Public Invited to Comment on Petition to List Southern California Steelhead as Endangered
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 are available on the Commission website.
CDFW invites data or comments on the petitioned action, including Southern California steelhead ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to its reproduction or survival, the adequacy of existing management or recommendations for management of the species. Data or comments may be submitted via email to SCSH@wildlife.ca.gov. Please include “Southern California Steelhead” in the subject line. Submissions may also be sent to:
CDFW Fisheries Branch
Attn: Southern California Steelhead
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, California 94244-2090
Submissions must be received by Sept. 30. CDFW has 12 months to review the petition, evaluate the best available scientific information relating to Southern California steelhead and make a recommendation to the Commission. The Commission will then place receipt of the report on the agenda for the next available Commission meeting. The report will be made available to the public for that meeting, where the Commission will schedule the petition for further consideration.
For more information on the petition, please visit the Commission website.
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714
Photo: Southern California steelhead, CDFW photo by Kyle Evans