One of the most significant fish passage barriers in Southern California is the Interstate 5 (I-5) Bridge Array on Trabuco Creek, a major tributary to San Juan Creek in Orange County. Fish passage at this project site has among the greatest potential in the region to contribute to recovery of the endangered Southern California steelhead. Once the fragmented habitats are reconnected, the impacts are unlikely to reoccur and will leverage upstream fish passage barrier removal in the public lands of the Cleveland National Forest. CalTrout is implementing Phase 1 of this project which entails technical studies and engineering design for passage of juvenile and adult steelhead through this complex fish passage barrier. This project will integrate into large-scale channel infrastructure water supply and flood control projects in South Orange County.
Re-establish stable steelhead populations in the high priority watersheds in San Diego and Orange Counties by:
- Providing access to high quality historic spawning and rearing habitat by removing fish passage barriers;
- Mitigating other threats to steelhead recovery through non-native species removal and sediment control, improved water quality and habitat;
- Gaining further knowledge of native rainbow trout populations of steelhead lineage in Southern California and their habitat requirements; plan for environmental challenges of fire and drought, and climate change;
- Promoting conservation stewardship and steelhead awareness in the local community through public outreach events and social media.
- Finalized Coalition Strategic and Implementation Plan and prioritized steelhead recovery projects;
- Awarded $380,000 by CDFW and private foundations to Coalition participants to implement five high priority projects totaling $884,000 in San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties;
- Gave presentations at regional meetings and public outreach events such as the Wild Steelhead Initiative workshops (Long Beach and Davis), Pasadena Casting Club and San Diego Fly Fishers meetings, and family nature workshops at Audubon Starr Ranch and Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation;
- Consulted with regional agencies for improved water management including San Diego IRWM and South Orange County Water Quality Improvement Plan task groups.
What We Will Achieve in 2016-17:
- Develop protocols for underwater videography of trout for improved rainbow trout population surveys in remote streams;
- Remove over 20,000 non-native aquatic species in Santa Margarita River and San Mateo Creek headwaters;
- Perform engineering studies and design to enable fish passage through a major barrier on Santa Margarita River upstream of Camp Pendleton;
- Install weather station and agricultural irrigation upgrades in upper San Luis Rey watershed for improved groundwater recharge and habitat protection of Pauma Creek;
- Preserve a rare native trout population of steelhead descent in Coldwater Creek (key regional stronghold) through invasive vegetation and barrier removal and population genetic studies;
- Promote remediation of a complex fish passage barrier at Interstate 5 on Trabuco Creek in the San Juan Creek watershed;
- Establish fundamentals for an effective coastal salmonid monitoring plan in San Diego and Orange Counties;
- Continue to engage the 20+ state and federal agencies, NGOs, Tribal Nations and other stakeholders of the South Coast Steelhead Coalition in recovery of endangered Southern California steelhead.
The South Coast Steelhead Coalition (formerly known as the SanDOC Coalition) is focused on endangered Southern California Steelhead recovery in San Diego and Orange Counties. The Coalition’s work is guided by NOAA’s 2012 Southern California Steelhead Recovery Plan and is implemented collaboratively by participating non-profits, government agencies and other regional stakeholders.
Coalition members and participants meet quarterly to advance recovery actions and projects aimed at improving watershed health in the region. Recovery actions include projects to remove invasive species, modify fish barriers, and improve water quality and watershed ecosystem health. The Coalition also hosts a minimum of four public outreach events to educate the community on the history of Southern California Steelhead.
Environmental organizations, fishing clubs, government agencies and other stakeholders interested in participating or joining te coalition should contact Coalition Coordinator, Sandra Jacobson at email@example.com.
San Diego and Orange County residents interested in learning more about community events and/or volunteer opportunities should “like” our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SouthCoastSteelhead