Northern California summer rainbow trout are listed as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act – Redheaded Blackbelt
On Wednesday, June 16, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to list summer rainbow trout in four North Coast watersheds – the Eel, Mad and Mattole rivers, and Redwood Creek – as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The decision comes in response to the Friends of the Eel River 2018 petition. The Commission also listed Klamath Spring Chinook (as E?) Under CESA at the same meeting, in response to a petition from the Salmon River Restoration Council and the Karuk Tribe.
Rainbow trout are the anadromous, or marine, form of the fish popularly known as the rainbow trout. (Although we call them trout, both rainbows and rainbow trout are Pacific salmon: Oncorhynchus mykiss are closer to chinook and coho salmon than chum and sockeye.) Most rainbow trout return to freshwater in the winter, ready to spawn. Summer Steelhead follows a very different strategy. They return to their native watersheds in the spring before reaching sexual maturity, climb deep, cold pools in mountain canyons, and remain there without feeding during the long, hot summer of the north coast. When the rains come, summer rainbow trout climb higher in the watershed than most winter trout, giving their offspring the chance to grow in upstream streams. the highest and the coolest.
The recent discovery that the timing of the execution of summer rainbow trout and spring chinook is determined by a single small area of the genome of each species has raised concerns among researchers and environmentalists that the gene early return itself can be lost in watersheds where populations of premature migrating fish are extirpated. Unfortunately, the federal National Marine Fisheries Service has rejected our petition to list northern California summer rainbow trout under the federal Endangered Species Act, arguing that, with the exception of the As a gene for early return, fish are more closely related to late-run fish in their respective watersheds than they are to early-run fish in other watersheds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has taken the same position, advising against listing both species under the California Endangered Species Act.
“Fortunately, the Fish and Game Commission has carefully examined the law and the science, listened to the testimony of Indigenous peoples about their own long experience with these fish, and decided that summer rainbow trout and chinook springs can and should be protected by the California Endangered Species. Act. Protecting the biodiversity embodied in these unique life stories is essential to ensure that these species have the resilience to survive human impacts.
to their habitat, including climate change, ”said Alicia Hamann, executive director of Friends of the Eel River. “It is to the credit of the Fish and Game Commission that they have seen that endangered species policy must not only keep pace with the rapidly evolving science in this field, but also reflect ecological knowledge. traditional peoples who have lived in societies interconnected with these fish for thousands of years.
“It’s an important win for some truly extraordinary fish, but the list reflects tragic facts. Our summer rainbow trout are in danger of disappearing if we don’t help them. Their incredible life story has made them extremely vulnerable to the impacts of our industrial society. Even in the best years, less than a thousand adult summer rainbow trout now amount to just six populations in northern California. Said Scott Greacen, director of conservation at OFER. “One of the most important things we can do to help the summer rainbow trout recover is to remove the Scott Dam, which for a century blocked access to the habitat of the southernmost summer rainbow trout on Earth. “