California's beaches, parks, waterways and open space have benefitted from hundreds of thousand of hours of volunteer labor. But an ongoing, behind-the-scenes legislative tussle is keeping the availability of that cost-free work force in question.
During the six years that this issue has lingered, observes Mike Wellborn, President of the California Watershed Network, the economic and budgetary climate has changed, so that funding for these sorts of environmental projects is much more dependent on state money than before.
From her position at the Sonoma Ecology Center, Caitlin Cornwall acknowledges the desire to protect union jobs, but she contends that trying to accomplish that at the expense of volunteerism is, at best, counterproductive.
In tight times such as these, adds MIke Wellborn, it's just common sense to have volunteers provide the basic labor whenever possible, and save the actual dollars to pay fair rates for skilled workers to do the pieces of these project that require their experience and abilities.