Darren has a Masters Degree in Fisheries Biology from Humboldt State University and joined CalTrout in 2011. Before joining the organization, Mierau worked on numerous North Coast projects as a local watershed restoration scientist with McBain and Trush, Inc. Darren is currently directing, among other projects, the Eel River Recovery Keystone Initiative, the organization’s largest endeavor to date. He is a founding Board Member and current President of the Coastal Ecosystems Institute of Northern California, 2011.
To recover and protect threatened salmon and steelhead populations and their habitats through the implementation of species recovery plans and proof-of-concept projects, and by advocating for science-based approaches and policy reform.
The northern third of the California coast is home to some of the most important salmon and steelhead rivers and watersheds in the state.
Many of these coastal watersheds used to support large populations of fall Chinook and coho salmon, winter and summer steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. In addition, there were small populations of chum and pink salmon, and spring Chinook salmon. Pacific lamprey and green sturgeon were also important native species to the North Coast region.
These fish populations have seen severe declines in during the past century, resulting from commercial and recreational fish harvests and cannery operations, several periods of large-scale timber harvest, land conversions for agricultural activities, water developments and diversions, rural and urban residential development, and from the introduction of non-native fish species.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has listed Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon (1997), California Coastal Chinook salmon (1999), and Northern California steelhead (2000) as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. NMFS had prepared a SONCC Coho Salmon Recovery Plan (NMFS 2012) and is currently preparing a similar plan for Chinook salmon and steelhead. The California Fish and Game Commission also listed coho salmon as threatened in 2005
CalTrout is leading recovery efforts at many levels. We identify underlying causes of habitat and population impairments, build programs and develop projects to secure resources, match those resources with project partners, and lead projects to completion. We also help create and sustain funding sources, and advocate for programs we think are most effective for accomplishing our conservation mission.
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Fish photo, Jim Inman. Water photo,Wyatt Horsley. People photo, Jacob Katz.