Desert Restoration Corps

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission (CA-OHV) which has produced a decade of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California.

The first eight months of the DRC are based out of Ridgecrest, CA. Each team will live and work out of remote tent camps for 10-day periods while undertaking projects, allowing members to fully experience the lands being served. While the majority of the season is devoted to mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation in the desert surrounding Ridgecrest, Teams will take on additional projects elsewhere in California as the heat of the desert summer encroaches on the final two months of the DRC season. Projects typically include habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, trail work/assessment, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.

Members of the Desert Restoration Corps receive or have the option to receive the following trainings or certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course
  • S212 Chainsaw Certification
  • Advanced Off Highway Vehicle training
  • Peer Leadership
  • Restoration Philosophy and Practice
  • Trail Skills

During the 10-month DRC season, members will restore, protect, and monitor thousands of acres of desert wilderness and will complete a number of other conservation projects. The Peer Leadership model will also provide leadership experience for all members.   

Applicants must be between 18-25 years of age and must pass a background check.

The DRC is one of SCA’s most challenging programs. Members should be prepared to live and work as a small community in very remote locations. Environmental conditions can be harsh, and the projects themselves are physically and mentally challenging. However, those able to meet these challenges will receive an incredible experience!

Related Posts & Program Information

Woot! Back in the mojave.
I am a former corps member, having spent the 2010-11 season living it up in the Owens Peak Wilderness. I’m happy to return as a Project Leader and expand my knowledge of the Rand Mountains and continue my exploration of the southern Sierra Nevada and the various ranges and basins to the east.

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It was another hot morning in Yucca Valley as we finished our final checks and pulled onto the highway for our six hour drive to Carrizo Plain National Monument, a 240,000 acre tract between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara that remains largely unknown to all but birders, hunters and archaeologists.

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Vertical Mulch: The collection and artistic arrangement of dead and downed plant matter into fake bushes. This process is capable of producing woody perennial growth in as little as two years for the following reasons:
1) It creates a visual barrier. The vast majority of people who ride off-highway vehicles illegally on federal lands do so without knowing they are on illegal routes.

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The Jawboners have landed! We spent the first five days of our season getting to know each other, our area, our stuff, and playing lots of games involving animals. After a day of taking in lots of important information and getting to know our vehicles, we set off for two nights in beautiful Jawbone.

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This September-October (Septober), five crews gathered in Great Falls Basin for seventeen days of Restoration corps member training. Great Falls, fondly known as GFB, is the site of a natural waterfall in rainier seasons and is surrounded by majestic mountains and rock outcroppings.

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Parents Corner

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet.