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Help sought to track Northern California summer steelhead

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking information relevant to the proposed listing of Northern California summer steelhead as an endangered species.

Northern California summer steelhead occupy a relatively small geographic range in Humboldt and Mendocino counties that includes Redwood Creek and the Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and Mattole rivers. They fill a unique ecological niche, entering freshwater in the spring and early summer and then holding for many months in deep pools high up in the stream systems while waiting to spawn.

In September 2018, the Friends of the Eel River submitted a petition to the California Fish and Wildlife Commission requesting to list Northern California summer steelhead as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act. The petition described threats impacting the survival of the fish, specifically emphasizing habitat loss, alteration and degradation as a result of human impacts.

CDFW recommended that the fish species be advanced to candidacy for CESA listing and the commission voted in favor of this recommendation June 12. The official findings of this decision were published June 28, which triggered the start of a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review intended to inform the commission’s ultimate decision on whether to list the species.

As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information from the public regarding Northern California summer steelhead ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, degree and immediacy of threats to reproduction or survival, adequacy of existing management measures, and recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted in writing to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Attn: Vanessa Gusman

830 S St., Sacramento, CA 95811.

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by e-mail, please include “NC Summer Steelhead” in the subject heading.

All comments received by Sept. 22 will be evaluated prior to the submittal of CDFW’s final status review report to the commission. Once CDFW submits the final status review report to the commission, it will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next available commission meeting. Comments will also be made available to the public at that time.

Following receipt of CDFW’s status review report, the commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on CDFW’s recommendations.

The listing petition and CDFW’s petition evaluation for Northern California summer steelhead is available at fgc.ca.gov/cesa#ncss.

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