Southern California steelhead listed as endangered by state

By Camille von Kaenel | 04/19/2024 12:05 PM EDT

The California Endangered Species Act will provide additional protections to the fish, which has been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1997.

Supervisory biologist Mary Larson, right, and fish habitat specialist Chris Lima stand by a series of manmade but natural-appearing fish ladders that create weirs on Gobernador Creek.

Supervisory biologist Mary Larson (right) and fish habitat specialist Chris Lima stand by a series of human-made but natural-appearing fish ladders on Gobernador Creek in Carpinteria, California, on March 19, 2010. Reed Saxon/AP

SACRAMENTO, California — California wildlife officials voted Thursday to list the Southern California steelhead trout as endangered, guaranteeing protections from development and water diversions for the dwindling population.

The federal government listed the Southern California steelhead under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, but the fish has continued to struggle. One 2020 study cited by environmental groups observed only 177 adult returning steelhead over the last 25 years.

A California Endangered Species Act listing will require any development that requires state permits to include measures to protect the fish, not just those under federal authority.


“Threats are increasing, not declining, and we have no reason to expect that that’s going to change unless we have some changes to management,” said California Fish and Game Commission Vice President Erika Zavaleta.