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Southern California steel trout are now considered endangered by the California Fish and Game Commission

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

The steelhead species generally requires 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 people in watersheds and their protection will aid river restoration efforts.

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

“The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously today to list the Southern California steelhead trout as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). This landmark decision provides crucial protection for this iconic species, which is on the brink of extinction. California Trout applauds the Fish and Game Commission for underscoring the urgency of the situation with today’s vote, 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-term support for the southern states. recovery of the steelhead.

CalTrout has been actively advocating for this listing since 2021, when we petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to fully protect Southern Steelhead as threatened under the state’s Endangered Species Act. Today’s action would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and advocacy of our many partners in Southern California who are committed to saving this species.”

“Southern steelhead are critical indicators of watershed health and river ecosystem integrity. Historically, tens of thousands of these fish swam in the rivers and streams of Southern California. Nowadays it is rare to see even a few. Their numbers have become dangerously low due to the effects of 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 Our current projects include removing fish passage barriers and expediting the removal of outdated dams on the Ventura River (Matilija Dam), Malibu Creek (Rindge Dam), Trabuco Creek, the Santa Margarita River and more; removing non-native aquatic species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 inflows by reducing surface water diversions and groundwater pumping and increasing the use of recycled water; and watershed restoration.

“All 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 strengthen and build strong relationships throughout the community. Ensuring our watersheds are hospitable to Southern Steelhead means clean water that benefits all communities.”

California Trout representatives are available for interviews about this latest news and all the work happening in the region to support Southern Steelhead.”

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

Visit the California Trout website for more information about southern brown trout species.