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Firefighter trainees dig out a fire line during the Forest Service and California Conservation Corps joint training session. (Photo: fs.USDA.gov)

California’s Two Conservation Entities: What’s the Difference?

Former Governor Jerry Brown established the CCC in 1976

By Chris Micheli, September 17, 2020 7:31 am

California has two conservation-related entities: Department of Conservation and the California Conservation Corps. What’s the difference?

Department of Conservation

Public Resources Code Division 1, Chapter 2, Sections 600 to 690 set forth the Department of Conservation. Chapter 2 was added in 1965. Article 1 deals with the DOC’s organization and general powers. Specifically, Section 601 specifies that there is in the Resources Agency the Department of Conservation. The DOC is conducted under the control of an executive officer who is the Director of Conservation. The DOC Director is appointed by the Governor and holds office at the pleasure of the Governor. The Director’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the State Senate.

The DOC’s mission is to “balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s challenges and fosters intelligent, sustainable, and efficient use of California’s energy, land, and mineral resources.” And, its stated vision is “a safe, sustainable environment for all Californians.”

The DOC includes the following entities: California Geological Society, Division of Land Resource Protection, Geologic Energy Management Division, and Division of Mine Reclamation.

California Conservation Corps

Public Resources Code Division 12 established in the California Conservation Corps in 1976. It is contained in Sections 14000 to 14424. Chapter 1 sets forth findings and declarations of policy in Sections 14000 to 14004. In Section 14001, it provides, in the Natural Resources Agency, there is the California Conservation Corps which is responsible for carrying out the purposes of and implementing the findings and policies established in statute.

In addition, in Section 14002, the Legislature finds and declares that the California Conservation Corps provides an invaluable service. Specifically, the Legislature supports the corps’ mission to enhance the educational opportunities and employability of corps members. To further this mission, local community college districts and the corps are encouraged to enter into cooperative agreements so that corps members have access to equal educational opportunities.

According to the CCC, it is the oldest and largest conservation corps in the nation. It provides young adults with a year of paid service to the State. The CCC members work on environmental projects and respond to natural and man-made disasters.  Former Governor Jerry Brown established the CCC in 1976. Since that time, more than 120,000 young adults have served in the Corps over its 40-plus year history.

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2 thoughts on “California’s Two Conservation Entities: What’s the Difference?

  1. The California Conservation Corps was actually an offshoot of the California Ecology Corps, which was created by Ronald Reagan in 1971. It was designed to fill a void created by the dwindling number of qualified inmates available to staff the camps of firefighting hand crews (sound familiar?) and to create ‘alternative service’ opportunities for Vietnam war era conscientious objectors.
    I spent two years at the Vallecito Camp near Angels Camp from 1972 through 1974. One of the men I worked with went on to a very successful career with CDF and retired as a battalion chief after almost 32 years of service.
    It was a great program. I have a lot of fond memories of the two years I spent there.

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