And People

by Christopher Lim

Central Coast Salmon Enhancement is committed to inspiring future generations of environmental stewards. One way we do this is through a partnership with the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP).

WSP is a group of young people, typically just out of college, throughout California whose mission is to “conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous (salmon and trout-bearing) watersheds for future generations by linking education with high quality scientific practices.” Their mission is perfectly aligned with our work here at Central Coast Salmon Enhancement and for this 10-month term, we welcome two new corpsmembers to our staff.

Above: Brittany (left) and Katey ready to collect eelgrass data

Above: Brittany (left) and Katey ready to collect eelgrass data

As AmeriCorps members, WSP members receive a small monthly stipend yet receive on-the-job training they might typically not receive so early in their career. Often times our members end their term and either receive a job offer or move on to graduate school.

In addition to the restoration and environmental education work with us, our corpsmembers receive an even wider range of experiences due to sharing their supervision with our partners, California Conservation Corps (CCC), the City of San Luis Obispo, and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. Corpsmembers could be working on low impact development projects that address water conservation with the CCC, restoring urban creeks with the City of SLO, or monitoring eelgrass with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. We appreciate the corpsmembers’ high level of energy, fresh ideas, and strong background in science.

We’d like to introduce you to our newest WSP members, Brittany and Katey. We are excited to have them on the team and look forward to a fun and productive year.

To help you get to know them a little better, we asked them several questions.

1. What is your interest in water, watersheds, and/or Steelhead trout?

Brittany: My main interest is marine biology and marine conservation, but I’m well aware everything that goes down into storm drains eventually goes into the ocean. I’m a big picture person- I see how everything is connected or rather interconnected, so I know that by protecting and conserving water, watersheds and Steelhead, I’m helping everything in a sense.

Katey: As a lifelong resident of California, I know how contentious an issue water is, especially with the ongoing drought. Water conservation has always been extremely important to me, because ultimately it creates the base of an entire environment. Water links us all.

2. What has been the highlight of your first few weeks of the term?

Brittany: Yesterday we got to help the Morro Bay National Estuary Project with some eelgrass monitoring! It was cool to have sea otters distract me while I counted eelgrass.

Katey: Eeelgrass monitoring at the Morro Bay Estuary. We got to wade into the water to check on the eelgrass, which is something I’ve never done before. We were surrounded by birds and even an otter, and it was just an awesome experience.

3. What do you hope to get out of your year of service?

Brittany: I hope to get a lot of experience in field work and data collection that will make me a more competitive employee as I look for work after this term. I also hope this term will give me time to really think about what it is I want to do after this term, figuring out my likes and dislikes, etc.

Katey: I’m hoping to get out of my comfort zone a little and learn more about the different aspects of environmentalism. My background is heavy on the scientific side, so I’m looking forward to doing hands-on restoration work and working with the public in education projects.

4. How do you like living on the Central Coast?

Brittany: So far I really enjoy it. I love living so close to the ocean and having such great weather. Lately I’ve gotten into Ecstatic Dance.

Katey: I love the Central Coast. I’m from the Los Angeles area, and though I love it too, the urban sprawl and endless traffic can be exhausting. The pace of life here in the Central Coast is much more relaxed, and everything is so beautiful- the area has a wonderfully unique character to it.