Cal Trout On The Quest To Have Southern Steelhead Listed As Endangered

The following is courtesy of California Trout:

Cal Trout photo

California Trout is leading the effort to list Southern California steelhead as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). On October 25, 2023, we successfully defended this listing in California Superior Court in Los Angeles. This victory brings us one step closer to providing these fish the protections they deserve.

Southern steelhead are important indicators of healthy watersheds and well-functioning river ecosystems, but they are on the brink of extinction. Steelhead runs that historically numbered in the tens of thousands in Southern California rivers are down to single digits today. It is time for the state of California to take meaningful action and fully protect this important fish. 

“As predicted, the strength of our underlying petition really carried the day,” said Redgie Collins, CalTrout’s Legal and Policy Director. “Ruling in CalTrout’s favor, Judge Chalfant noted the scientific rigor of our petition, which is a testament to the hard work and diligence of CalTrout’s Dr. Sandra Jacobson and Russell Marlow.”

In April 2022, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to accept the petition for consideration. This action then designated Southern steelhead as a candidate species with ESA protection during a year-long species status review by CDFW. These ocean-going trout are thus fully protected as an endangered species during this review period. At the end of the CDFW species status review, the Commission will then decide whether the species should be listed as endangered, or whether further action is not warranted.

“This is an important day for southern steelhead and for CalTrout,” continued Redgie. “It shows our commitment to Southern steelhead and for protections of our other native fish populations that are in dire need of recovery.”

CalTrout was represented by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and was proudly joined by Center for Biological Diversity, the State of California, and Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation to defend this petition.