About 150 young men and women, clad in brown shirts and hardhats, are on the slope of a levee near the American River in Sacramento. The scenario is – the levee is failing. Corps members are learning how to secure protective plastic along the levee. It’s tough, physical work…and that’s a big reason why corps member Deborah Doss signed up.
“I came for the workout. So it’s good. You burn some calories.”
Doss says she also signed up to get her GED. Along with their day-to-day work projects corps members can earn their high school diplomas and scholarships for college. Corps members earn eight-dollars an hour.
Training for winter floods during a multi-year drought may seem uncalled for. But corps spokesman Jimmy Camp says last month’s massive rainstorm is proof that it’s not.
“Just a few weeks ago we had a day where we had several inches of rain in one day. If that were to occur over a several day period, the American River here could easily flood up. I believe 1996 was the last time we had that happen.”
Although this is just an exercise, corps member Doss says she’s eager to put her training to work to help prevent a real world emergency.
“Looking forward to see how I really feel once the situation arises. We’re going to help a lot of people out.”
Besides flood prevention, Doss and other corps members will be called on to fight wildfires, mud slides and maintain hiking trails in state parks.