Save Southern Steelhead

Southern California steelhead are at risk of disappearing forever. We must act now to save them!

The evidence is undeniable: Southern California steelhead teeter on the brink of extinction. These fish are crucial indicators of watershed health and river ecosystem integrity. They are a vital part of the environment that you, your family, neighbors, and friends all depend on and play a part in. If one piece of the environment changes or goes away this affects every other species - plant, animal, and human.


Historically, Southern steelhead thrived, with tens of thousands of them swimming through Southern California rivers and streams. Today, it’s rare to see even a few. Their numbers have dipped dangerously low due to impacts from habitat loss, fragmentation, and the encroachment of urbanization. We must act now to prevent the irreversible loss of Southern steelhead. 


We need your help! The Fish and Game Commission needs to hear that allowing Southern steelhead to disappear is not acceptable. On April 18, voice your support for protecting Southern steelhead as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act – you can do this by joining the Fish and Game Commission meeting in-person or via Zoom and providing a public comment. 

Join Meeting On April 18 to Provide Public Comment

On April 18, the Fish and Game Commission (FGC) will provide an opportunity for the public to express comments before voting on whether to list Southern steelhead as endangered. We encourage you to join the meeting and provide a public comment to voice your support for listing Southern steelhead. Your participation is crucial to ensure these fish receive the protections they need! Providing a public comment is simple and all of the instructions you need are laid out below.


How to Join: 

To provide public comment, you can join the meeting virtually via Zoom or at the in-person location.  
In-person: San Jose Scottish Rite Center, 2455 Masonic Drive, San Jose, CA 95125  
Here is the meeting agenda and instructions on how to join the meeting via Zoom (these will be updated soon). 
Thursday, April 18, 8:30AM - The meeting starts at 8:30am with agenda item #11. The petition to list Southern steelhead under California’s Endangered Species Act (CESA) is agenda item #22. The agenda does not designate specific times for each item. We will send another email on April 18 during the meeting as agenda item #22 approaches for those who do not wish to sit through the entire meeting. 
How do I provide a comment? 
When item #21 concludes, Commission staff will open the queue for those that wish to give public comment on item #22. Folks who have joined the meeting online via Zoom will then have a few minutes to use Zoom's "raise hand" feature to indicate their desire to speak, and staff will compile a speakers list.  

What to Say: 

This is an opportunity to speak from the heart and express why Southern steelhead matter to you and your community. You can also use the style of our example comment below. Please limit your comment to one minute.
Example Public Comment:  
I urge you take immediate action today to designate the Southern California steelhead as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act. Without further protections, we risk losing this iconic native species forever. These fish are crucial for ecosystem health, and they are vital to watershed health. Listing them as endangered is essential to ensure their survival and the prosperity of California's rivers and communities. The science is clear – these fish face extinction without full protection. This is unacceptable. You must act today.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting as we all show up to support further protection of Southern steelhead! 


How did we get here?

In 2021, CalTrout submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to fully protect Southern steelhead as endangered under California’s Endangered Species Act. We used the best-science available to support our petition. Listing these fish as endangered would promote actions to protect them including removing obsolete dams, improving habitat, securing instream flow, and restoring watersheds. All of these actions would also benefit human communities. For example, improving aging infrastructure would reduce the risk of flooding and increase public safety and holistic watershed restoration would enforce and build strong relationships throughout the community.  


In April 2022, the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted that the state ESA listing of Southern steelhead “may be warranted” initiating a year-long species status review by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. During this time, Southern steelhead were considered a candidate species with full ESA protection. 


In October 2023, CalTrout successfully defended the petitioned listing in California Superior Court in Los Angeles. This victory brought us one step closer to providing these fish the protections they deserve. “As predicted, the strength of our underlying petition really carried the day,” said Redgie Collins, CalTrout’s Legal and Policy Director. “Ruling in CalTrout’s favor, Judge Chalfant noted the scientific rigor of our petition, which is a testament to the hard work and diligence of CalTrout’s Dr. Sandra Jacobson and Russell Marlow.” Learn more here


In January 2024, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife submitted a peer-reviewed species status report to the Fish and Game Commission. Their extensive review came to the same conclusion as CalTrout’s initial petition – the Commission found the petitioned action to list Southern steelhead as an endangered species under California’s ESA to be warranted. With the CDFW species status review period complete, the Fish and Game Commission has tentatively scheduled this item for their April 2024 meeting. In this meeting, the Commission will formally decide whether the species should be listed as endangered, or whether further action is not warranted.


From February through April 2024, CalTrout gathered over 7000 signatures in support of listing Southern steelhead.

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