Placement Site Applicants

image salmonid fish

Underwater view of salmonid count.

Year 28 (2021-2022) Placement Site Applications will become available here early January 2021

All materials will be due February in 2021

If you have any questions, please contact

Each year, the Watershed Stewards Program partners with approximately 25 natural resource organizations throughout California to support and mentor our WSP Members as they begin their careers as natural resources professionals.

The Placement Site Selection Process
Representatives from community-based watershed groups, private landowners, local tribes, governmental agencies, legislative field personnel, program founders, program staff, and WSP Team Leaders make up the WSP Advisory Committee. Together, they review all applications for compliance with WSP objectives and the ability to provide Members with a rewarding term of service.

Placement Site Applications emphasizing these qualities will be given priority:

  • Alignment of Member activities with WSP’s mission, objectives, and performance measures
  • Diversity of Member activities and professional development opportunities, including hands-on field training
  • High quality mentorship (see “Mentor Position Description” below)
  • Watershed recovery work in high-need; coastal anadromous watersheds
  • Member housing opportunities and site vehicle availability
  • Flexibility and support for all areas of Member service, including education and outreach
  • Funding security
  • For existing sites only: Current and prior year(s) performance and compliance will be taken into consideration
Application Process Calendar for Year 27

January 3, 2020
Placement Site Applications Released

February 3, 2020
Placement Sites Applications DUE to

April 9th, 2020
Placement Sites chosen and notified

April 20th, 2020
Placement Sites email to confirm acceptance of WSP offer

April – July, 2020
WSP Program Coordinators conduct initial interviews with applicants

June 2nd, 2020
WSP/Placement Site contracts distributed by WSP

July 1st, 2020
WSP/Placement Site contracts and Placement Site Handbook DUE to

July 7 – 20, 2020
Placement Site Mentors interview WSP Corpmember applicants

July 20, 2020
WSP Corpsmember applicant rankings DUE to

July 29th, 2020
WSP staff offer positions to applicants, applicants must decide if they will accept or decline the position and placement by this date. 

August – September
WSP Program Coordinators continue to recruit alternate applicants in case a finalist drops out.

September TBD
Placement Site Training – Webinar for Mentors and Site Supervisors

October 4th – October 14th, 2020
WSP Corpsmember Orientation in Fortuna, CA

October 16th – October 19th , 2020
WSP Corpsmembers report to Placement Sites (sites determine exact date/time/location)

August 19, 2021
WSP Member Recognition Ceremony – location TBD

Benefits of Partnering with WSP

As a program of the California Conservation Corps for the past 26 years, WSP has created a solid reputation throughout the natural resource community.

When you partner with WSP, you receive the following:

Exclusive Recruitment: WSP staff conducts initial interviews and provides sites with a minimum of eight well-matched applicants to interview and select from. Complete application packets are provided (WSP Application, Resume, Cover Letter, Letters of Recommendation, and initial interview notes/score).
Extensive Member Screening: WSP conducts an extensive screening process before Members arrive to you site, including:

·       DOJ/FBI criminal history check

·       NSOPR (National Sex Offender) check

·       Pre-employment physical and drug test

·       DMV Driving Record pull

Covered Employer Costs: WSP covers employer costs, including:

·       Monthly stipends (around minimum wage)

·       Workers compensation

·       Healthcare benefits and liability insurance

·       Reimbursement for WSP-related travel

·       Field Gear and Uniform

·       Employee Assistance Program

Covered Member Benefit Costs: WSP provides Members with many benefits, including:

·       Estimated $6k+ scholarship upon completion of the year’s commitments

·       No-cost medical and dental insurance

·       Full uniform (pants, shirts, jackets, raingear, hats)

·       First aid kits and rope bags

·       Field gear (waders, stream boots)

Thorough Member Training and Certifications: Members come to sites with the following training:

·       State and Federal employee policies (EEO, Health & Safety)

·       Wilderness First Aid/CPR & Swift Water Training with Sierra Rescue

·       CCC driver safety training

·       Professional development

Public Outreach: Members conduct vital community outreach and provide positive public relations for agencies.
Member/Mentor Support: WSP staff are available throughout the year to provide valuable support to both Placement Sites and Members. WSP staff travel to Placement Sites to conduct annual Site Visits to ensure all partners and Members are supported.
Member Management Support: WSP provides Placement Sites with on-going support in the areas of Member management and discipline (if the rare need arises).
Placement Site Responsibilities
  1. Placement Sites must provide a dollar match per Member based on the following sliding scale:
    Program Year Agency Sliding Scale Agency (with Housing) Sliding Scale Non-Profit
    27 – 2020 – 2021 $15,000 – $17,000 $13,900 – $16,500 $10,500 – $14,500
    CDFW Partners do NOT pay a match since FRGP funds cover this cost
  2. Site must provide full-time, rewarding work for Members that aligns with WSP’s service areas (see below).
  3. All designated Mentors must have experience in supervision.
  4. Site is not political and doesn’t have a negative reputation in community.
    Please note: All hours served by WSP Members must be non-controversial and non-political in nature and directly relate to the WSP mission. WSP Members cannot be engaged in general clerical support or regulatory activities, and WSP Members cannot supplant staff positions. Organizations that do not meet these guidelines will not be considered as WSP Placement Sites.
  5. At least one representative (preferably Site Supervisor & all Mentors) must attend WSP’s Placement Site Training annually.
  6. Members must have regular access to office space, telephone, computer, Internet, and an agency vehicle or reimbursement ($.58/mile) for private vehicle use for site specific work.
  7. Members must always work with a CPR/First Aid trained field partner. WSP trains all Members in Wilderness First Aid/ CPR and Swiftwater Training.
  8. Sites must participate in the recruitment and Member selection process, including conducting interviews via telephone in mid-July.
  9. Ensure Members adhere to all AmeriCorps and WSP policies.
  10. Mentors support Members as they complete their service requirements, which include:
    • Serve the full 10.5-month term (1700 hours)
    • Coordinate a Watershed Awareness Project (a community-based volunteer restoration project) and recruit a minimum of 30 volunteers.
    • Conduct Wonders of Watersheds lessons (six one-hour visits) in a local classroom. (min. 25 students)
    • Attend all required WSP trainings (Orientation, Regional Training, and WSP Retreat) and all required outreach events for their district, which change slightly from year to year.
    • Serve a minimum of four hours on at least two National Service Days. (dates vary each year)
Member Activities

