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Southern California steelhead trout now considered endangered by California Fish and Game Commission

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted the Southern California steelhead trout as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Thursday.

The steelhead species typically need cool clean water to survive but the Southern steelhead can survive in warmer water.

Healthy Southern Steelhead populations indicate the safety of drinking water for watersheds people and their protection will help restoration efforts in rivers.

The California Trout organization offered a statement in support of the measure through spokeswoman Sandra Jacobson.

“The California Fish and Game Commission today voted unanimously to list Southern California steelhead trout as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). This landmark decision provides critically important protections for this iconic species, which teeters on the brink of extinction. California Trout applauds the Fish and Game Commission for underscoring the urgency of the situation with this vote today, and we thank the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for their comprehensive species status review as part of the CESA process and their long-standing support for Southern steelhead recovery.

CalTrout has been actively advocating for this listing since 2021, when we submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to fully protect Southern steelhead as endangered under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The action today would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and advocacy of our many partners in Southern California working to save this species.”

“Southern steelhead are crucial indicators of watershed health and river ecosystem integrity. Historically, tens of thousands of these fish swam in Southern California rivers and streams. Today, it’s rare to see even a few. Their numbers have dipped dangerously low due to impacts from habitat loss, fragmentation, and urbanization.

“We look forward to working with our partners to implement the state’s conservation plan for these iconic fish, including continuing our work in the South Coast region on behalf of Southern steelhead. Our current projects include removing fish passage barriers and expediting removal of obsolete dams on the Ventura River (Matilija Dam), Malibu Creek (Rindge Dam), Trabuco Creek, the Santa Margarita River, and more; removing non-native aquatic species that threaten prime steelhead habitat; securing instream flow by reducing surface water diversions and groundwater pumping and increasing the use of recycled water; and restoring watersheds.

“All of these actions will also benefit human communities. For example, improving aging infrastructure will reduce the risk of flooding and increase public safety. Holistic watershed restoration will enforce and build strong relationships throughout the community. Ensuring our watersheds are hospitable to Southern steelhead indicates clean water which benefits all communities.”

Representatives of California Trout are available for interviews about this breaking news and about any of the work happening in the region to support Southern steelhead."

Sandra Jacobson, PhD, South Coast and Sierra Regions Director for California Trout

For more information on Southern steelhead trout species, visit the California Trout website.

Article Topic Follows: California
California Fish and Game Code
california trout
endangered species
steelhead trout

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