new skills for careers in natural resources and fisheries

• Field experience is highly valued and leads to employment opportunities

• Make a meaningful difference in the health of your local environment, community, and our wildlife

Veterans participating in this program have gained employment within:

  • California Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
  • South Dakota Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Information Technology industry
Female Corpsmember holds pot of plant while showing three young children how to properly plant it
Two Corpsmembers in hip-waders stand in creek taking measurements, while others in background record data
Corpsmember in snorkel gear peers into stream, while another Corpsmember watches over them on top of a nearby rock