Watershed Stewards Program

  • CA

About Us

The Watershed Stewards Project's (WSP) mission is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous watersheds for future generations by linking education with high quality scientific practices. 

For over 20 years, the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP) has been engaged in comprehensive, community-based, watershed restoration and education throughout coastal California. The primary focus of WSP is to assist communities and organizations with habitat restoration for salmonids (Chinook salmon, Coho salmon and steelhead trout) in order to rehabilitate these threatened and endangered species to healthy and historic populations. Additionally, WSP provides watershed education and outreach in high-needs communities throughout the state, engages WSP Members in volunteer recruitment efforts to increase the capacity and reach of partner organizations, and helps Members develop into the next generation of natural resource professionals.

Each year, WSP places approximately 50 Members with natural resource organization Placement Sites throughout California to work collaboratively for their 10 ½ month service term. Members come from diverse backgrounds across the country and internationally, and are all united by their love of natural resources and their passion for service. Members serve under the guidance and mentorship of resource professionals in collaboration with local landowners, public agencies, and private industry to assess, monitor, and enhance watersheds. WSP’s diverse Placement Sites include federal, state, county, tribal, and non-profit agencies and organizations. Each Placement Site engages between one and three Members in all the service activity areas, while each Site's overall strategy, emphasis, effort, and timing of service activities varies.

During their service, Members participate in a wide array of activities, including:

  • Regular watershed recovery and protection work with their Placement Site
  • Teaching the Wonders of Watersheds (WOW!) curriculum in Title I schools
  • Engaging their service community in watershed outreach
  • Creating and implementing their own Watershed Project, and recruiting community volunteers
  • Training and professional development opportunities
WSP’s partners greatly value the work Members accomplish. In 2015, WSP was honored by CaliforniaVolunteers with the “Most Significant Enhancement to an Existing Program” award for their focus on water conservation projects in response to California’s drought. A 21 year collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service afforded WSP the honor of receiving the Rise to the Future award in 2012 for the program’s efforts to improve fisheries resources on Forest Service lands.