Legislation and Advocacy

Effecting Local, Regional and Statewide Issues

CalTrout has deep roots in using advocacy to create change. Since day one, we championed wild trout management and the concept of catch and release, and spearheaded efforts to enact programs and legislation to protect California’s trout resources. In 1971, the year of our founding, CalTrout represented the Committee of Two Million- a coalition formed to help preserve the state’s rivers; convinced lawmakers to pass the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act; and stopped a proposed dam on the Eel River (the Dos Rios Dam).

Today, CalTrout remains a driver in influencing California’s conservation policy, legislation, and funding measures and we are a go-to leader in advocating for the balanced needs of fish, water, and people.

With our legislative office in Sacramento, CalTrout is well-positioned to build relationships directly with lawmakers, supporting their leadership on matters that advance the mission and programs of CalTrout. Our legal team is bolstered by robust outside and pro-bono counsel, which we gladly use to support all CalTrout regions’ policy and legal needs; we also employ contract lobbying consultants as needed.

CalTrout brings policy and advocacy expertise, on-the-ground experience, community support, science, and media to advance mission-critical policies and programs. This expertise supports our work in developing legislative initiatives, supporting or opposing proposed legislation, assisting in the shape of state & federal budgets, engaging in stakeholder groups, and working with decision-makers in government.

CalTrout’s 2023 Legislative Bill Package

This year, CalTrout is thrilled to sponsor three bills that will have statewide impacts:

Codifying the California Monitoring Program (CMP): AB 809.

Authored by Assemblymember Bennett. Sponsored by the California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition.

This bill will establish a dedicated fund to support the long-term monitoring of California’s native salmon and steelhead trout populations. The California Monitoring Program (CMP) was created to monitor and collect comprehensive data on our endangered anadromous fish populations, including Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead to inform future management decisions. Currently, CMP is not written into statute, making it harder to fund the program fully. Our bill would put CMP into statute, which will allow us to ensure continuous operation of the program and eliminate data gaps. AB 809 reaches statewide, and the program it funds will help CalTrout and other entities analyze the effectiveness and value of our restoration work.

Increasing Penalties for Illegal Water Rights Actions: AB 460.

Authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. Sponsored by California Trout, Trout Unlimited, and the Planning and Conservation League.

This bill will empower the State Water Resources Control Board to act swiftly to prevent harm to the environment, public health, and water resources caused by illegal or wasteful uses of water. It grants the Board the authority to pursue immediate legal action to halt harmful water use practices that violate the Constitution, water quality objectives, water right permits and licenses, and fish and wildlife. CalTrout’s primary focus of this bill is to prevent illegal water diversions during curtailment actions. Illegal water diversions are an existential threat to our state's already limited water resources. The State Water Board needs the power to enact effective deterrents to illegal water diversions in order to secure communities' water supplies throughout the state.

Coastal Watershed Climate Resilience: AB 1272

Authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg). Sponsored by California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition.

This bill would lay the groundwork for creating a more climate-resilient future for native fish and for water supplies in coastal California. It would direct the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to work together in developing principles and guidelines for the diversion and use of water in coastal watersheds during times of water shortage which will enhance drought preparedness and climate resiliency. Developing dry-year water management plans at the watershed level will enable water users and stakeholders to create drought response measures that are tailored to local conditions. It would also inform future investments in watershed health and water supply reliability.


CalTrout's Advocacy Priorities

Advocating for Freshwater, Fish-Friendly Priorities in the State Budget

Governor Newsom released his 2023-2024 proposed budget which accounts for a total of $297 billion in state spending. While claw-backs were prevalent across natural resources funding, CalTrout’s Policy team notes that the state’s natural resources budget is still much higher than it was five years ago. With the budget set, CalTrout's role is to continue conversations with relevant agencies to make sure our priorities – for freshwater, for fish, and for people – are heard. We work by lobbying specific budget changes we want to see from the Governor’s office and continuing to engage in dialogue to ensure our priorities are taken into account.

Commitment to 30x30

CalTrout’s efforts to support the State’s 30x30 initiative is imbued across all our legislative and policy work. Associate Director of Policy, Analise Rivero, serves on the 30x30 Partnership Coordinating Committee, providing a continued presence by CalTrout in specific 30x30 discussions with the California Natural Resources Agency. As a part of the committee, Rivero will speak at the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association's ongoing series called Your Valley, Your Voice in Stockton, CA.

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