CDFW News | Public Invited to Comment on Petition to List Southern California Rainbow Trout as Endangered


Public Invited to Comment on Petition to List Southern California Rainbow Trout as Endangered

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has initiated a review of the status of Southern California Rainbow Trout and is seeking data or feedback on a petition to list Rainbow Trout from southern California as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

Southern California Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykisslisten)) are found in streams from the Santa Maria River at the southern edge of San Luis Obispo County to the US-Mexico border. Southern California rainbow trout, as defined in the CESA petition, includes both the anadromous (oceanic) and resident (stream-dwelling) forms of the species below barriers. complete migrations in these waterways.

Major threats to rainbow trout in southern California include habitat destruction, modification, and fragmentation due to anthropogenic water use (i.e. dams or diversions to provide water for human use) and the impacts of climate change such as increased river temperatures and intensification of drought conditions. Southern California rainbow trout represent an important component of rainbow trout diversity in California due to their unique adaptations, biological history, and genetics.

On June 14, 2021, California Trout submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to list Southern California Rainbow Trout as an endangered species under CESA. On April 21, 2022, the Commission accepted this request for review. On May 13, 2022, the Commission issued a public notice stating that Southern California rainbow trout are now a candidate species under CESA and, as such, enjoy the same legal protection as rainbow trout. given to an endangered or threatened species. The CDFW registration petition and petition assessment report are available on the Commission’s website.

CDFW is seeking data or comments on the requested action, including Southern California Rainbow Trout ecology, genetics, life history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to its reproduction or survival, the adequacy of existing management or recommendations for the management of the species. Data or comments may be submitted by email to Please include “Southern California Steelhead” in the subject line. Submissions can also be sent to:

CDFW Fisheries Directorate
Attention: Steelhead of Southern California
PO Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Submissions must be received by September 30. The CDFW has 12 months to review the petition, evaluate the best available scientific information regarding Southern California rainbow trout, and make a recommendation to the Commission. The Commission will then place the receipt of the report on the agenda of the next available meeting of the Commission. The report will be made available to the public for this meeting, where the Commission will schedule the petition for further consideration.

For more information on the petition, please visit the Commission’s website.


Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Photo: Southern California Steelhead, CDFW photo by Kyle Evans


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