2023 Winter Desert Restoration Corps HP (PO-00734446)

Arrival Date: 2/6/2023   Departure Date: 4/15/2023

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the SCA, and several Land Managers including the Bureau of Land Management and the National Parks Service that has produced nearly two decades of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave Desert of Southern California.  During the program members will work with 4-6 person teams to restore habitat damaged by off-road vehicle travel.  While on 8-10 day long work hitches, the crew will camp and live in the backcountry along trails and routes that traverse mountainous timberlands, near historic mining claims, past dry lake beds, or across fields of Joshua Trees.    

The DRC is rugged, and while on work hitches, members should expect to live without electricity, running water, and cell phone reception. This is an entry-level position with no previous experience required. The crew begins with 2 weeks of training and orientation, where we cover basic tool use, restoration techniques, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and how to build and maintain healthy cultures on your team.  

Member Benefits:
– $650 – one time round trip travel allowance
– $300 – weekly living allowance
– AmeriCorps eligible (300- hour award, $1,342.86 education award)
– Professional Development Opportunities: Wilderness First Aid, SCA Desert Restoration Workshop, 4×4 Driving and Recovery Training.

*All allowances subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes

Arrival Airport: Ontario International Airport, Ontario, CA
Training Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Members will arrive at this location to begin a two-week training period.  After training, members will travel on to their project site for their project.

Project Locations: Multiple project sites throughout the Mojave Desert. Members will be placed on their crews and receive their placements at training.  

Potential Project Sites could include: 
Mojave National Preserve, a 1.6 million acre desert park that sits at 3,000 and is speckled with mountains rising as high as 8,000ft. It is located midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and home to the largest Joshua Tree forest, sand dunes, and underground lava tubes.  
Ridgecrest BLM Field Office: Some of the highest quality desert tortoise habitat in the world. It sits a short drive from the Sierra's Mt. Whitney (the highest point in the lower 48) and Death Valley's Bad Water Basin (the lowest point in the U.S.). In between these two extremes are perennial desert streams, desert flats, towering rock faces, and array of flora and fauna.  

Background on Desert Restoration Work
Desert Restoration work is a decades long experiment that SCA members have been a part of since the early 2000s. Teams use a combination of direct and indirect restoration techniques to camouflage social routes and create microclimates to help speed up the recovery process and allow native plants to grow back in damaged areas.  Every project site is different and projects will vary depending on the project sites.  Work for the season may include:

  • Direct restoration of social trails
  • Collecting data at restoration sites
  • Constructing hard barriers such as fences
  • Supporting public outreach events
  • Removing invasive plants

Crew Living Accommodations
For each 8-10 day work hitch, the crew will live in a truck and trailer supported back country's setting. It provides the remote beauty and simplistic lifestyle of backcountry camping, with the ease of not needing to backpack in all of your gear. 

All camping will be in unimproved dispersed areas without access to running water, electricity, cell phone reception, and several miles from the nearest paved road or permanent structure. The crew will have access to propane stoves, coolers to store food, and will be camping within a few hundred feet of their vehicle.   

On non-work days the crew will relocate to a bunkhouse styled living space and will have access to electricity, running water, and showers. Members will also have shared access to an SCA vehicle to run errands on off days. A personal vehicle can be brought to the program and will improve access to local amenities and recreation opportunities on off days.  If you bring a personal vehicle, you will be responsible for finding parking, and do not expect to be able to access it while you are in the field.

Member Responsibilities

  • Ensure project, crew community, basecamp, vehicles, and general safety standards are upheld; full engagement is expected in all work projects and community activities. 
  • Interfacing with general public and partner organizations in a manner that reflects positively upon the crew, organization, and agency. 
  • Take on role of Hitch Leader for at least one hitch, serving as a professional liaison with SCA Project Leaders, handling the logistics of a project, meal planning, delegating responsibilities, developing emergency response plans, and completing all necessary paperwork. 
  • Recording work totals and creating reports for submission to agency partners; this will include GPS field data collection and post-processing. 

Member Qualifications

  • Commitment to living and working within an intensive crew environment; interpersonal skills and community living experience are pluses. 
  • Commitment to service in working conditions that will include extreme heat, extreme cold, extremely pleasant days, high winds, and precipitation. 
  • Ability to pass SCA background check. 


  • Outdoor living experience
  • Community service or volunteer experience
  • Valid driver’s license; ability to pass Motor Vehicle Records 

For more information on what past crews have done and what being on a Corps team is like, check out some of these final reports from similar crews. 

2021-2022 Desert Restoration Corps Final Report
2021 Mojave National Preserve Restoration Project Final Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has required SCA to implement several safety protocols and policies to help our teams manage the risks associated with the pandemic.  Please review the documents below for SCA's updated organizational response plan and participant agreement form to learn more how our teams will be operating in the field. 

*For SCA's COVID-19 guidance, please refer to www.thesca.org/covid  

For Members who have accepted this position (Please click on the links below to review the steps you need to take to prepare for your position) 
Preparing for your Corps Team Position
Onboarding for Your Corps Team Position
Desert Restoration Corps Team Gear List


Position ID: PO-00734446

Expected Dates: February 6, 2023 - April 15, 2023

Training Provided: Corps Member Orientation SCA Conservation Skills Wilderness First Aid

Main Area of Focus: Natural Resources Mgmt

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Not needed

Housing or Stipend Provided?
D. No housing is available

The teams will spike camp at their project sites.  Travel lodging will be provided by SCA when traveling between project locations. 

Indoor/Outdoor: Outside

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association