Wednesday July 20, 2022

Sierra Sun Times

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has initiated a status review for Southern California steelhead and invites data or comments on a petition to list Southern California steelhead as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

Southern California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are found in streams from the Santa Maria River at the southern county line of San Luis Obispo County down to the U.S.-Mexico border. Southern California steelhead as defined in the CESA petition include both anadromous (ocean-going) and resident (stream-dwelling) forms of the species below complete migration barriers in these streams.

Major threats to Southern California steelhead include destruction, modification and fragmentation of habitat due to anthropogenic water use (i.e., dams or diversions for the purposes of providing water for human use) and climate change impacts like increased stream temperatures and intensified drought conditions. Southern California steelhead represent an important steelhead diversity component in California due to their unique adaptations, life histories and genetics.

On June 14, 2021, California Trout submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to list Southern California steelhead as an endangered species under CESA. On April 21, 2022, the Commission accepted that petition for consideration. On May 13, 2022, the Commission provided public notice that Southern California steelhead is now a candidate species under CESA and as such, receives the same legal protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species. The listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation report(opens in new tab) are available on the Commission website.

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