During their AmeriCorps term of service, WSP Members gain experience in five areas: Watershed Recovery and Protection, Watershed Education, Community Outreach, Volunteer Recruitment, and Member Development. They spend approximately 72% of their time engaged in work with their Placement Site, while the remaining time is spent working on WSP requirements. The majority of projects that Members do at their Placement Sites must be hands-on restoration work, and align with the following guidelines:

  • Invasive Removals: Members may remove non-native invasive plant species that use large amounts of water and decrease available resources for fish, wildlife, and humans. Members may also assist in the removal of some invasive/non-native macroinvertebrates and fish species that are outcompeting salmonids in their natal watersheds.
  • Riparian Restoration/Revegetation: Members may assist in rebuilding and expanding riparian buffers through revegetation projects. Members will also restore the riparian corridor by planting willow cuttings streamside to increase cover and reduce bank erosion, as well as conducting broadcast seeding of native grass or forbs on hill slopes to stabilize soils and reduce erosion. Some nursery propagation is acceptable.
  • In-Channel Restoration: Members may assist with installing large woody debris structures and creating off-channel ponds to recharge ground water levels and restore rearing habitat for salmonids. Members may remove/improve fish passage barriers and monitor culverts during storm events to ensure they are clear of debris. Members may monitor water quality and quantity to assist our partners in ensuring community agriculture and industry does not exceed their total maximum daily loads of pollutants. Other activities may include riparian fence instillation, litter removal, culvert improvements, etc.
  • Erosion Control/Sediment Load Reduction: Members may assist with decommissioning roads in an effort to reduce sediment input into streams, which limits salmonid’s available food resources and habitat quality and quantity. Members may participate in fuel reduction projects to decrease fire potential and proliferation.
  • Water Conservation: In an effort to prepare for the effects of climate change, WSP members may install water catchment systems and rain water gardens on public lands. Using these conservation techniques in central and southern California will increase water availability during summer low flow conditions, mitigate storm water runoff from rain events, and help to recharge depleting groundwater and stream flow.
  • Pre-Project Data Collection and Project Maintenance: Members may assist with pre-project data collection needed to establish project goals and monitoring objectives by conducting: implementation monitoring, habitat typing, spawner surveys, restoration site assessment, presence/absence surveys, dive surveys, etc. Members may engage in project maintenance such as effectiveness monitoring, weeding, and watering to ensure the success of the watershed recovery and protection interventions.

Members engage in other activities under the guidance of WSP staff, including the following:

Education: All Members must teach the Wonders of Watershed (WOW!) Education Program to at least one classroom of K-8th grade students (minimum of 25 students). The WOW! curriculum consists of six lessons pertaining to: watersheds, conservation, the water cycle, the salmonid life cycle, habitats, and anatomy.

Outreach: All Members participate in one outreach event during their time with WSP, these events may change from year to year and will be defined by WSP staff (SFR Conference, WSP Spring Training, , etc.). These events are generally outdoor education-focused. Members are encouraged to participate in other promotion of WSP and watershed education while with their Placement Site.

Volunteer Recruitment: All Members must organize one Watershed Awareness Project (WAP) a hands-on community restoration project. Members are responsible for facilitating the event and recruiting at least 30 community volunteers.

Member Development: WSP provides many training opportunities for Members. The year begins with a week-long Orientation, followed by a Regional Training in November to introduce Members to the education and volunteer recruitment aspects of the program. Finally, all Members come together in the summer to exit the program and celebrate their service term at the Recognition Ceremony in a centralized location in California.

The work that Members do at their Placement Sites must align with WSP’s mission and goals and coincide with WSP guidelines.

Mentor Position Description


  • Strong professional standing, educational background, and supervisory experience
  • Professional association with a WSP Placement Site
  • Minimum of three years of expert skill and knowledge in natural resources
  • Experience in mentoring young professionals within the area of focus
  • Dedication to service within the community
  • Previous WSP Members must have three years of post-WSP experience before qualifying as a Mentor

Detailed description of mentor duties (PDF)

WSP Funding Sources

WSP Funding Sources

  • California Conservation Corps, 9%
  • Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, 39%
  • AmeriCorps, 30%
  • Placement Site Partners, 22%