Dr. Mark Drew has worked for California Trout since 2007. In his capacity as Regional Director, Mark leads a portfolio of programs and projects for California Trout that center on restoring critical habitats for native trout in a manner that also addresses the needs of domestic water supplies downstream. Mark is also the founder and Director of the Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program, a program that brings stakeholders from throughout the eastern Sierra to identify and address priority water issues. Mark holds a B.S. degree in Forestry and Natural Resources Management, an M.A. degree in International Development Policy and a Doctorate degree in Forestry and Resource Conservation from the University of Florida.
To restore and ensure the health and vitality of Sierra Nevada headwaters, their aquatic ecosystems and downstream communities through progressive research, policy and restoration actions.
The Sierra Headwaters Region spans from the Northern Sierras, exemplifying California beauty, to the plateau around Mono Lake and Owens Valley, a high-desert region home to some of the state’s most sought-after trout angling.
The region is home to some of the most important and diverse watersheds in California. The Truckee and Carson Rivers, the tributaries of Lake Tahoe and other ecologically significant waterways provide unique habitats for a variety of native trout species, including the Lahontan and Paiute cutthroat trout and the Mountain whitefish. These terminal watersheds (they do not flow to the ocean) are also unique as they originated from ancient Lake Lahontan, a vast inland sea during the Pleistocene epoch.
The rivers and creeks on the western slopes provide water to 65% of California. But, the pressures from recreation, growing population, demand for natural resources and climate change are overpowering the area’s ability to rejuvenate itself and straining the region’s fragile trout, steelhead and salmon.
Hot Creek, Walker River, Carson River, Owens River, Golden Trout Creek and many more waterways in the high-desert, host rainbows and browns as well as Lahontan cutthroat, Kern River rainbows and our state fish, the California golden trout.
The region, however, has become imperiled from a variety of threats including logging, grazing and more urgently, development. Pressure is building from local businesses to rapidly expand the region’s ski resorts and enlarge its airport.
CalTrout is engaged in protecting and restoring most of the region’s rivers and creeks with a comprehensive strategy of outreach, restoration, monitoring, water agreements and coalition building.
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Fish photo, Jim Inman. Water photo,Wyatt Horsley. People photo, Jacob Katz.