The Nature Conservancy (TNC) launched an innovative regional initiative this month called the GulfCorps Program. Three hundred jobs are expected to be created over three years thanks to the innovative conservation effort. The $7 million-dollar project will be carried out by a partnership formed with TNC, The Corps Network, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and NOAA. The project is funded through coordination with the NOAA Restoration Center and the RESTORE Council.

The intent is to hire local young people impacted by the 2010 oil spill. These new local stewards will engage projects that protect and restore critical habitat in the region. The initial program is for three years; but, organizers hope the program can expand to support restoration efforts in the long-term.

Crews will be trained and then work in activities such as planting native vegetation, removing invasive species, and restoring stream banks and shorelines. With a foundation in strong restoration skills, TNC and their partners are both restoring the Gulf and creating jobs. The GulfCorps concept is based off traditional conservation corps programs. Early partners are The Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast in Apalachicola, Fl.; The Student Conservation Association in Mobile, AL; Climb CDC Conservation Corps in Gulfport, MS; Limitless Vistas Inc. in New Orleans, LA; and American Youth Works in Houston, TX.

Read the Q&A with TNC’s Jeff Dequattro, Restoration Director for the Gulf Mexico and GulfCorps Program Director.