California Conservation Corps

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California Conservation Corps
Conservation Corps
Agency overview
FormedJuly 7, 1976
Headquarters1719 24th Street, Sacramento, California
Employees1,500 - 2000
Annual budget$90.7 million (2016)
Agency executive
  • Bruce Saito, Director
Parent agencyCalifornia Resources Agency

The California Conservation Corps, or the CCC, is a department of the government of California, falling under the state cabinet-level California Resources Agency. The CCC is a voluntary work development program specifically for men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 (up to 29 for veterans[1]), offering work in environmental conservation, fire protection, land maintenance, and emergency response to natural disasters. Members of the CCC are referred to as "Corpsmembers", and are paid a monthly stipend; starting July 2022, the amount was $2,600.[2]


The bill to create the California Conservation Corps was co-authored by California State Senator Ruben Ayala.[3] The legislation was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 7, 1976, modeling the corps after the federal Civilian Conservation Corps that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal in the 1930s. Brown envisioned a department marketed specifically to the state's young people as "a combination Jesuit seminary, Israeli kibbutz, and Marine Corps boot camp."[4] Prominent amongst the early CCC administrators was war hero B. T. Collins. The CCC replaced the California Ecology Corps that was created by executive order[5] of Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971 as an "alternative service" option for Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War.[6]

California Conservation Corpsmembers cutting fire control line.
Conservation Corpsmembers cutting fire control line.

Following the end of his governorship, Brown's successor, Governor George Deukmejian, signed legislation to eliminate the CCC's sunset clause by making it a permanent department under the California Resources Agency in 1983.

The duties of operation falling to the CCC include trail maintenance, riparian zone restoration, tree planting and exotic plant species removal, construction, and emergency flood and wildfire response. Other organizations pay the CCC to do the work. Corpsmembers are offered the chance to complete their high school diploma through independent CCC schools and are trained in cooking, office work, chainsaw, and vehicle maintenance. The CCC also encourages corpsmembers to seek higher education or vocational training by offering scholarships.

Corpsmembers in some centers across the state participate in CAB (Corpsmember Advisory Board), an employee/ resident board established to be the middle ground. The board is responsible for community check ups and upholding a strong morale among the center's population, as well as bringing up pressing concerns the community faces on a weekly basis.

Since 1992, the California Department of Finance has allotted less funding to the CCC, forcing the closure of numerous residential centers throughout the state.

The CCC has received presidential praise as well as numerous awards for its work.[7]

Related organizations[edit]

There are Fourteen local conservation corps groups in California[8] that are certified annually by the CCC to offer similar job training, education, and environmental projects in other areas of California.[9]

  • Cesar Chavez Environmental Corps – Tehachapi, CA
  • Civicorps – Oakland, CA
  • Conservation Corps North Bay – San Rafael, CA
  • Conservation Corps of Long Beach – Long Beach, CA
  • Fresno Local Conservation Corps – Fresno, CA
  • Greater Valley Conservation Corps – Stockton, CA
  • Los Angeles Conservation Corps – Los Angeles, CA
  • Orange County Conservation Corps – Anaheim, CA
  • Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps – Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco Conservation Corps – San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose Conservation Corps – San Jose, CA
  • Sequoia Community Corps – Visalia, CA
  • Urban Conservation Corps of the Inland Empire – San Bernardino, CA
  • Urban Corps of San Diego County – San Diego, CA

Urban Corps of San Diego[edit]

The San Diego local corps was founded in 1989 with help from former Representative Lynn Schenk and then-Mayor Maureen O'Connor, with an initial budget of $125,000.[10] They engage in a variety of community service and conservation projects, including stadium cleanup,[11][12] trash pickup[13] and graffiti removal.[14] There are about 200 Corpsmembers employed at any given time.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Veterans Programs". 2014.
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". CCC. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  3. ^ Woo, Elaine (January 7, 2012). "Ruben S. Ayala dies at 89; known as a maverick state senator". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "CCC History". 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  5. ^ "California plans 'ecology corps'". The Bulletin. 28 June 1971. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Reagan Announces Creation Of California Ecology Corps". St. Petersburg Times. 28 April 1971. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Awards & Accolades". At A Glance. CCC. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Local Conservation Corps". October 30, 2019.
  9. ^ "Local Conservation Corps". CALCC. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Rising from the Trenches Part 2". San Diego Reader. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Qualcomm Stadium's Recycling Program" (PDF). EPA Archive. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  12. ^ "Demonstrating Collective Impact" (PDF). Corps Network. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Mayor Faulconer announces expansion of 'Clean SD' program". KUSI News. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Pacific Beach Graffiti Clean Up set for April 29". SD Community Newspaper. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "Item 13 Supporting Documents" (PDF). CA State Treasurer's Office. Retrieved August 7, 2018.

External links[edit]