Science into Action

Written by


Megan Nguyen
Communications Associate


Jayme Ohlhaver

Central Valley Program Manager

Science. Advocacy & Legislation. Action.

These are the three pillars of our core work at California Trout.

Science-Based Solutions. Sound science guides our work. Established as a scientific leader on fish and water issues in the state, California Troutrelies on research to prioirtize the most impactful projects and find innovative, science-based solutions to the state's resource issues.

Advocacy & Legislation. Building and maintaining relationships. CalTrout is deeply rooted in using advocacy to create change. From day one, we championed wild trout management and the concept of catch and release, spearheading efforts to enact programs and legislation to protect California's trout resources.Enacting sensible policies that benefit fish, water, and people requires sound science and strong relationships. We work to build and maintain relationships with legislators and relevant agencies to enact policies for local, regional, and statewide issues ranging from carbon sequestration policy to funding for floodplain-fish projects.

On-the-Ground Action. Increasing scope and scale to make greater impact. We've prioritized our project work on 5 key initiatives - strategiesthat were identified as necessary restore California's native fish by the science-supported findings in SOS II report: Protect the Best, Integrate Wild Fish and Working Landscapes, Reconnect Habitat, Steward Source Water Areas, Restore Estuaries.





Science is the foundation of all our work. Our approach to restoring fish populations and creating a resilient California is simple: we use science to inform strategic policies and implement innovative conservation actions with the greatest impact. A great example of this flow in action can be seen with our Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields (FFFFF) project work in the Central Valley.

For a decade, the Central Valley program has conducted proof of concept science to understand the benefits of food grown on managed floodplains and how to refine management practices to optimize benefits for fish in the river.

Our research has shown that floodplains are highly productive, growing about 149x more fish food than the river, and that this food buffet can be transported from fields to fish in the river. The project which started research on a 9 acre rice field, recently conducted a single conservation actions 5,000+ acres to study the impact of floodplain food webs at a landscape-scale.

Using our scientific findings as evidence, we built an unlikely, but strong coalition of conservation, water managers and farmers who support the FFFFF project and work collaboratively to inform agency and legislative decision makers on its benefits.

This fall, the coalition of fish scientists, bird scientists, water managers and our farmer partners visited legislators, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, and federal agencies in Washington D.C to seek their support for the project and concept of reactivating out managed floodplains to benefit fish and wildlife.

With the science indicating what action needs to be taken and the policies in place to fund, approve and sustain the project’s impact, restoration or other strategies can be implemented on the ground and be brought to scale for maximum impact.

In the floodplain example, the Fish Food program plans to work with water managers, government agencies and landowners to establish incentives and water/land management programs to harness the food resources on floodplain farm fields at a larger scale in the Sacramento Valley. Future steps include upgrading flood infrastructure such as installing a notch in the Fremont weir in the Yolo Bypass resulting in more frequent flooding and better access to the Yolo bypass for fish.

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