Legislation and Advocacy

Effecting Key Local, Regional and Statewide Issues

CalTrout has deep roots 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.

We continue in those efforts today by engaging targeted legislative members and staff on key local, regional, and statewide issues. Retaining a political consulting firm to address State issues, CalTrout identifies key decision makers and builds enduring relationships with them, supporting their leadership on issues that advance the mission and programs of CalTrout.

CalTrout brings policy expertise, on the ground experience, community support, science, media, and advocacy experience to advance mission-critical policies programs and funding. Using an experienced team of consultants to complement our executive staff, we develop legislative initiatives, support or oppose legislation, help shape the state/federal budget, engage in stakeholder groups and work directly with key decision makers.

State Priorities


Drought Planning and Response Bill

CalTrout is authoring a Drought Package that includes funding a permanent drought unit within the SWRCB Division of Water Rights. Accompanying this package will be an agency play to establish the parameters of streamflow necessary to enact curtailments faster, more efficiently, and in time to save fish and wildlife. To make progress on improving drought response in California, CalTrout and the Salmon and Steelhead Coalition is supporting legislation to: create a dedicated Drought Section at the State Water Resources Control Board whose primary focus will be on drought planning, drought response, and improving the climate resiliency of water management in California; direct the Water Board to create actionable plans for managing water during drought years to protect native species and drinking water supplies in north and central coast watersheds that are high priorities for salmon and other sensitive species.

Steelhead Report Card

The Steelhead Report Card is sunsetting in 2022. In order to avoid the termination of the program, CDFW either needs a budget play to ask for additional funding for two years or an emergency bill passage so that the bill will go into effect in June of 2022, avoiding the sunset. CDFW has not taken ownership of this initiative, so CalTrout will advocate for a budget play and work with CDFW to find a long-term solution for the Steelhead Report Card within two years.

California’s Commitment “30 by 30”

Governor Newsom has committed to protecting 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. This effort aims to work with landowners, conservation interests, and marginalized communities to reach this goal through innovative strategies on natural and working lands. CalTrout, funded by Resources Legacy Fund, has partnered with Ted Grantham and UC Berkeley and produced a white paper, held stakeholder meetings, and presented a common theme to California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and the Governors Office. That message is simple: freshwater is overlooked in the current 30 x 30 approach. Instead of an afterthought, watersheds should be the lens in which we seek to conserve all land resources.

Moving forward, CalTrout will continue to meet with a receptive audience at the Governor’s office and at CNRA to push for actions that will preserve freshwater in California. Merging this effort with our barrier removal and connectivity Strategic Initiatives will allow for large scale funding of our Outstanding Natural Resource Waters and our dam removal efforts throughout the state.

North Coast Salmon Initiative and Green Tape

CalTrout and our Salmon and Steelhead Partners built the North Coast Salmon Initiative from an idea amongst our partners to a fully funded CDFW-led initiative. Currently, the Coalition partners are seeking to implement SHARP within core watersheds on the North Coast and will push for implementation of Cutting the Green Tape pilot programs throughout coho country in 2022.

Outstanding National Resource Waters

CalTrout has been working on ONRW initiatives since 2019. Since then, we have partnered with Trout Unlimited and Pew Charitable Trust to do a full nationwide inventory of Outstanding Water designation, custom built a regulatory approach, held stakeholder meetings on the North Coast, and are currently looking at key Eel River tributaries and in the Medicine Lake Aquifer as prime targets for designation in California.

Natural Resources Bond

The California legislature is committed to passing the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022, during this legislative cycle. The Bond would be the next great investment into watershed protections and CalTrout will be advocating for our priorities over the next two years.

Southern Steelhead CESA Listing

CalTrout, led by the South Coast Regional Director Dr. Sandra Jacobson, will be pursuing the landmark listing of Southern California steelhead under the California Endangered Species Act. While the southern steelhead is listed federally, this listing will offer additional protections and restoration efforts. Show your support by signing your name onto our petition today.

6PPD Assessment

A University of Washington-led study has identified a chemical used in tire manufacturing that leads directly to acute mortality in coho salmon. CalTrout is working with the California legislature and the Department of Toxic Substances Control to study how this chemical affects our coho salmon and to determine how we solve this problem.

State Fiscal Outlook and Budget Assumptions

Governor Newsom released his 2021-2022 proposed budget which accounts for a total of $227 billion in state spending. The proposed budget assumes a projected windfall of about $15 billion, which is a little more conservative than the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) 2021-2022 Fiscal Outlook, which provides their assessment of the state’s fiscal situation for the budget year and over a multiyear period. Overall, CalTrout will have to be strategic surrounding the allocations of funding it seeks, but California’s economic forecasts are rosier than anticipated.

Federal Government


Omnibus Bill

CalTrout has been more and more focused on gaining federal funding for our large-scale restoration projects and were pleased to support some additions in the Omnibus federal bill package passed in December of 2020. One such section, the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration provision, sponsored by Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Huffman of California and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, creates a new program to fund improvements to fish passage and improve aquatic health by addressing large-scale aging infrastructure, prioritizing basin-scale, multi-stakeholder collaborative solutions.  CalTrout supports this effort, and hopes that these resources can support the Potter Valley Project continue its momentum towards dam removal.

Paris Climate Accord

CalTrout applauds President Biden for immediately re-entering the Paris Climate Accord, which places a central focus on combatting climate change and supporting states like California on its climate-related goals.

Restoring the EPA’s focus on Science

The last four years have seen an administration blatantly removing the need for scientific review for protections of our nation’s natural resources, including its cold clean water. Biden has taken note and has directed the “EPA to review laws past during the past four years that reduce critical protections of our natural resources.”