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Volunteer Program Summary Banner

Volunteer Program History

    Volunteers play an important role in protecting the natural resources and maintaining recreation facilities at Corps projects. Volunteers serve as campground hosts, staff visitor centers, conduct programs, clean shorelines, restore fish and wildlife habitat, maintain park trails and facilities, and more.

    The following is a chronology of milestones on the volunteer program:
    1983 P.L. 98-63 passed in 1983 authorized the Chief of Engineers to accept the services of volunteers and to provide for their incidental expenses.
    1985 ER 1130-2-432, the first regulation, was published on 11 Dec. 1985.
    1986 Federal Interagency Team on Volunteerism created to bring together national volunteer program leaders to promote natural and cultural resource based volunteerism
    1992 Volunteer Booklets (out of print): "Volunteering for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers", "Techniques of Supervising Volunteers" and "A Volunteer's Guide to Working Safely."
    1993 EP 1130-2-429, Volunteer Coordinator's Handbook, assists volunteer program coordinators in preparing volunteer management plans and to provide procedures for administering effective volunteer programs.
    1994 The Corps Volunteer Clearinghouse, hosted by the Nashville District, opened on 3 January 1994 and serves the Corps nationwide to match volunteers with Corps projects that need them. The Clearinghouse has a toll-free telephone "hot-line" (1-800-VOL-TEER or 1-800-865-8337) and website (
    1994 EP 1130-2-433, Volunteer Brochure: "Volunteer for America's Environment: A Shared Responsibility"
    1996 EP/ER 1130-2-500, Chapter 10 - Corps of Engineers Volunteer Program - Program and policy guidance. Revised regulation allows volunteers to operate vehicles and vessels and to collect fees or handle government funds.
    2002 launched on 30 May 2002, a federal inter-agency website to provide online access to volunteer opportunities with federal agencies.
    2004 Policy Memo 04-01, dated 27 October 2004, Volunteer Value of Service Hourly Rate, initiated the Corps determining the value of volunteer service by using the Independent Sector's per hour figure.
    2007 Volunteer clothing - shirts, hats, vests, jackets, nametags and patches -to identify volunteers and provide recognition, became available from the Corps uniform contractor, VF Solutions.
    2008 OMB Form "Volunteer Services Agreement for Natural Resources Agencies for Individuals or Groups" replaces ENG Form 4880-R, Oct. 01, "Agreement for Individual/Group Volunteer Services" and ENG Form 4881-R, Oct. 01,"Parental Approval" form.
    2009 Volunteer Program Policy Letter  Revised policy on purchase of meals, volunteer clothing, appreciation items, record keeping in OMBIL
    2011 Volunteer Program Policy Letter  Rescinded May 2009 policy letter and revised provisions and policies related to expenditure of funds for food/beverages for volunteers, allowable clothing items, and appreciation for volunteer work.
    2013 ER/EP 11300-2-500 Chapter 10 Corps of Engineers Volunteer Program  Updated to include language from Nov 2011 policy memo, authorized legal alien permanent residents and foreign exchange student volunteers, listed requirements and procedures for background checks and acquiring VOLAC cards for volunteers needing access to government computers
    2013 Relaunch of with improved portal design and navigation upgrade, Public Lands Corps tracking module, and training modules for volunteers and coordinators
    2013 Volunteer Pass Program started
    2014 New volunteer brochure created. National Volunteer Award for Individuals and Groups instituted
    2015 New suite of OF 301 volunteer forms approved by OMB
    2016 New Implementation Guidance issued for volunteer program to supersede Chapter 10 of ER/EP 1130-2-500
    2016 USACE authorized to participate in America the Beautiful Interagency Pass Program and issue ATB Volunteer passes to Corps volunteers
    2016 Volunteer bonding policy memo issued to clarify rules on bonding of volunteers
    2016 Enduring Service Volunteer Award created by Corps Foundation to honor long term service and outstanding contributions by volunteers
    2017 Policy memos for Partner-funded Personnel and Civilian Inmate Labor Program provided clarification for authorities outside the volunteer program
    2020 Corps Volunteer Clearinghouse retired. used as recruitment portal
    2020 Volunteer Background Investigation Procedures updated

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