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

“The wind is with us, but I wish it was the force.” This was a quote by a nice man in California City, one of many interesting characters we encountered this weekend while performing outreach. This 4-day mini-hitch consisted of hanging out with our local off-roaders, to educate them about the Rands Mountain Management Area permit program.

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Desert Restoration Corps campsite at SC88 in the Jawbone-Butterbredt area.

AllCorps is an event in during which SCA crews come together to camp, intermingle, and work to complete a project. This AllCorps challenged the Jawbone/Rands crews, Wilderness crews, and WildCorps crews to construct a fence roughly a mile in length along sections of SC51 and LA2 in the Jawbone Mountain area to prevent illegal riding routes around Robber’s Roost, an important bird of prey nesting locale. It was a whirlwind of a hitch, best described in rhyme…

 

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A different sort of hitch, indeed. This hitch we were out in the field for only two days. The entire Jawbone/Rands crew did restoration in Jawbone. Thanks in large part to our larger than average crew of ten, we finished two of the toughest incursions we have yet to face in only two days! Half the ground there was lithified. With a total of 504.55 meters restored, 157 vertical mulch planted and 33 meters of berm, we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.

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We have officially finished our first hitch, and boy do we feel spoiled so far! We spent the last ten days getting to know each other in one of the most beautiful locations with some of the nicest agency contacts in America! I know you may thinking, boy Leah… that is a mighty big exaggeration, but I’m here to tell you how true this statement is.

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Welcome to our riveting Wild50 blog! My name is Leah, and I am lucky enough to be The SCA Project Leader for this absolutely wonderful Desert Restoration Crew- The Wild50 team.
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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.