Southern Steelhead Coalitions

Southern Steelhead Coalitions

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Project Goal:

CalTrout leads two Southern California steelhead coalitions with the goal to increase the pace, scale, and scope of watershed restoration projects leading to resilient Southern steelhead populations in high priority rivers of Southern California.

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Project Stages


Estimated Completion Date:


Project Funders

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
State Coastal Conservancy, Orange County Community Foundation
Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project
Tides Foundation
California Wildlands Grassroots Fund
National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
CA Wildlife Conservation Board
Golden State Flycasters
International Federation of Fly-fishers
SW Council Fly-fishers
San Diego Fly-fishers

Fish Affected:

Project Description

CalTrout leads two steelhead coalitions in Southern California compromised of over 45 federal, state, local agencies, Tribal nations, environmental organizations, and fly clubs. The Coalitions look to re-establish abundant Southern California steelhead and resident rainbow trout populations within their entire native range while promoting conservation stewardship. The South Coast Steelhead Coalition is based in San Diego and covers San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. The Santa Clara Steelhead Coalition is based in Ventura and focuses on the Santa Clara River.

Implementation is achieved through extensive partnerships with federal and state agencies, local governmental organizations, Tribal nations, environmental and other non-profit groups, and the general public. Projects are pursued according to each Coalition's local strategic plan and focus on the highest priority recovery rivers identified in the NMFS recovery plan. The Coalitions strive to implement the federal recovery plan by prioritizing, coordinating, and integrating local, regional, and state conservation efforts. The Coalitions' work is only possible with an extensive network of partnerships with varied conservation goals to implement this effort. This is the foundation for a pragmatic and economically feasible approach to accomplish conservation goals.

The conservation goal is to re-establish Southern California steelhead populations in high priority rivers through fish passage barrier removal, non-native species removal, habitat improvement, wild native trout preservation, and community engagement. We employ comprehensive process-based restoration practices that build upon this species' incredible ecological resilience.

Coalition projects that are balancing the needs of wild fish in urban landscapes include: • Harvey Diversion Fish Passage Remediation Project in the Santa Paula Creek - a tributary to the Santa Clara River; • I-5 Trabuco fish passage project on San Juan Creek watershed in Orange County; • Santa Margarita River fish passage project at Sandia Creek in San Diego County; • Rose Valley Creek Restoration Project in Sespe Creek - a tributary to the Santa Clara River; • invasive vegetation removal in the Santa Clara River flood plain near Ventura; • and Southern steelhead and native rainbow trout protection in upper Santa Margarita River, WF San Luis Rey, and upper tributaries to the Santa Clara and Ventura rivers.

For more information on the Coalitions’ fish passage and non-native species, management see South Coast projects under Reconnect Habitat and Protect the Best initiatives.

Project Partners:

South Coast Steelhead Coalition
Trout Unlimited
CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
National Marine Fisheries Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Marine Corps
Pala Band of Mission Indians
Pauma Band of Mission Indians
Sierra Club; U.S. Geological Survey
Riverside Corona Resource Conservation District
Regional Water Quality Control Board
Golden State Flycasters
Vista Irrigation District
San Diego Fly Fishers
Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve; Aquasolver
The Escondido Creek Conservancy
Audubon Starr Ranch
Mountains Restoration Trust
San Diego Coastkeeper
International Federation of Fly Fishers; City of Escondido – Parks
Stillwater Sciences
Santa Monica Mountains Resource Conservation District
California Conservation Corps
Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition
Friends of the Santa Clara River
Keep Sespe Wild
Stoecker Ecological
UCSB MSI Riparian Invasion Research Laboratory
Wishtoyo Foundation and their Ventura
Coastkeeper Chapter
The Nature Conservancy
Stillwater Sciences
State Coastal Conservancy
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
National Marine Fisheries Service