Department of Ecology News Release - October 4, 2017

State sends 60 conservation corps members to support hurricane response efforts

People putting a tarp on a roof.
WCC AmeriCorps members help install blue tarp on a home in Florida. Members are deploying from all across Washington to respond to the three hurricanes.

OLYMPIA – Following the devastating hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Department of Ecology is sending 60 additional Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) members this week to support response and cleanup efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Crews from Washington state are joining forces with more than 2,000 AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team members overall, for 30-day stints.

Unpredictable conditions after Hurricane Maria

A team of 12 WCC AmeriCorps members headed to Puerto Rico are poised to organize and manage volunteers, deliver essential goods to households, assess damage, and install roof tarping. The team is prepared for a variety of tasks as they change on a daily basis, due to the island’s extensive devastation. They will lodge off-shore on ships designated for responders.

Twelve WCC AmeriCorps members are on their way to the U.S. Virgin Islands where they will lead efforts to coordinate donations and manage volunteers, remove debris with chainsaws, and install roof tarping.

Continuing efforts in Texas and Florida

A team of 24 WCC AmeriCorps members are headed to Texas to continue removing debris from homes and streets. This is the second crew Ecology has sent to the greater Austin area. Crews have been serving in Texas since late August, partnering directly with Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to Hurricane Harvey’s initial landfall.

As of Oct. 2, Washington’s teams have completed 326 damage assessments, mucked and gutted 84 homes and are supporting seven Volunteer Reception Centers in Texas.

A team of 12 WCC AmeriCorps members are headed to Florida to lead roof-tarping projects and set up operating bases for incoming AmeriCorps members.

On the front lines

Ecology’s WCC AmeriCorps members and staff respond to national and local disasters annually, assisting communities after fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, oil spills and more. Crew supervisors are often tapped to lead and train AmeriCorps members from across the country during deployments. To follow our crews on all four disaster response deployments, check out photos and updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In addition to providing disaster response services, WCC AmeriCorps members plant 1 million trees annually and build or repair more than 400 miles of trail and boardwalk throughout the state.

Contact:

Curt Hart, communications manager, 360-407-6944, @EcologyWA

Laura Schlabach, outreach coordinator, 360-407-6924, @EcologyWCC