Moments That Write History

 

Celebrating 50 Years of Taking Action for Fish, Water, and People

2021 marks California Trout’s 50th Anniversary – a milestone for a conservation nonprofit that puts us in rare company. We are incredibly proud of the impact we’ve made across the state over the past five decades, and our dedicated members who make it possible.

In celebrating our first half century of watershed stewardship across California, we’re looking back at what we've accomplished over the decades–not simply to pat ourselves on the back, but to recognize the broad reaching influence that a single moment can have on the lasting future of our precious natural resources.

Like ripples in a still morning pond, the impact felt from these Moments That Write History extends much further beyond the immediate results. A simple demonstration project on 3 miles of river can turn into an entirely new model for wild fishery management; a single legislative victory can protect the public trust for generations to come; a scientific hypothesis can steer the agricultural landscape of the entire state of California, and the water policy that guides it.

But we also know our work has only begun. While we honor our past, now is the time to aim our focus on the future, toward what we will accomplish in the next 50 years as the state faces more people, more wildfires, and more threats from climate change than ever before.

Our vision is of a California where water flows free, clean and cold from headwaters to sea – a vision of watersheds teeming with native, wild fish whose resilience and diversity match that of the people throughout this great state we call home.

With all that we have accomplished in the last 50 years, just imagine the landscape-level impact we’ll be celebrating at our centennial.

Watershed Moments

Hat Creek Demonstration Project

# 1: CalTrout Gets its Feet Wet

Creating a New Model for Wild Trout Management

Hat Creek is, in essence, the birthplace of California Trout – where passion became purpose, where ideas transformed into action, and where a new approach to wild water conservation irrevocably shaped the way we protect California’s wild resources – for the past fifty years, and forever.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS HISTORIC MOMENT

# 2: From Principle to Policy

Codifying the California Wild Trout Program

Thanks to the leadership of a nascent CalTrout–whose hard work in 1971 transformed the ethos of wild trout management into official California state policy–dozens of designated Wild Trout Waters stand a fighting chance at remaining strong fisheries for generations to come.

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Wild Trout Waters
Gov Reagan signs the California Wild & Scenic Rivers Act

# 3: The Committee of 2 Million

Saving California's Wild & Scenic Rivers

CalTrout's first legislative victory came in 1972 when Governor Ronald Reagan signed the California Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, forever prohibiting dams across thousands of miles of our precious free-flowing rivers.

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# 4: CalTrout v. Goliath

A Monumental Victory at Mono Lake

In a legal battle against the state of California, CalTrout and the Public Trust won the day for Mono Lake - and the future for our critical watersheds.

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Mono Lake
Steelhead

# 5: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Southern Steelhead Endangered Species Status

In 1997, the Southern California steelhead was officially listed as an endangered species, kicking off a much-needed recovery plan for this important living indicator of watershed health.

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# 6: The Water Grab

"We have a problem in McCloud."

A 100-year contract gave Nestlé the rights to turn the fabled McCloud River—one of California's most cherished rivers—into bottled water. Until CalTrout stepped in.

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Nestle on the McCloud
Fish in Hot Water

# 7: Fish in Hot Water

Developing a Scientific Method for Fish Conservation

CalTrout's relationship with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences—integral to our approach of putting science into action—culminated with a seminal report that charts the course of conservation for the next 50 years.

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# 8: Sierra Meadows Strategy

Source Waters Hold the Key to Combatting Climate Change

The Sierra Meadows Strategy represents an integral element of our source-waters-to-sea approach to combating the effects of drought and climate change.

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Nestle on the McCloud
Nigiri Project

# 9: Fish on Rice

A Modern Approach to Managed Landscapes for the 21st Century

What began in a mud puddle on a Central Valley rice field has grown into a model for fixing our broken water system at a statewide scale.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS HISTORIC MOMENT

Stay tuned for more as we continue to celebrate a half century of taking action for fish, water, and people.

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Let's write more history together.

We’ve seen tremendous success over our first 50 years, but our work has only begun. Together, we can protect California's clean, cold water for generations to come. 

For our Future. For California. Forever.

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A Special Thanks to our

50th Anniversary Premier Partners

Clearwater Lodge
Fly Water Travel
Revelshine Wines
Revelshine Wines
A Special Thanks to our

Sponsors

Top photo credit: Owen Turner