Tribal Youth Nature-Based Solutions Conservation Corps

women standing in garden talking

Veronica Cortina, left, and Janell Bunch, middle, discuss their plans for a youth conservation corps at the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians’ Community Garden in Tuolumne, CA.

The Tribal Nature-Based Solutions programs logo. The species depicted in the design – red abalone and white sage – are culturally important to many California Native American people and each species’ population is facing a rapid decline in nature.

The Tribal Youth Nature-Based Solutions Conservation Corps program (Tribal Corps) was established in 2022 in collaboration with the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to advance the objectives of Executive Order N-82-20 (PDF). Assembly Bill 179 (Section 52) allocates $10 million in grant funding exclusively available to California Native American tribes – federally-recognized or non-federally recognized – to establish tribal youth conservation corps programs.

The priority of the Tribal Corps grant program is to implement projects and develop programs designed to provide educational and career pathways for tribe’s young adults to engage in Nature-Based Solutions projects and programs on tribal lands that:

a) Support sustainable land management practices to tackle environmental, social, and economic challenges,
b) Promote biodiversity protection, habitat restoration, wildfire-resilient, sustainably managed landscapes, and other conservation outcomes, and
c) Accelerate natural removal of carbon and build climate resilience in our forests, wetlands, urban greenspaces, agricultural soils, and land conservation activities.

Tribal Corps Grant Program

The solicitation and award period for the CCC’s inaugural Tribal Corps grant cycle is now closed. The CCC awarded the full $10 million allocated by the legislature and grant awards were announced July 12, 2023. The following California Native American tribes were awarded funds to establish and operate a tribal youth conservation corps program for the purposes of implementing nature-based solutions on tribal lands:

  • Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California – $3,000,000
  • Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians – $2,400,000
  • Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians – $2,161,060
  • Bishop Paiute Tribe – $1,636,700
  • Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation – $801,117

More information about this program may be found in the Tribal Corps Grant Guidelines (PDF) or Grant Procedures Manual (PDF).